Eye Exam Questions
Q: How often should I have an eye exam?
A: We recommend yearly eye exams for all patients, unless you have a specific eye condition which may require more frequent visits. Although you may not notice a change in your prescription, annual eye exams are important to check the medical health of your eye. Yearly eye exams are also important for those who wear contact lenses. The fit of your contact lenses must be checked to ensure they are fitting properly and not adversely affecting your eye health.
Q: How do I know if my child needs an eye exam?
A: All children should have an eye exam, beginning at 6 months of age. Through the InfantSEE® program, we offer complimentary eye exams for children between the ages of 6-12 months. Your child may not complain of any visual symptoms; however, a complete eye exam is the only way to ensure that your child is seeing as clearly as possible. Sometimes problems with school performance, coordination, and depth perception could be the result of an undiagnosed eye condition.
Q: Why do my kids need an exam when they get their eyes checked in school?
A: Though vision screenings are an excellent way for the school systems to pick up gross abnormalities in your child’s vision, they do not check for eye health problems. They also do not check for more complicated vision problems that may affect learning, especially reading. The only way to accurately detect problems that may affect your child’s visual performance is to have a comprehensive eye health and vision exam.
Q: How long will the eye exam take?
A: The length of your eye exam really depends on your specific eyes. An eye exam can range from 30 minutes to 90 minutes depending on what the doctor finds during the examination.
Q: What does the eye exam involve?
A: During your exam we will evaluate the health function of the following:
Eye muscles (strabismus, otherwise known as “lazy eye”)
Intraocular pressure (glaucoma)
Crystalline lens (cataracts)
Retina (macular degeneration, diabetes, and other retinal problems)
Optic nerve head (glaucoma)
Q: Do I have to be dilated?
A: To adequately examine the retina, optic nerve, and macula (inside of your eyes), we need to dilate the pupils of your eye in most cases. If you have never had your pupils dilated, you may wish to have a driver accompany you the first time. Most patients, however, are able to drive after this procedure.
Q: Does Blaine Eye Clinic treat medical conditions like pink eye or foreign body removal?
A: Yes, our doctors are therapeutically trained to diagnose and treat most types of ocular disease.
Q: How do I make an appointment at Blaine Eye Clinic?
A: Easy. Just call us at 763.757.7000 and we will be happy to schedule this for you and your family members. You can also click on the schedule appointment button and our staff will be glad to contact you to schedule your appointment.
Q: Do I need to bring anything with me to my eye appointment?
A: We ask that you bring your current vision insurance card, your current medical insurance card (in case something medical is found during the exam), and a list of current medications including dosages. We also ask that you bring any glasses/sunglasses or contact lenses (and/or contact lens boxes) that you have or currently use.
Q: Do you have optometrists or ophthalmologists? What is the difference?
A: Doctors of optometry are trained to examine, diagnose, treat and manage disorders of the eye or vision. They detect and diagnose eye diseases such as glaucoma, cataracts, retinal disorders, lid disorders, and infections such as conjunctivitis. They prescribe oral and topical medications to treat eye diseases. Pre- and post-operative care for glaucoma, laser, refractive, and cataract patients is provided by optometrists. Optometrists’ training includes attending a university for their undergraduate degree followed by four additional years of optometry school. To earn their doctoral degree, they concentrate specifically on the structure, function and disorders of the eye. While concentrating on the eye and visual system, optometrists also study general health in the human body. In addition to their formal, doctorate-level training, all optometrists participate in ongoing continuing education courses to stay current on the latest standards of care and to maintain their licenses to practice. Optometry is one of the only doctoral-level health care professions to require continuing education in every state for license renewal. Ophthalmologists spend four years studying the body and its systems to earn their doctorate of medicine. From there they spend on average three years in an ophthalmology residency. Ophthalmologists diagnose and treat eye diseases just like optometrists, but they are also trained to perform eye surgery.
Q: What is an optician?
A: An optician is a person who is specifically trained in the fitting and adjusting of eyewear. Most of our opticians are American Board of Opticianry (ABO) certified and regularly attend continuing education classes to keep up-to-date on the newest technologies.
Q: What is the difference between an eye examination at your clinic versus a chain retailer?
A: Many times, chain retailers put most of the emphasis on one part of the eye exam. This part is called the refraction, and it is how the doctor determines your specific prescription. Our clinic certainly performs refractions, but we also thoroughly evaluate your eye health. The problem with only performing a refraction is that the health of your eye is not evaluated. Conditions like diabetes and hypertension can be detected through a comprehensive eye exam. Having the internal health of your eyes evaluated is equally important as having the prescription checked.
Contact Lens Questions
Q: Is my prescription the same for both glasses and contact lenses?
A: No.The prescription for contact lenses requires additional measurements of your eye; these measurements are performed during a contact lens fitting.
Q: What is involved in getting contact lenses?
A: Contact lenses need to be carefully fitted and matched to your needs and to your eyes. We will therefore need to perform a comprehensive vision and health exam, in addition to taking measurements to properly fit your eyes with contact lenses. We will always ensure that you are comfortable with handling your lenses before we prescribe them and will provide you with written instructions as well.
