Also you may click HERE if you would like to view an "EYEcyclopedia" of common terms used in the eye care industry
How far in advance should I schedule my appointment?
Our office has seen incredible growth over the past several years. This is thanks entirely to our great patients referring their family and friends. Because of this there are times during the year, particularly during the summer months and towards the end of the year, that our appointment book gets filled rather quickly. We recommend that you call at least a week in advance if possible.
What hours do you see patients?
It is important for us to be able to provide appointments that can accommodate the busy schedules of many of our patients. Our office is open Monday and Thursday 10am to 7pm, and 8am to 5pm on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. Additionally, we are open on Saturdays from 8am to 1pm.
Why do you need all my info up front?
A detailed patient chart is essential for maintaining organized and secure records in any medical office. We ask for this information when we schedule first time patients for a few reasons. The first, and most essential, is security. A doctor has a legal and ethical obligation to maintain a certain level of privacy in relation to medical records. Creating a detail oriented chart from the beginning is the best uniform way to ensure each patient receives the same level of care concerning the accuracy and security of their chart. In addition to this, being prepared ahead of time allows us to provide more efficient service to all of our patients. We pre-authorize all insurance ahead of time and try to cut out as much paperwork for the patient as possible in the office.
Do I need to bring my current glasses to my exam?
It is always a good idea to bring in your glasses to the eye exam, especially if you are a new patient. What your eyes are used to seeing out of is critically important to the doctor. Knowing what type of lens, type of material, and frame style you have worn in the past can have a significant impact on the doctor’s suggestions for your next pair of glasses. Depending on what kinds of issues a patient may be experiencing, the doctor may want to try a different material in the lens or possibly a different base curve. The more information a doctor can have, the better equipped they are to solve any problems.
Do you see children?
Yes! All ages are welcome at our office. We also have a large selection of frames for children with styles and sizes ranging from infants all the way through teenagers. Our staff and opticians have all been trained to know what materials and coatings work best for the active lifestyles of kids as well. Preventing damage to the young developing eye is essential for long term eye health. The developing layers of a child’s eye let through much more UV light than an adult, and this can damage the retina. Most parents are well aware of the damage UV can cause to skin, and are keen to put sunscreen on their young children to prevent skin damage. The same can be said for the delicate inner workings of the eye and with the correct lens coatings and education, UV damage can be mitigated.
What is a Contact Lens Evaluation?
The Contact Lens Evaluation is a completely unique set of tests and measures designed to evaluate not only the prescription required for the contacts but also the fit, comfort, and wearing schedule for each patient. It also includes a pair of contact lenses for trial evaluation and any contact related follow ups necessary until we finalize the prescription. Most of the time, with the exception of very mild prescriptions, it also differs from the glasses prescription.
Why is the Contact Lens Evaluation a yearly requirement to get a contact prescription?
Just like almost all other prescribed materials in healthcare, your contact prescription has an expiration date because the doctor has an obligation to make your ocular health their number one priority. Contacts can cause damage, sometimes even permanent, if they are over worn or misused. Most at risk is your cornea, the transparent portion of your eye allowing light in to reach the pupil and eventually the retina. Because the cornea is clear, it has no blood vessels to deliver oxygen throughout it. Therefore, it absorbs oxygen from tears and the air, and in reaction gives off carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. This process can be interrupted by the wearing of contact lenses and can cause a number of problems, especially if contacts are over worn. The doctor must evaluate every year, the health and resilience of the cornea and the rest of the eye to ensure he or she is not approving the wear of contact lenses that could be detrimental. Even if you have zero complaints with the previous year’s contact lenses the doctor still needs to evaluate the health of the eye specifically for contacts if he or she is going to sign off on another annual supply.
Why do you need the policy holder’s social security number?
For most vision insurance plans, a social of the policy holder is necessary for verifying benefits as well as filing benefits for the patient. Many times vision insurance is contracted out by your normal health insurance provider. For instance, a patient may have Aetna as their health insurance provider, but their vision may have been contracted out to a vision company like Eyemed or a subsidiary of Aetna. For security purposes as well as continuity throughout the industry, insurance companies almost unanimously use the policy holder’s social for identification.
