Below are some of the most frequently asked questions patients have about their vision and general eye health issues.
Preparing For Your Appointment
- Insurance card(s) including subscriber information, such as birth date and employer
- Photo ID
- All prescription and over the counter medications including vitamins and a list of allergies
- Information about your family and personal history and any problems you may be experiencing with your vision
- If you have previous medical records relating to the health of your eyes and or glasses prescriptions, you may bring those with you
- If you are having a contact lens examination and you currently have contact lenses, you should wear them to your appointment
- You may also bring a list of any questions you have for the doctor or technician
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires that institutions such as ours develop and implement an identity theft prevention program by June 1, 2010. This is known as “Red Flags Rule”. We will ask for a photo ID to verify the identity of our patients upon check-in for their appointment.
We bill most major medical and vision insurances but because plans vary we are not able to tell you what your insurance will cover. Check with your insurance carrier to see what your individual benefits are.
Please keep in mind that we are unable to tell you exactly how much your visit will cost prior to being seen by the doctor as many factors determine the contents of your exam. What your insurance will cover and how much they will pay varies with every plan.
The cost varies depending on several factors including some medical conditions, contact lens evaluation, and any special testing that may be requested by your ophthalmologist. There will be a separate charge for a refraction. Most insurance companies will cover some aspect of comprehensive eye exams. We offer a discount if payment is made in full at the time of service.
During Your Appointment
An ophthalmic technician will do several tests prior to the doctor examining your eyes, including obtaining a thorough personal and family medical history, dilating your pupils, testing your visual acuity for distance and reading, checking your intra-ocular pressure (a test for glaucoma), and refraction.
Your doctor will conduct a thorough eye exam using a slit lamp. He or she will look for signs of eye disease or general health problems such as diabetes or hardening of the arteries that may show up in the eyes.
Pupil dilation is extremely important, because it allows the physician to see all the way into the back of the eye. During an eye exam, the physician will use a bright light and a lens to look into the eye, inspecting the health of the cornea, iris, lens, and retina. Viewing the back of the eye allows the physician to check for signs of diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, macular degeneration, and hardening of the arteries.
The side effects of pupil dilation include sensitivity to light and difficulty seeing things up close. Sunglasses will be provided upon checking out with the receptionist, but you may not feel comfortable driving while your eyes are dilated so you may want to have someone drive you or you can wait in our lobby until you feel comfortable to drive.
If no special testing is required and no other exam (such as contact lens) is required your appointment will last approximately 1 hour, but please allow extra time before or after your appointment to visit our optical department where one of our qualified opticians can help you choose the best frames for your needs.
Your doctor will give you a prescription for glasses at the completion of your visit. You do not need an appointment to see one of our opticians who will help you select the best frame and lens type for your needs.
For contact lenses you must see one of our contact lens specialists in addition to seeing the doctor, in accordance with Washington State law. These specially trained opticians will help you select the best lens type for your eyes. If you are having a contact lens examination and you currently have contact lenses, you should wear them to your appointment.
- Adults and children who wear glasses or contacts
- Adults over 40 who have a family history of eye disease such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, or cataract
- Adults and children with a history of eye injury or eye disease
- If a physician has recommended that you have an eye exam yearly
Every 2 years:
- Adults who do not wear glasses or contacts
- No personal or family history of eye disease
- If a physician has recommended eye exams every 2 years
Some experts believe that if a child is not showing any signs of vision impairment they should have a routine eye examination at age 3. We recommend that you contact your child’s pediatrician for a recommendation for your child. Our staff would be happy to discuss any concerns you have regarding the health of your child’s eyes or vision.
We have specially trained staff who can answer questions about refractive surgery and would be happy to schedule an appointment for you to have a free evaluation.