Q: Can I wear contact lenses?
A: Most patients are able to wear contact lenses. Your doctor will be able to determine whether or not you would be a good candidate for contact lens wear during your eye exam.
Q: Can children wear contact lenses?
A: As soon as the need for vision correction is identified, contact lenses are usually a viable option. With proper care and lens maintenance, infants, young children, teens, and adults of all ages can often wear contacts effectively.
Q: I have astigmatism; can I still wear contacts?
A: Astigmatism is a common vision condition. It is caused when the front surface of the eye, called the cornea, is not perfectly round. As a result, light is focused differently in the eye, leading to blurred vision. Contact lenses that correct astigmatism are called torics. They come in both soft and gas permeable contact lens materials. In addition, small amounts of astigmatism may be corrected with a regular, non-toric gas permeable contact lens.
Q: If I have dry eyes, are contact lenses still for me?
A: Great improvements have been made in contact lens materials. In the past, many patients with dry eye could not tolerate contacts lenses. Now, they can be fit with numerous new types of contacts, especially ones that contain the newest polymers. These molecules attach to water, allowing the lens to resist deposits and function better. In addition, a regimen of warm compresses and artificial tears are beneficial to the contact lens wearer with dry eye.
Q: I have never worn contact lenses; will Blaine Eye Clinic show me how to insert and remove my contacts?
A: A Blaine Eye Clinic technician will instruct you on insertion and removal of your contact lenses before you take them home. Written instructions will also be provided to ensure that proper care and technique is continued.
Q: How long may I wear my contact lenses? Is it all right to sleep in them?
A: The amount of time it is safe to wear your contact lenses depends on the type of lens you are wearing. There are certain contact lenses that are designed to safely wear overnight. However, it is not okay to sleep in your contacts unless your doctor has specifically told you that this is safe for your particular eyes. Sleeping in your contact lenses increases your risk of eye infections, inflammation, and can potentially cause permanent vision loss.
Q: Do I still need glasses if I wear contact lenses?
A: Glasses are most definitely necessary, even if you have contacts. In the case of an eye infection or scratched eye, you would not be able to wear your contact lenses. A backup pair of glasses (with the most recent prescription) would be the only form of correction that would allow you to see properly until the eye problem has been resolved. It is also healthier for your eyes to go without your contact lenses for at least half an hour in the morning and one to two hours in the evening.
Q: How long does it take to place and receive a contact lens order?
A: We have a wide variety of contact lenses in stock. If we do not have the brand or the amount that you need, we can order them. It typically takes 2 to 7 days for your lenses to arrive. Some lenses are custom made, so they may take longer. However, if it would be more convenient, we can have the lenses shipped directly to your house. *Direct shipping is available at no charge with a 12 month supply that has been paid for in full.
Q: How do your prices compare to those mail-order places?
A: We strongly recommend that you compare prices before ordering your contact lenses after a successful fitting elsewhere. Our prices are very competitive. We also offer a trial pair, if needed, at no additional charge. Most of our lenses have rebates available. (Note: We quote our prices before rebate unlike some of the mail-order companies.) Please call our contact lens technicians for more details when you need to replace your lenses.
Eye Surgery Questions
Q: Am I a candidate for LASIK?
A: There are multiple factors that will determine if you are a candidate for LASIK surgery. These include the amount and stability of your prescription, thickness, and shape of your corneas, age, and your history of eye diseases. If for whatever reason, you do not meet these criteria, there are alternatives to LASIK surgery which we can discuss with you during your appointment.
Q: I want to have cataract surgery. What do I need to do?
A: To determine your readiness for cataract surgery, you should have a comprehensive eye health exam. At that time we will assess if you have become visually compromised due to cataracts. Your eyes will need to be dilated to properly judge what stage the cataracts are at.
Q: Can I get glasses from your clinic if I had my exam elsewhere?
A: Absolutely, provided you have a current and up-to-date prescription. The only exception to this rule is safety glasses (see below).
Q: Can I get prescription sunglasses from your eye clinic?
A: You may. Your selection is vast, as you may choose from not only our sunwear collection but also the entire eyewear collection. One of our opticians will assist you in selecting a frame that will work well with your type of prescription.
Q: If I need my PD (Pupil Distance) measurement, will you measure it for me?
A: Yes we will. We charge $36 for single vision and $46 for multifocal pupil distance measurements without an eyeglass purchase.
Q: Do you have a large selection of frames from which to choose?
A: We have a wide selection of frames at our clinic. To take a look, please see our Frames Gallery page. You will find frames starting at $59.00 all the way up through the high-end designer lines that we carry.
Q: Is an appointment needed to pick out eyewear?
A: No, our optical area is open during our normal office hours, where one of our knowledgeable opticians will be available to assist you.
Q: How do progressive lenses differ from bifocals?