Why do you need my medical insurance information?
In addition to evaluating patient vision and health on an annual basis, all of our doctors also treat and manage eye related issues that may arise between your typical annual eye exams. This includes infections, foreign body removal, dry eyes and almost all other eye related issues. In addition to this our doctors are also glaucoma specialist and specialize in both the preventative and proactive management of the disease. For all these reasons, we ask for medical insurance to accommodate our patients by being available to file as an in network provider for most insurance plans.
What is an Optomap Retina Exam?
Optomap is a digital scan of your retina that allows the doctor to evaluate the retina’s health without having to dilate the patient. Dilation can be uncomfortable especially for patients who may already be light sensitive, and the effects of dilation can linger after the appointment for up to 6 hours. For this reason most people, understandably, do not enjoy that process. However, evaluating the health of the retina and optic nerve are paramount for determining the health of the eye. Why? Because the retina is the translator for the language of light. It’s actually made of brain tissue and is considered part of the central nervous system. All of the other parts of the eye are working for the retina, trying to focus light so that it hits the retina just right. It is pretty incredible stuff, and it is why we stress the importance of checking the health of the retina. Optomap makes this process less of a burden on the patient’s schedule and allows us to see the retina and optic nerve completely, as well as keeps the images in the patient file for future comparison.
Are your Doctors Optometrists or Ophthalmologists?
All of our doctors at Woodlands Eyecare are Therapeutic Optometrist. Discerning between the two can sometimes be confusing, but it should be noted both optometrist and ophthalmologist are more than equipped with the knowledge needed to perform a thorough eye exam. Both endure four years of graduate medical education including extensive learning in a clinical setting. Which is better for you? It really depends on what you need. Optometry focuses on complete ocular health providing services like: annual health and vision exams, prescribing glasses and contacts, diagnosing and treating eye infections and diseases, vision therapy, and even pre-op and post-op care for procedures like LASIK and PRK. Ophthalmology, generally speaking, is a more tapered field of expertise. For example, you might have one Ophthalmologist who specializes on the retina and performs surgery and procedures to repair it when something goes haywire. Meanwhile, another Ophthalmologist might specialize in performing LASIK surgery. There is a bit of a misconception that optometrists and ophthalmologists are competing for the same platform, but this really is not true. We work in conjunction with many ophthalmologists, regularly referring patients to them for specialized care. In addition, ophthalmologists routinely refer patients to optometrists for post-op care, to fill eyeglass prescriptions, and for their routine checkups.
What are the hours for the optical department?
Our optical department is open the same exact hours as the rest of our office. If we are open, someone will be here in the optical department to assist you. This is one of the greatest advantages of being a patient at a privately owned and operated eye clinic. The optical department here is completely in touch with what the doctors and office as a whole are trying to accomplish, and that is to make sure every patient leaves confident that they received the best possible eye care available.
What kind of lenses do you offer?
Our office is privately owned and operated and has established itself as a continued source of quality eye wear. This has afforded us some unique opportunities to provide our patients with the most advanced lenses available. We work with multiple laboratories and lens professionals to ensure we can always provide the patient with the lens that best suits them. Our office offers lenses manufactured by the most trusted names in the industry like Zeiss and Varilux, but at the same time we don’t have to be brand loyal, and can actually offer the patient any lens the doctor feels is best.
Can I use frames purchased at another store?
Absolutely! The only caveat to this would be if the frame itself was not meant to have prescription lenses put in it. As long as it is a frame capable of holding prescription lenses it should not be a problem.
Where can I get my glasses adjusted and how much does it cost?
Whether the glasses were purchased here or not, our office offers free adjustments with no appointment needed.
What is Anti-Reflective Coating?
