Frequently Asked Questions
Cornea: “the window of the eye” which provides focusing power when light enters. It forms a protective dome over the internal eye and is comprised of 5 layers of tissue with the outer layer, called the epithelium, providing most of the protection. This is what is covered by a contact lens, when worn.
Pupil: the “black circle” seen in the centre of the iris. The pupil controls the amount of light entering the eye-ie. In a bright environment, the pupil becomes smaller to allow less light through and in a dark environment, the pupils expands to allow more light to reach the back of the eye.
Iris: the coloured part of the eye (ie. Blue/brown/green/hazel). The primary function is to control the size of the pupil, achieved through contraction or expansion of the muscles of the iris. The muscles in the iris become artificially and temporarily relaxed when dilating drops are used for testing.
Lens: the clear structure hidden behind the pupil, is another focusing device used to provide fine-tuning for focusing and reading. This is the area where “presbyopia” (age-related reading change- usually age 40-50) sets in and where “cataracts” (cloudy and hard lens) can form preventing light from entering to the back of the eye.
Vitreous Body: the clear “gel”-like substance located inside the eye’s cavity. It provides shape to the eye. Small clumps called “floaters” can develop, especially if you are older or have high degrees of correction.
Optic Nerve: neural transmission conduit which carries images from the retina to the brain.
Retina: comprised of fine nerve tissue which lines the inside wall of the eyes and acts like a film in a camera. The retina processes images to the brain.
Sclera: the “white part” of the eyes. It provides structure, strength, and protection.
2. What are the names of the most common prescription categories?
Myopia: medical term for “nearsightedness” where you can see near without glasses, but not objects in the distance. Myopia occurs when the eye is too long for the cornea’s curvature. The light rays entering the eye do not come to a sharp focus at the back of the eye and instead focus in front of the retina, producing a blurred image. 90% of myopic patients have corrections less than -6.00 diopters. Only 1/10 patients are in the severe ( -6 to -9 diopters) or extreme (>-9 diopters) categories .
Astigmatism: this correction refers to an “ovalness” or “football-shaped” quality to the cornea, rather than a “basketball” shape. Patients with astigmatism experience distortion or tilting of images because of unequal bending of light rays entering the eye. Patients with high degrees of astigmatism will have difficulty with seeing distance and near objects.
Hyperopia: medical term for “farsightedness”. It occurs when an eye is too short for the cornea’s curvature. Light rays focus behind the retina producing a blurred image. Some younger farsighted patients can use their focusing muscles to “pull” the image onto the retina but this ability decreases with age so a need for correction could present itself with advancing age. Severe degrees of hyperopia can require correction at both distance and near.
Presbyopia: normal process of aging where the natural lens of the eye loses some of the flexibility with advancing age, usually by the age 40-50, affecting the ability to see close up. The need for a spectacle or contact lens correction called “bifocals” could become necessary to see with different prescriptions for distance and near simultaneously. For the myopic patient, with lower degrees of myopia, they may simply start to remove their glasses to see better at closer distances.
Monovision: for the presbyopic contact lens patient, instead of wearing reading glasses with the contact lenses or trying to adjust to bifocal contact lenses, monovision could be another option. This correction requires the brain to use the dominant eye for distance with the contact lens and the other eye is adjusted for reading. The trade off is depth perception and clarity. For visually demanding tasks, such as driving or avid reading, monovision is not a good option due to the need to remain at a fixed viewing distance for longer periods of time.
3. What do the numbers mean in my prescription?
Three numbers are used:
For example, -2.00 -1.00 x 170
The first number, -2.00, identifies myopia or hyperopia.
The sign (-) is for myopia. The sign (+) is for hyperopia.
The second number, -1.00, identifies the degree of astigmatism.
The number can be either a (-) or (+) sign.
The third number (170) is the axis, which indicates the direction of the astigmatism.
Why do I need digital retinal photography?
