WHY HAVE A ROUTINE CHECK?
Over 5% of people have serious eye diseases or vision problems. Unfortunately, many eye diseases are silent - with subtle or no symptoms, even in some of the most serious conditions and vision loss may be permanent. Every week we see concerned people who have lost vision or have a serious eye problem because they didn't know (or forgot) that eye disease can be detected with a regular eye checkup. Don't put off eye care. It is important for you to visit us regularly, not just when your glasses need changing.
"I thought I was normal - what diseases?" The most common conditions are glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, intraocular inflammations, hemorrhage and retinal detachments.
Also, there are many systemic diseases which affect the eyes such as diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, and hardening of the arteries. Some medications are potentially harmful to the eyes.
We, as ophthalmologists, are medical doctors who have taken special training and have become board certified specialists in the diagnosis, management, and treatment of medical and surgical diseases of the eye. We have also been trained in the prescription and fitting of glasses, low vision aids and contact lenses of all types.
WHEN SHOULD YOU BE SEEN?
Children should be checked for the first time before starting school, but sooner if they have any suggestion of eye problems. When they are in school, they should be checked routinely every three to four years (annually if they have eye problems or wear glasses).
Between the ages of 20 and 40, adults should be checked depending upon their need and visual symptoms.
Beginning at about age 40, they should be checked every two years; and from 60 on, approximately once a year.
Patients with diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, family history of glaucoma or other eye disease should be checked annually or more often if they are having problems. Any sudden changes or loss of vision or other visual disturbance, warrants an eye exam.
THE EXAM BEGINS
Our ophthalmic assistants will carefully record your chief eye complaints and important medical information.
Preliminary tests will be done including visual acuity measurement, intraocular pressure, computerized refraction, lensometer reading of your current glasses and keratometry reading.
Other tests such as color vision, muscle balance and depth perception may be done as indicated. An ophthalmic technician may test your eyes for glasses (refractometry), which will be reviewed by the doctor.
DILATATION OF THE PUPILS
Dilating drops are routinely used unless your doctor feels they are unnecessary. Sometimes drops are needed to accurately measure for eye glasses, particularly in children.
The dilating drops may take 20 to 40 minutes to take effect. We want you to understand that the wait is necessary for the drops to work properly.
A refraction is the optical determination of the best possible vision and is a necessary part of an ophthalmic examination. It is needed to help determine if any medical, optical, or surgical treatment may be indicated.
Medicare and many private insurance companies do not cover and will not pay for the refraction portion of your exam (typically $45). If a refraction is performed as part of your visit, you will be responsible for payment.
Sometimes the doctor will perform this test even if the technician also did it previously, or if he/she deems it necessary.
RESULTS OF YOUR EXAMINATION
At the completion of your examination, your doctor will discuss the findings and diagnosis with you. Your doctor will make every effort to give you an explanation of your condition, expected course, and necessary treatment.
Please ask questions. The key to successful treatment is a good understanding of your eye condition. Necessary follow-up appointments will be made before you leave the office.
WE TRY TO BE ON TIME
Every attempt is made to be on time. Our goal is for our ophthalmic assistants to begin you preliminary examination within 15 minutes of your scheduled visit.
Not surprising, some of our so-called routine appointments require only 5 to 10 minutes while others uncover complicated problems that require 40 to 45 minutes to care for properly. Our patients are our priority.