Frequently Asked Questions
Get Informed About Eye Care Services, Treatments, and More
What is a Cataract?
There are three types of cataracts:
» A nuclear cataract forms in the lens. Those over 65 are more prone to develop this type of cataract. More than half of all Americans over the age of 65 will develop a cataract.
» A cortical cataract forms in the lens, then grows from the outside to the center of the lens. Diabetics are more prone to develop this type of cataract.
» A subcapsular cataract forms in the back of the lens. Those with diabetes, high hyperopia (Far-sightedness) or retinitis pigmentosa may be at a higher risk to develop this type of cataract.
What are the symptoms of a Cataract?
The most common symptoms of a cataract are:
» Cloudy or blurry vision.
» Problems with light, headlights that seem too bright, glare from lamps or very bright sunlight.
» Colors that seem faded.
» Poor night vision.
» Double or multiple vision.
» Frequent changes in glasses or contact lenses.
» Optical aids such as eyeglasses or contact lenses are no longer effective.
How is a Cataract treated?
Cataract surgery is generally performed on an out patient basis. You will not need to be hospitalized or put to sleep for your doctor to perform your surgery. The procedure normally takes less than 15 minutes and you can return home shortly after your procedure. Most people will enjoy improved vision by the day after surgery or within a few days following the procedure.
To begin, your surgeon will administer a light sedative which will relax your nerves and keep you comfortable during the procedure. Anesthetic eye drops will be used to completely numb the eye. The entire procedure is performed through an incision that is smaller than 1/8 of an inch and does not require stitches to heal.
Once the cataract is removed, an intra-ocular lens (IOL) is placed where the cataract lens was removed, to restore your sight. Most patients will not require an eye patch and will not have any discomfort.
Most can return to their normal daily routines; including reading, driving, and exercise, the day after surgery.
What causes a Cataract?
Ultraviolet light is a known catalyst for the formation of cataracts, so we recommend wearing 100% UV blocking sunglasses which will lessen your exposure over time. Other studies point to people with diabetes as a higher risk group for cataract development than those who do not suffer from diabetes. Cigarettes, air pollution, heavy drug usage and severe alcohol consumption may also contribute to your chances of developing cataracts.
Can I be too young or old for Cataract surgery?
How do I decide whether to have surgery?
The most obvious symptoms may include:
» I need to drive, but I see too much glare from the sun or headlights.
» I do not see well enough to do my best at work.
» I do not see well enough to do the things I need to do at home.
» I have trouble trying to read, watch TV, sew, play cards, etc.
» I am afraid I will bump into something or fall.
» Because of my cataract, I am not as independent as I desire.
» My glasses do not help me see well enough.
» My eyesight interferes with many of my daily functions.
» You may also have other specific problems that we will discuss with you.
Is Cataract surgery right for me?
You will be able to make the right decision for yourself if you know the facts. We are more than happy to explain anything you do not understand. There is no such thing as a “dumb” question when it comes to your health.
How soon can I drive after the surgery?
Do I have to avoid all activities post-operatively?
We do ask that they wear an eye shield at bedtime for the first few weeks after surgery so they do not inadvertently rub the eye during sleep. Typical follow-up evaluations are scheduled at 1 day, 1 week, 3 weeks, and 6 weeks with glasses being prescribed between the 3rd and 6th week visit.
Does Cataract surgery hurt?
What else should I know about surgery?
Cataract surgery is outpatient. You do not need to stay overnight in a hospital. However, you will need a friend or family member to take you home. You may need someone to stay with you for a day to help you follow your doctor’s instructions.
With modern cataract surgery, most patients have fast visual recovery. Some patients are even able to drive themselves to see doctor for follow-up the day after surgery. Remember that the follow-up is very important. We will thoroughly check your progress and make sure you have the care you need until your eye recovers fully.
Will I still need glasses or contact lenses?
Do regular glasses protect my eyes from the sun?
Glass lenses protect your eyes from harmful UVB rays but not from UVA. Some experts think UVA rays might have long-term, damaging effects to your eyes and skin.
Dry Eye FAQs
What is Dry Eye?
How do you treat Dry Eye?
(2) Control of ocular inflammation and infection through the topical application of an antibiotic-steroid preparation. Occasionally antibiotics may be given orally
Can Watery Eyes Be a Symptom of Dry Eye?
Can reading & TV or computer viewing cause Dry Eye?
This leads to increased evaporation along with the fatigue and eye strain associated with staring at a computer monitor. Ideally, computer users should take short breaks about every 20 minutes to reduce this factor. Also, adjusting the monitor so that it is below eye level will allow the upper lid to be positioned lower and cover more of the eye’s surface, again to reduce evaporation.
