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FAQs

Have a question? Our FAQs answer many of the most common customer queries. If these still don’t answer your question please get in touch.

Why do I need an eye exam every year?

An annual eye exam is recommended to monitor the health of your eyes. At your comprehensive eye exam, we not only check your prescription to make sure you are seeing as well as you possibly can, but we also do a thorough health evaluation of your eyes.

Every year, we monitor the health of the corneal tissue as well as evaluate the lens inside the eye for possible cataract changes. We also check the intraocular pressures and compare the pressures to previous findings to monitor for possible glaucoma. A thorough retinal evaluation is performed annually with either an Optomap retinal image or through a fully dilated pupil to assure that no retinal problems exist. Systemic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol can cause problems in the eye that need to be either treated or monitored closely.

An annual eye exam is recommended by both the American Medical Association as well as the American Optometric Association.

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Why do you need my medical insurance information and my optical insurance information?

There are many conditions that affect the eye that are medical conditions and not billable to optical insurances. Chronic dry eye, allergy-related ocular problems, corneal abrasions and contact-lens-related corneal problems are some examples of conditions that are billable to medical and not optical carriers.

Am I a good candidate for LASIK surgery?

There are several factors that go into answering this question. Having a prescription within certain parameters as well as having a stable prescription are two of the most important factors that we look at when making this decision. Corneal thickness and corneal topography, or mapping, are other factors that are evaluated before performing the procedure. Done on the right patient with the right expectations, this is a great procedure. Dr. Helms works closely with the LASIK surgeon in performing both the pre-op testing and the post-op follow-up care.

Why do I need to have my eyes dilated, and what is Optomap retinal imaging?

When evaluating the health of the retina, it is necessary to see as much of the retinal tissue as possible. When an undilated pupil is looked through with a bright light source, the pupil constricts and limits the view to about 10-15 degrees. Dilating drops make the pupils large and unable to constrict, thus allowing use of a bright light source to view the peripheral retinal tissue. Dr. Helms considers a dilated examination to be a good “spot check” of the retina. The Optomap allows a full view of the retina out to approximately 200 degrees. This image is stored as electronic data and used as a comparison at future examinations. We recommend alternating the retinal testing by performing Optomap imaging one year and dilating the following year.

My eyes are dry. Can I still wear contacts?

Advances in dry-eye therapy have been steady over the past decade, and products are available to help re-establish a better-quality tear film. Before fitting you in contacts, it is best to address the dry-eye condition with available dry-eye therapy options.

My eyelashes are getting thinner and shorter as I get older. Is there anything I can do?

Currently there is a prescription drug available to improve the growth of eyelashes. This is a cosmetic drug and therefore not covered by insurances. However, the results are consistently good with significant improvement in thickness and length of lashes within four to six weeks.

What types of contact lenses do you have available?

We can get virtually any brand or type of contact lens; however, we do not stock all available brands. Please contact our staff to find out if we can fulfill your contact lens needs.

What is the difference between an optician, an optometrist, and an ophthalmologist?

An OPTICIAN is a technician who has completed a two-year combination of study and work experience with optical appliances. Opticians may supply, prepare and dispense optical appliances, including corrective eyeglasses based on a prescription from an optometrist or ophthalmologist. In some states, with additional training, an optician can be licensed to fit and dispense contact lenses.

An OPTOMETRIST is a doctor who has completed a undergraduate bachelor’s degree and an additional four years for a Doctor of Optometry degree. Optometrists are primary care practitioners who examine, assess and diagnose disorders of the eye, visual system and associated structures, as well as diagnose related systemic conditions. Optometrists provide and prescribe treatment, management, and correction for the eyes and visual system. This includes, but is not limited to, the fitting and dispensing of eyeglasses, contact lenses, and other optical devices; vision therapy; prescription medications for the eye; and referral to a medical specialist for treatment of other eye or systemic disease or eye surgery.

An OPHTHALMOLOGIST is a medical doctor/surgeon who, in addition to having an undergraduate bachelor’s degree and four years of medical school, has completed up to six years of ophthalmology residency in a hospital. Most ophthalmologists specialize in medical and surgical treatment of the eye and vision disorders, but may also perform routine eye care examinations, contact lens fitting, and other primary eye care services.

Why can I no longer focus on objects up close?

Vision changes occur naturally as you age. When you reach your 40s, focusing at close range becomes difficult. This is a natural part of the aging process caused by a gradual hardening of the eye’s crystalline lens, reducing its ability to change shape and focus. This condition is called presbyopia.

What are progressive addition lenses, and how do they differ from ordinary bifocals?

Progressive addition lenses feature a continuous, clear field of vision from distance, through the intermediate ranges, to near without the use of annoying bifocal lines. Bifocal lenses use very old technology. Abrupt and awkward changes between distance and near occur when wearing prescriptions lenses that are separated by annoying lines and that can be frustrating to wear.

Who would be a candidate for progressive lenses?

Anyone who has presbyopia, including current bifocal and trifocal wearers.

Can I expect to have an adaptation period with my progressive lenses?

Most individuals will learn to use their progressive lenses right away. Others may take a bit longer to become completely comfortable. Your eye care professional should be made aware of any extended adaptation period. A “fine-tuning” frame adjustment may be all that is necessary to assist in this initial period.

I have a strong prescription. How can I reduce the thickness and weight of my eyeglass lenses?

Progressive lenses are available in a variety of different materials that will reduce both thickness and weight. Smaller frames also reduce lens thickness and weight. Your eye care professional will consider prescription, frame size, and your individual lifestyle as factors when helping you decide which lens material will be best for you.