A: Bifocals only work well at two distances. Typically, the area above the line will work well in the distance while the area below the line will work best for reading or near work. They will not work for anything between these two distances. The two areas are visibly defined and there is a distinct contrast between them.
Progressive lenses have prescriptions for all distances. The different prescription areas gradually blend into each other so that there is no “jump” in your vision like that caused by a standard bifocal. Cosmetically, progressives are advantageous as they lack the visible line that a bifocal will have (which is why they are often referred to as “no-line” bifocals). Most patients tend to prefer progressive lenses based on both the way they look and function.
Q: What is the difference between polarized and tinted lenses?
A: The biggest difference between these two lens types is their ability to filter glare. Polarized lenses are excellent at reducing glare while tinted lenses will just make glare darker. Polarized lenses are almost always recommended as the best choice for an all-around sun lens, but are especially useful for those who spend a lot of time in snow, driving, or on the water (for example, fishing or boating). Polarized lenses have the advantage of built-in UV protection, too, which isn’t the case with tinted lenses.
Tint is occasionally preferred over polarization due to the wearer’s occupation. For instance, polarization is generally not the best option for pilots, military or police use, as it can interfere with reading LED equipment. Additionally, tinting is available in a wide array of colors while polarization is typically available in only a few.
A third, slightly different option we offer are Transitions lenses, which automatically darken when you are in sunlight.
Our opticians will be happy to address any additional questions you may have and provide demonstrations that will illustrate the differences between the lens types.
Q: What is anti-glare coating?
A: Anti-glare, also known as anti-reflective (AR) coating, is applied to your lenses as a final step in the lens manufacturing process. AR reduces light reflections on the surface of the lens; instead, the light passes through. This prevents light from being reflected off the back of the lens, which is what causes glare. It also reduces eyestrain and fatigue, giving you a more comfortable and productive vision. Additionally, the AR coating helps eliminate halos and ghost images from oncoming car lights in the evening. This allows for safer driving. AR is helpful for people who spend a great deal of time on a computer, too. You will also enjoy how much nicer your eyeglasses look without reflections.
Q: How long does it take to get my glasses?
A: Our labs always do their best to get the glasses/lenses returned in a timely manner. We typically allow 5 to 10 business days from order placement. Our labs will consistently perform quality control prior to releasing the frame/lenses to us. We also perform quality control before dispensing them to you.
Q: Do you guarantee my purchase?
A: We ask that you return to our office within 30 days of receipt of your new lenses if you are having any visual problems at all. Your new frame is covered by a manufacturer’s warranty for up to 2 years from the date of purchase. Lenses are warranted for 1 to 2 years, depending on which coatings are applied to the lenses.
Q: What is the best way to clean & care for my eyeglasses?
A: Never clean your lenses dry. Always rinse them off with soap and water or use the lens cleaning spray that we provided when you purchased your glasses. Dry them off with a soft, clean cloth. Do not use tissues or paper towels; the fibers in these may cause scratches. Even if your lenses look clean, there can be small dust particles on them that can cause scratches in the lenses when rubbed without rinsing. It is important to note that although your lenses may be scratch resistant, no lens is scratch proof.
Q: Can I get safety glasses from your clinic?
A: If you have had your eye exam at our clinic, you can get safety glasses through us. However, if you had your exam done elsewhere, we will not be able to provide safety glasses for you.
Billing / Insurance Questions
Q: Will my insurance cover an eye exam?
A: Most medical insurance plans will cover one routine eye exam annually. This is may be the case even if you have a high deductible plan. Routine eye exams usually fall under the “preventative care clause” of your health plan, meaning deductibles often do not apply. Unfortunately, this is not true for all health plans. We will call your insurance company on your behalf one or two days before your appointment to verify your insurance coverage. If we find anything out of the ordinary, we will most certainly give you a call. If you would like to call in advance, use the number on the back of your insurance card and ask the customer service person for your “routine eye exam coverage.”
Q: Do you take my insurance?
A: We are providers for most insurance plans. Please refer to the insurance page for a detailed list. If you do not find your insurance plan on this list, it does not mean that we do not accept it. Please call your insurance provider to determine if we are in your network. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to give us a call.
Q: How much is an eye exam if I don’t have insurance coverage at your clinic?
A: If you have absolutely no medical coverage and are a new patient to our clinic, the cost of the eye exam is $245.00. If you are able to pay for this exam on the day of your visit, we are able to offer you a 10% discount. This would mean your cost would be $220.50. For a patient who has been seen at our clinic within the last 3 years, the cost would be $215.00 and $193.50 after the 10% discount. These are the prices for a comprehensive eye exam. Please see the “Eye Exam Related Questions” for a list of all the tests that are performed during a comprehensive exam at Blaine Eye Clinic. Also, if you have medical insurance of any kind, please inform the scheduler when you call. It is very possible that all or part of the exam could be covered. We will assist you in discussing your benefits with your insurance to ensure you receive the accurate coverage.
Q: Do I have to pay my co-pay on the day I come in?
A: Yes. We collect all co-pays (if applicable) on the day you are seen.