Anti-Reflective Coating, or AR Coating, is a layer of coating applied to the lens to primarily prevent glare caused by light reflecting off the lens. Some of that glare bounces off the back of the lens and back toward the eye creating an unnecessary residual glare effect on your vision, and some of it bounces off the front of the lens and scatters making it difficult for others to see your eyes through the lens. AR coating eliminates both scenarios. Glare is a major source of eye strain and modern anti-reflective coatings have been proven to be very effective at reducing the amount of glare and improving patient’s over all vision out of their glasses. This is especially true for patients with more severe prescriptions. In addition to the glare benefits, AR coating also serves as a UV buffer blocking harmful UV light from reaching your retina, and it also has scratch resistant properties. It is recommended for all patients because no matter what your vision requirements are, performance of the lens will be better with AR Coating. However, more severe prescriptions cause the lens to be more con-caved or con-vexed resulting in much more glare. For these types of lenses, AR Coating is a necessity.
What are Transition or Photochromic lenses?
Photochromic lenses are lenses that darken when exposed to ultra violet light. This is convenient for patients that spend a lot of time outdoors because they don’t require you to switch to a second pair of prescription sunglasses. They work by having a layer of UV active material in the lens itself. When it is exposed to UV light, which is not visible by the eye, the layer of molecules stretches and changes shape so that the molecules now absorb some light in the visible spectrum causing the lens to darken. Once the UV light is no longer penetrating the lens, the layer of molecules will shrink back to their original shape and allow all the light through again causing the lens to return to its normal clear self. The newest iterations of photochromic lenses can do this whole process in about one minute each way. However, because modern car windows block UV, photochromic lenses do not change in the car.
Do you accept donations of previously worn glasses?
Yes! We donate used frames to the Lions Club and to optometry mission trips to South America.
What is a Progressive Lens and how do they work?
A Progressive Addition Lens corrects for the additional power needed to correct presbyopia, which, with age causes focusing on near objects to be difficult. In addition to this, progressive lenses also have “no line” meaning that unlike other “lined” bi-focal lenses, progressive lenses will look just like the single vision distance lenses. However, just because they look like single vision lenses from the outside does not mean they will feel exactly the same when worn.
How do they work?
Progressive lenses correct for distance, intermediate, and near vision all in one lens with no line. Your distance vision prescription will dominate the upper half of your lens, from there moving downward through the lens the prescription will gradually have Plus Power added until finally you reach your full reading power towards the bottom of the lens. This is great because it gives the patient many different options for seeing clearly at many different distances all in one pair of lenses. In order to do this though, we have to manipulate both the front and back of the lens putting power in different areas of the lens. This in turn causes some “swim” in the edges of the lens. Over the years manufacturers have done an amazing job trying to eliminate many of the issues earlier progressive models caused for patients. Now there are options for full customization of progressive lenses drastically decreasing non adaptations to them. Not all progressive lenses in today’s market are created equal. Lenses with old technology that don’t account for many of the issues patients face when trying to move from single vision to progressive lenses are still widely available and advertised as great options for patients at some optical dispensaries. However these lenses have been made obsolete by newer “freeform” technology that takes into consideration every aspect of a single patient’s prescription including incredibly accurate measurements taken by specialized equipment that we have both in the exam room and on the optical floor. These are the types of lenses we want to offer to our patients.
How do the lenses get my prescription in them?
In order to put any power in a lens whether its single vision or progressive lenses, they must be “ground down" or generated to that prescription. The lens starts out at the manufacturer as a lens blank. A blank is about the size of hockey puck in both thickness and width and these lens blanks come in a variety of base curves. Based on your prescription and frame selection a lab technician will select which base curve will work best for your lenses. From there the blank is run through a generator machine that will grind the prescription into the back of the lens blank. This is a rough process and after the lens comes out it will need to be fined and polished so that the lens will be clear of all aberrations and scratches made during the grinding process. After this the lenses are meticulously cleaned and sent to have any coatings that are necessary put on. The coating process can be arduous because any dust or dirt on the lens can cause pits or bubbles in the lens and because of this many coating processes, including anti-reflective coating, are done in a clean room away from the rest of the machinery. After coating, lenses are ready to be cut down to the shape of your frame. The frame will be traced; an edging machine will cut the lens to within a hundredth of a millimeter of the trace; Lenses are then mounted, cleaned, and inspected for quality. Finding a mistake at this point in the process is extremely frustrating for the Lab, for Our Office, and for the Patient because it means all the time and work up until this point has been wasted. Many times when a patient’s glasses have taken a long time to come in it is because something happened late in the process causing a restart.