What else can cause Dry Eye?
LASIK surgery temporarily disrupts the ocular surface/lacrimal gland unit. This condition usually eventually clears up.
Diseases that may be associated with Dry Eyes include Rheumatoid Arthritis, Diabetes (especially when the blood sugar is up), Asthma, Thyroid disease (lower lid does not move when blinking), Lupus, and possibly Glaucoma.
Age – Tear volume decreases as much as 60% by age 65 from that at age 18. Dry Eye Syndrome affects 75% of people over age 65.
Hormonal changes for women can cause decreased tear production brought on by pregnancy, lactation, menstruation, and post menopause.
Dust, Pollen, and Tobacco – When tear production decreases, dust and pollen stay in the eye longer and are more likely to stimulate an allergic response. In addition, anything that makes an eye more irritated, including Dry Eye, will make an eye more sensitive to environmental irritants such as tobacco smoke.
Other – Too much coffee drinking, smoking, wearing contact lenses, air-conditioning or heat.
What are the warning signs and how is it detected?
Eventually symptoms become more consistent, and if someone has sandy-gritty irritation or burning that gets worse as the day goes on, and if they have had these symptoms for more than a few days, Dry Eye should be ruled out by an eye doctor.
We will review your history and examine your eyes to make sure you do not have any other problems, and determine the cause for your Dry Eyes.
Can Dry Eye syndrome come and go?
Some patients may notice discomfort only when they wear their contact lenses. Some people may develop symptoms only when they are dehydrated–just like your mouth becomes dry, your eyes can become dry in this way.
What if I don't treat Dry Eye. Can I lose sight?
Is there treatment for corneal scarring caused by Dry Eye?
What can I do to prevent or control Dry Eye syndrome?
Eye Exam FAQs
What is a routine eye exam?
A complete examination includes a glaucoma pressure check, a muscle evaluation, observation for external eye disease, examination of the retina and refraction.
What's the difference between a routine and medical exam?
Scenario #1: The patient comes to the office with a history of diabetes. He/she is healthy and has no eye problems, but wants his/her eyes examined. This is considered a medical examination because the patient has a disease which can affect the eyes and the physician needs to evaluate the patient’s eyes in light of this disease.
Scenario #2: The patient comes to the office with a complaint of difficulty seeing the newspaper, but no problem with distance vision. This would be considered routine in nature because there are no medically related problems.
Scenario #3: The patient comes to the office with pain in the eye and tearing. These complaints are considered medical symptoms and the eye examination would be billed as a medical exam.
What should i bring with me for my appointment?
• Photo ID
• Current insurance cards
• Current medication list
• All recent glasses and contact lenses (both distance and near)
• An insurance referral if your plan requires one
Should I wear my contacts to the office and bring my glasses too for my exam?
How long does a thorough exam take?
If my eyes are to be dilated, how long will my eyes stay blurry after the exam?
You may want to consider bringing someone with you to drive you or help you navigate to where you want to go when you leave our office.
Will my insurance cover my eye exam?
Any examination that takes place as a result of a patient’s complaint or symptoms (ie: dry eyes, headaches, eye infection, etc.) would be considered medical in nature and should be covered under your medical insurance. Any eye exam conducted at the patient’s request without a specific complaint would be considered routine. This type of exam would only be covered if your insurance contact specifically states routine eye coverage is a benefit.
Medical vs Vision Plans - What's the difference?
The good news is that your Medical Insurance can be used with an eye-related medical problem, such as cataracts, dry eyes, complicated from diabetes or high blood pressure (among many others) if found during the course of the eye examination. You do not need a vision benefits rider on your medical insurance to be covered for a medical eye condition. In these cases, your Medical Insurance will be billed for the eye exam even though a Vision Plan may also be in effect. Your Medical Insurance co-pays and deductibles must be paid at the time of your exam.
More good news! If we do file the exam with your medical insurance, you can still use your Vision Plan benefits towards the purchase of glasses or contact lenses based on your plan’s allowances. If you elect to have refractive services done to establish what prescription you need for glasses, please be aware this will NOT be covered by your medical insurance and a $40 fee will be due at the time of the visit.
What is Glaucoma?
Are there different types of Glaucoma?
Primary Glaucoma is the most common type and can be divided into open angle and closed angle Glaucoma.
Open angle Glaucoma is the type seen most frequently in the United States. It is usually detected in its early stages during routine eye examinations.
Closed angle Glaucoma, also called acute Glaucoma, usually has a sudden onset. It is characterized by eye pain and blurred vision.
