What is the difference between an ophthalmologist, optometrist, and an optician?
At Chang Eye Group, we have all of the “three O’s” on staff. Each professional has a specific role to play in your eye health and vision care.An Ophthalmologist is a medical doctor who has completed training as an eye surgeon. An ophthalmologist will perform cataract surgeries and other eye surgeries, treat eye injuries, and detect and manage serious medical eye conditions such as glaucoma, diabetic eye disease, and macular degeneration. An Optometrist is also a doctor, but he or she has completed optometry training (rather than medical school). Optometrists are trained to examine the eye, measure the vision and other eye functions, and prescribe eyeglasses or contact lenses to correct vision. The optometrist may also manage conditions such as dry eye, as well as other chronic eye conditions.
An Optician is a trained professional who helps you choose the right lenses and frames for your needs. Opticians will make sure your glasses fit perfectly and that you made perfect choices!
How often should I come for an eye examination?
If you have a specific medical eye condition, you should come as often as your eye doctor recommends. These visits enable the doctor to assess your eye health, adjust medications if needed, and make appropriate changes in treatment.If you do not have a medical eye condition, you should be examined:
- Any time your vision becomes blurred or changes, you experience pain, itching, or discomfort in your eyes
- Every one to two years, even if you are seeing well
What is a refraction fee and why doesn’t my insurance cover it?
A refraction is the portion of the exam that tests for en eye glass prescription. In order to receive a new glasses prescription, a refraction MUST be done. The refraction is also used for diagnostic reasons so your doctor may request one. Per state law, glasses prescriptions expire after 2 years. Medicare, Security Blue, Freedom Blue, and some Commercial Insurance companies no longer cover the cost of a Refraction. A refraction is a $30 service that is your responsibility if you have an insurance that does not cover it.
When should I use my medical insurance and when should I use my vision plan?
Your medical insurance will be used anytime that you have a medical diagnosis. You will use your medical insurance when visiting our ophthalmologists. Your vision plan can be used when your visit is only for glasses or contact prescriptions. Vision plans will cover the cost of refractions, however, you cannot use your medical insurance AND your vision plan in the same visit.
If I am seeing well and have no eye discomfort, why should I come for an eye exam?
Because several serious eye conditions do not have symptoms that you will notice. Only a trained eye doctor will be able to detect those conditions through the testing performed during a comprehensive eye exam. In addition, there are other serious medical conditions that may be first detected in the eye during a comprehensive eye exam.
What is a comprehensive eye exam?
A comprehensive eye exam involves a series of painless tests taken with specialized equipment. Some tests may be performed by an ophthalmic technician using automated equipment. Your eyes will be dilated with eye drops (a painless way to enable the doctor to see the back of your eye). You will receive an exam by an eye doctor, who will use a special instrument called a slit lamp to examine the structures of the eye. When all the tests are completed, the eye doctor will determine if your eyes are healthy, whether you need a prescription for eyeglasses or contact lenses, and what that prescription should be.
How should I prepare for an eye exam?
If you are a new patient, please complete the online forms or download the forms on this website and fill them out ahead of time. Bring your current insurance card and any required co-pays. Bring all pairs of glasses or contact lenses, and all medications with you (including vitamins and nutritional supplements). If you are coming for a comprehensive eye exam, expect to have your eyes dilated. You may have difficulty seeing clearly for several hours following dilation, so it may be a good idea to ask someone to drive you home.
How often should I get new eyeglasses of contact lenses?
Any time there is a change in your vision, the eye doctor will write a new prescription and you should get new eyeglasses or contact lenses made to the new prescription. But even if you have not had a change in your vision, you might consider updating your eyeglasses or contact lenses every year or so. Frame materials and styles are updated often and may offer benefits that your current eyewear doesn’t provide. Eyeglass lenses are constantly evolving as well, becoming thinner, lighter, and more protective. Contact lens materials are changing, too, which may mean more comfortable, clearer vision and healthier eyes for you. Be sure to check the optical section of this website for our latest offerings in eyewear.
Will my insurance pay for my eyeglasses or contact lenses?
Every insurance provider has different coverages, so we need to check with your insurance company to give an accurate answer. Most insurance providers do not pay for the entire cost of eyewear, but the coverage will help you pay for the eyewear. Our opticians will recommend the best choices in frames and lenses for your visual needs and lifestyle and then help you determine how much is covered by insurance and how much you will contribute.
My child failed a vision screening conducted at a school. what does this mean?
A vision screening is not the same as a comprehensive eye exam. A vision screening will indicate if a comprehensive eye exam is needed. Often, a child fails a vision screening because he or she needs to have eyeglasses or contact lenses to see clearly. This will be determined during a comprehensive exam in our office.
At what age should my child come for a comprehensive exam?
Infants as young as 6 months may have their vision checked, but our office does not see children under the age of 6 years (children under 6 years old are referred to a pediatric ophthalmologist). We do recommend that a child’s eyes and vision be examined before they start school at the age of 5 or 6.
At what age can children wear contact lenses?
There is no set age, but the child should be at an age when he or she can be responsible for personal hygiene, is capable of following instructions, and is careful with his or her personal belongings. This indicates the child could care for the lenses properly, wear them safely, and won’t lose the contact lenses. As with every contact lens wearer, the child also will need a pair of eyeglasses to wear when lenses are removed.
Cataract surgery has been recommended for my mother, but she is afraid of having an eye operation. How can I help her?
As with any form of surgery there are risks, but the risks of cataract surgery have been greatly minimized. Explain to your mother that cataract surgery is performed on more people in the U.S. than any other surgery. Usually, the surgery is performed on an outpatient basis and the patient goes home the same day. Most patients receive Intraocular Lens Implants (IOLs) which restore vision so well many patients say they see better than before. Learn more about cataract surgery here.
What is visual field testing?
Visual fields are tested to determine if there has been a reduction in peripheral vision (what you see from the sides of your eyes). This is a common sign of glaucoma, a disease that diminishes vision so gradually and painlessly the patient doesn’t know it. Visual field testing is painless and consists of identifying lights as you see them. The tests can be tiring, so the technician who conducts them often will allow the patient some rest periods.
I’m diabetic. Why should I have my eyes checked more often?
Diabetes is a condition that affects many parts of the body, including the eyes. Diabetic Eye Disease is a group of conditions that can damage your eyes, and you won’t even know it. By checking your eyes on a regular basis, the eye doctor monitors any change in your eye health or vision. The best way to prevent or minimize Diabetic Eye Disease is to work closely with your personal physician to control blood sugar and lead a healthy lifestyle, and come as recommended to the Chang Eye Group for regular eye exams.