Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to see an ophthalmologist or an optometrist?
Ophthalmologists (M.D.’s) are trained to perform surgery, which optometrists are not. This includes things like LASIK vision correction as well as removal of cataracts, or surgery related to eye trauma, burns or detachments of retina.
Although optometrists are not M.D.s, most current optometrists can prescribe certain medications, as well as diagnose and treat a broad-range of medical conditions that impact the eye, including glaucoma, macular degeneration, cataracts, retinal disease and ocular disorders associated with diabetes and high blood pressure. So it is not unusual for optometrists and ophthalmologists to work closely-together on hard-to-diagnose conditions or ongoing disease treatment and management.In fact, it’s not unusual for a skilled optometrist to be the first health care professional to spot developing systemic conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure during routine eye exams.
Do I need to have my eyes dilated?
While nobody can honestly say they enjoy eye drops and the need for those silly-looking sunglasses you get to wear out the door, the truth is dilation of the eyes is an important part of a comprehensive eye exam. By dilating the eyes, our doctor can get a much better view of the retina, optic nerve and vessels in the back of the eye.
If you are a new patient or have a personal or family history of eye health problems, our doctor may suggest dilating your eyes. Certain conditions may increase your risk for eye health problems. For example, if you are diabetic or highly nearsighted, our optometrist may recommend a dilated examination. Your age and other factors may also indicate when dilation is needed.
How often should I have my eyes examined?
As a guideline, we recommend that you see your eye care provider once per year, but no less than once every two years. There are many variables that affect how often you should see your eye doctor – for example, if you are diabetic or have other risk factors you may need more frequent exams in order to catch problems early.
Think of your eye exam as an important part of your overall health care routine – just like your annual checkup with your general physician. Even if your eyes feel fine, it’s important to get them checked because many diseases can cause problems before they affect your eyesight. Plus if you’re covered by a vision plan you’ll be eligible for an annual exam. So take advantage of it!
When should I bring my children in for an exam?
Healthy eyes and good vision play a critical role in how infants and children learn to see. Eye and vision problems in infants can cause developmental delays. It is important to detect any problems early to ensure babies have the opportunity to develop the visual abilities they need to grow and learn. Exams can be performed on babies as early as 6-12 months at no charge under the InfantSEE® program. At Redmond Ridge Eye Care we have an annual “baby day” in June where we have a whole day devoted to InfantSEE®.
It is important to know that a vision screening by a child’s pediatrician or at his or her preschool is not the same as a comprehensive eye and vision examination by an optometrist. Vision screenings are a limited process and can’t be used to diagnose an eye or vision problem, but rather may indicate a potential need for further evaluation. They may miss as many as 60% of children with vision problems. Even if a vision screening does not identify a possible vision problem, a child may still have one.
By age 3, your child should have a thorough optometric eye examination to make sure his or her vision is developing properly and there is no evidence of eye disease. If needed, your doctor of optometry can prescribe treatment, including eyeglasses and/or vision therapy, to correct a vision development problem.
With today’s diagnostic equipment and tests, a child does not have to know the alphabet or how to read to have his or her eyes examined. Making sure your child has the best possible vision will help him or her succeed in the classroom!
What is a contact lens evaluation or “fitting”?
A contact lens exam is how the doctor determines if your eye health meets the necessary standards to wear contact lenses. It is our goal to insure that contact lens wearers have, as well as, maintain healthy eyes.
Most appointments will begin with the eye care professional determining the overall health of your eye. Your corneas will be examined to ensure that they are healthy enough for wearing contact lenses. Our doctor will also make a note of the condition of your eyes to refer back to on future visits to ensure that your ocular health hasn’t deteriorated due to wearing lenses.
The next step will be to take careful measurements of your eye using a special instrument called a keratometer. Your eyes may also be scanned by a computer to map the curvature of the surface of your eye and to provide more detailed analysis. These dimensions will determine the shape and size of your lenses.
In addition, a contact lens fitting could also include a test to evaluate the tear film on your eyes. The doctor may also ask if you any allergies, hay fever or dry eyes and inquire about your lifestyle. All of this information will help her determine how prone your eyes are to dryness, and help to ensure that you choose a contact lens type that suits your needs.
Every eye is different – your left is slightly different from your right, and your eyes are different from those of everyone else around you. Differences include the diameter and the curvature of your eye, not to mention the severity of any vision problems that you might have. This is why getting a precise contact lens fitting is so important.
The contact lens evaluation is an additional service beyond an annual eye exam. There are additional fees for contact lens fitting depending on the type of contact lens to be prescribed and the amount of time needed to finalize the prescription.
What is the difference between polarization, progressive & transitions?
These are all terms you may have heard for types of lenses recommended by your doctor or optician for your eyeglasses.
Polarization refers to a type of sunglass lens that contain a special filter that blocks intense reflected light, therefore, reducing glare. Polarized sunglasses can be used for driving to reduce glare from a long, flat surfaces such as the hood of the car or the road’s surface. They are also used by fisherman and boaters as it significantly reduces the glare off the water’s surface. Outdoor enthusiasts who benefit the most from polarized sunglasses include skiers, bikers, golfers and joggers, all who may enjoy a clearer view along with elimination of glare.
Progressive lenses, sometimes called “no-line bifocals,” eliminate the visible lines of traditional bifocals and trifocals. Instead of having just two or three lens powers like bifocals or trifocals, progressive lenses are true “multifocal” lenses that provide a seamless progression of many lens powers for all viewing distances. In recent years, progressives have been even further improved owing to new technology called “free-form” designs. These lenses are custom fit based on your prescription, the size of the frame and the way you look through the glasses. Because free-form progressives are customized to your individual prescription and frame parameters they increase your field of view and decrease distortions in the periphery of the lens.
Transition lenses automatically change from light to dark when you go outside. They block 100% of the harmful UVA/UVB rays and can be made in progressives, bifocals, or single vision lenses. Dr. Michel highly recommends transitions for children as they more susceptible to UV damage. Kids tend to spend the largest amount of time outdoors without protective eyewear and usually have larger pupils that allow more of the damaging rays through.
What is the “air-puff” test for?
The Non Contact Tonometer (NCT), commonly called the “air-puff” test is one method of measuring your eye pressure. Just like you have blood pressure that keeps blood pumping to your heart you have eye pressure that moves fluid and nutrients inside your eye. If the pressure in your eye is high it can lead to Glaucoma, which can lead to blindness if it isn’t caught and treated.
At Redmond Ridge Eye Care we use an alternate method of testing eye pressure called Goldmann Tonometry. Most patients find this way of measuring pressure to be a lot easier than the anticipation of that “puff”!