The digital retinal screening is improved technology for taking high resolution digital photographs of the interior of the eye known as the retina. It shows detailed images of the internal eye structures and it can show abnormalities that may threaten vision. It can greatly aid in the ability to accurately diagnose and document many diseases as well as providing a baseline for comparison with previous and future visits. It is a permanent clinical record to closely monitor even the slightest progression or abnormality.
Why do I need pachymetry or corneal thickness testing?
Studies have shown there is a correlation to detecting early glaucoma by measuring corneal thickness. The thinner the cornea, ie readings below 500 microns, the higher the chances for developing glaucoma, a disease of the eyes where peripheral vision is lost. This measurement can also determine if laser vision correction could be an option.
How long will my appointment take?
From start to finish we try to make sure that each patient has been fully examined within 30 minutes. Of course, if additional testing is deemed necessary by the doctor, the examination may take a little bit longer.
Why do I need to have pupil dilation?
Whenever light enters the eye, the pupils shrink in size, so the view to the retina is limited. By artificially dilating the pupil, the inner eye structures can be better visualized as the pupils become temporarily large to allow more light in for viewing.
Some People elect to receive a retinal photograph instead of being dilated. Although this is not as good as being dilated, it is still much better than a non-dilated eye exam.
How often should l get my eyes checked?
Early detection is critical for most eye-related diseases, so even for people that appear otherwise healthy, we recommend an annual eye examination.
What Insurances Do You Accept?
We take the majority of medical and vision insurances. The most common insurances we see are Blue Cross Blue Shield, United Health Care, Humana, Aetna, Medicaid, Medicare, Tricare, Med Cost, Coventry, First Health Direct, Today’s Option, Secure Horizon, CIGNA medicare, Well Care, Advantra Freedom, Unicare, CHAMP VA, Veterans, Davis Vision, Community Eye Care, Spectera, Superior Vision, Vision Services Plan (VSP).
Two insurances that we do not take are Eye Med and CIGNA. In cases where you are not sure if we take your insurance please bring your insurance card into our office. We will call your insurance company to see what your network benifits are.
What forms of payment do you take?
VISA, Master Card, DISCOVER, Cheques
Why do I have these annoying floaters and is there a cure?
Floaters are changes within the fluid at the back of the eye , called the vitreous. Most floaters are harmless and there is no treatment required. Should the floaters multiply in number, have any colour associations, like red, or if flashes of light are noted, then immediate dilation and examination is necessary to rule out retinal detachment (peeling away of the inner layer) which could lead to loss of sight.
Can I use eye exercises to strengthen my eyes and avoid having to wear glasses?
Although controversial, most eye exercises cannot avoid the need for wearing glasses. Some eye exercises can aid eye muscle related focusing problems, but it will not eliminate the need for glasses.
What age should children start getting their eyes tested?
By the age of 3, without a strong family history of any pertinent eye disease. If there is, then a screening is recommended sooner.
Will I get more dependent on glasses or will my eyes get lazy if I start wearing them?
The brain likes to see clearer images, so it will prefer to see with the correction on. Once symptoms such as eyestrain or headaches are unavoidable, correction should be worn. The correction need will not disappear with avoidance of wearing glasses or contact lenses.
What is the difference between an optometrist, an ophthalmologist, and an optician?
primary care provider of eye care in relation to prescribing eye glasses and contact lenses and early detection of eye diseases. An undergraduate university degree is necessary and then four years of optometric education to earn their Optometric Doctorate. Some will choose to continue with a year of residency training. In most of the 50 states, Optometrists prescribe oral and topical medications. Optometrists do manage and treat Glaucoma, Diabetes and many other health related conditions. Optometrists also do some minor surgeries; however, the scope of surgery varies from state to state.
can prescribe eye glasses and contact lenses and also perform eye surgery. Some are specialized to certain parts or diseases of the eye and cannot be seen without a referral. Ophthalmologists are Medical Doctors.
sell frames and edge lenses for eye glasses. More associated with the retail aspect of vision correction.