Secondary Glaucoma occurs as a complication of a variety of other conditions, such as injury, inflammation, vascular disease and diabetes.
Congenital Glaucoma is due to a developmental defect in the eye’s drainage mechanism.
How is Glaucoma detected?
Initially, detection is based often on intraocular pressure readings, but also includes observation of the optic nerve as well as evaluation of optic nerve function using visual field tests.
Is surgery necessary to treat Glaucoma?
Requiring use of an operating microscope and a local anesthetic, this procedure is performed in the hospital. If such a procedure is not feasible or has failed, production of aqueous fluid may be reduced by freezing (cryoprobe) or laser energy directly applied to the eyeball over the area where the fluid is produced.
The most helpful advice concerning Glaucoma is to keep in mind the importance of early detection through routine eye examination, faithful use of prescribed medications, and close monitoring by an eye doctor of the optic nerve, visual fields and pressures.
Can Glaucoma cause blindness if left untreated?
Between two million and three million Americans age 40 and over, or about one in every 30 people in that age group have Glaucoma. This includes at least one half of all those who have Glaucoma are unaware of it.
What are the signs and symptoms?
» Loss of side vision.
» An inability to adjust the eye to darkened rooms
» Difficulty focusing on close work
» Rainbow colored rings or halos around lights
» Frequent need to change eyeglass prescriptions
Can Glaucoma be cured?
Can Glaucoma be prevented?
How can I know if I am a high risk for Glaucoma?
The best and safest way to learn if you have Glaucoma, and to have a chance to avoid blindness, do NOT delay. Get an eye examination!
What is the best defense against Glaucoma?
Macular Degeneration FAQs
what is Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD)?
When electrical signals from the retina (the inner layer of the eye that captures light and turns it into electrical signal) are received by the brain through the optic nerve, they are translated into images.
Age related Macular Degeneration is traditionally described as a form of the disease which affects individuals over the age of 55 years. However, we have recently discovered that a significant number of these individuals may have a major genetic component that contributes to the disease.
How many types of Macular Degeneration are there?
Dry Macular Degeneration, in which the cells of the macula slowly begin to break down, is diagnosed in 90 percent of the cases. Yellow deposits called “drusen” form under the retina between the retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE) and Bruch’s membrane, which supports the retina. Drusen deposits are “debris” associated with compromised cell metabolism in the RPE and are often the first sign of Macular Degeneration. Eventually, there is a deterioration of the macular regions associated with the drusen deposits resulting in a spotty loss of “straight ahead” vision.
Wet Macular Degeneration occurs when abnormal blood vessels grow behind the macula, then bleed. There is a breakdown in Bruch’s membrane, which usually occurs near drusen deposits. This is where the new blood vessel growth occurs (neovascularization). These vessels are very fragile and leak fluid and blood (hence ‘wet’), resulting in scarring of the macula and the potential for rapid, severe damage. “Straight ahead” vision can become distorted or lost entirely in a short period of time, sometimes within days. Wet macular degeneration accounts for approximately 10% of the cases, however it results in 90% of the legal blindness.
What does Macular Degeneration do to your vision?
What are the Symptoms of Macular Degeneration?
One of the easiest ways to screen for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is to use an Amsler grid. An Amsler grid is a chart with lines and a dot at the center.
In many cases most dehabilitation diseases can be treated or managed with early detection, so regularly scheduled eye exams are imperative to catching many issue early, before they get unmanageable.
Is there treatment for Macular Degeneration?
What if am post-menopausal?
What can I do to delay getting Macular degeneration?
People who eat fish and green leafy vegetables may be at lower risk of AMD. There is no treatment for early dry AMD, although a special combination of supplements (zinc and antioxidant vitamins) may slow progression in some people with more advanced disease. Early intervention for wet AMD can delay progression.
Children’s Exam FAQs
Is a school vision screening just as effective as a full eye examination by a doctor?
The requirements for grade school vision screenings consist of testing the distance visual acuity. Even near vision, which is a critical component in learning, is sometimes not tested. Farsightedness can easily be missed. Many other important tests especially for the at-risk students are left out. Thus it is very important to have a full eye examination at least before kindergarten.
How do you test an infant or toddler that can not talk?
Another example is a test for a two year old. We use the Lea chart, which has simple pictures of a house, heart, square and circle. When they are presented, the child points to a card that matches the shape they see.
My child is struggling in school but his last eye doctor said his eyes are fine. Was something missed?
These additional tests can help determine if vision is a component in a child’s learning struggles. If these tests are not performed, visual problems can be overlooked leading to frustration for the child and the teacher.