How long does an examination take?
This will depend greatly on if the patient elects to do the Optomap retinal image. This device allows us to capture a image of the entire back of the eye including the retina, nerve, and macula. This test takes a couple of seconds to capture and gives us a permanent digital record. With this test the entire exam can be done in less than twenty minutes. Without the Optomap test dilation will be needed and the exam will necessarily take longer (usually an hour).
What is “astigmatism?”
Astigmatism is a term used to describe an imbalance of focal power in the eye. In essence, the eye has curvature warpage and light is bent at different focal points in different meridians. The shape of the eye is more non spherical like a football as opposed to a spherical eye with no astigmatism, that would be more like a basketball.
What is the difference between a optometrist and ophthalmologist?
Ophthalmologists and optometrists are both highly trained professionals who provide eye care. Either can conduct complete eye exams and determine prescription needs while assessing ocular health. Both are also capable of diagnosing and treating serious eye diseases such as red eyes, glaucoma, macular degeneration, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, and retinal disease.
A major difference between the two is that an ophthalmologist can perform major eye surgery. Optometrists can perform minor surgeries such as foreign body removals. Optometrists have more extensive training in visual conditions and tend to be more experienced with glasses and contacts. Aside from major eye surgery the two mostly overlap in service care. Keep in mind in both professions you will find good doctors and not so good ones.
How often should I have my eyes examined?
In general eye exams are recommended once a year to monitor eye health, especially for those with concern for eye disease and those wearing contact lenses. We strongly recommend annual exams for diabetics, people with family history of glaucoma or macular degeneration, and anyone that currently wears contact lenses.
When should I have my child examined?
We recommend children be examined before they start kindergarten or sooner if any unusual concerns are present (i.e. eyes turning, trouble distinguishing objects, blurriness up close or at a distance). As children grow so do their eyes. Their vision can change at any time but annual exams are recommended.
How long are prescriptions valid for glasses and/or contacts?
In the state of Texas all prescriptions are valid for one year unless otherwise specified on the Rx.
Why do prescriptions expire?
The eye can change over time and the prescription can change with it. With an expiration the goal is for a patient not to perpetuate having the wrong lenses that might have worked a few years ago. With contact lenses it is imperative to monitor the health of the eyes annually due to the fact that contacts can actually cause severe harm to the eyes if they are not fitting correctly. Periodic exams minimize negative impacts that may be happening unknowingly to the patient.
Will I be dilated at my exam?
In order to provide proper health care we must evaluate the inside of the eye, primarily the retina, optic nerve, and macula. We now have the technology to evaluate this without dilation with our optional Optomap retinal analysis. This is a low cost, non invasive procedure that gives us a digital record of the back part of the eye without the need for dilation. The Optomap procedure is strongly recommended for all patients. There are still situations where dilation may be necessary. These are usually in regards to evaluating cataracts and when there is non definitive results of refractive prescription. The dilation allows us to lock down a patients fluctuation in prescription and also gives the ability to examine a cataract which is located behind the iris of the eye.
Does insurance cover glasses? contacts? laser vision surgery?
Every insurance plan is different and depends on what was elected by the employer and employee. We will verify benefits if we are contracted with your carrier. We strongly recommend that each patient does this as well to avoid confusion and insure correct billing.
At what age do you prescribe contact lenses for children?
We have no set age but age 11 is a good guideline. It depends mostly on the maturity and responsibility of the child. If they can’t handle the responsibility on their own they are not ready.
At what age can you do laser vision surgery?
Laser can be done at virtually any age, but our recommendation is to not do it before age 20. The reason is the body specifically the eye can still be growing into the early twenties possibly causing the prescription to increase. Even at age 20 we would want to see a couple of years of stable spectacle prescription.
How long does the dilation take to wear off?
Dilation can last several hours depending on the dosing and the color of the patients eyes. Brown eyes tend to hold the dilating drug longer than blue eyes. We try to utilize the least amount of dilation drug possible in order for it to wear off faster. If this is a concern please consider avoiding the dilation with the Optomap option.
Can I drive after I am dilated?
Usually dilation does not impede vision to a significant amount it just allows more light in the eye and causes blurriness up close but not at distance. Everyone is different on their comfort level. Because of this we leave the decision up to the patient but typically the vision is adequate enough to pass a drivers license vision test.
Is it ok to sleep in contact lenses?
We strongly advise against this due to the increase risk with corneal health. Even though some lens companies tout that this is not a concern, it is. Clinically the risk of abrasions, keratitis, infections, ulcerations, and scarring go up significantly with overnight wear of all contact lenses. To be candid, if sleeping in your contacts is really desired by the patient, then we probably are not the doctors you want caring for you.
What kind of sunglasses should I use?
We strongly recommend polarized sunglass lenses for everyone. They allow for clearer more comfortable vision for virtually all conditions. There are many options when it comes to sunglasses. Having prescription polarized glasses can be extremely beneficial and relaxing for our very Sunny environment.