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Optometry FAQs

Our doctors and staff are committed to making your visit as successful, comfortable, and pleasant as possible. Please visit our patient information page to answer questions about your appointment, how to prepare, and what to expect. We've compiled a list of additional questions about optometry and optometric services to help you better plan for your visit. For specific questions about your appointment, visit the Patient Information page.

Questions about Optometric Services

What does an optometrist do?

Optometrists, or doctors of optometry, are primary health care providers that specialize in eye care and visual health. They conduct eye exams, assess eye disease, write prescriptions, recommend specialized services and provide pre- and post- operative care for cataract surgery, refractive surgery (LASIK), and retinal surgery. They are trained to examine, diagnose, treat and manage disorders that affect the eye or vision.

Difference between optometrist, ophthalmologist and opticianWhat is the difference between an optometrist, ophthalmologist, and an optician?

  • Optometrist: An optometrist is a primary health care provider (OD) that specializes in eye care and visual health.
  • Ophthalmologist: An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor (MD) specializing in eye disease who may perform ocular surgery.
  • Optician: An optician is a professional who fits and grinds lenses and dispenses glasses.

View infographic of optometrist, ophthalmologist and optician.

What does a comprehensive eye exam include?

A comprehensive eye exam includes tests and procedures to assess your vision and eye health.  During an examination, optometrists conduct and assess:

  • Vision assessments/refraction: Optometrists determine the clarity or blur that patients have and use tailored techniques to find a prescription for the patients best possible vision.
  • Binocular vision: Optometrists determine the patient’s ability to properly focus and coordinate the eyes, and assess depth perception.
  • Eye disease: Optometrists diagnose and treat some eye diseases with pharmaceutical agents. They also identify systemic diseases with ocular manifestations such as diabetes, high blood pressure, thyroid conditions, cancer, and HIV.
  • Pre/post-op care: Optometrists provide both pre-operative and post-operative care for cataract surgery, refractive surgery (LASIK), and retinal surgery. 

What is dilation? 

As part of your care, we will assess your entire ocular health and system which will include dilation when warranted. Optometrists dilate your pupils to get a clear view of your optic nerve and retina, and to assist in diagnosing conditions high blood pressure, diabetes, macular degeneration and glaucoma.   Dilation makes your eyes more sensitive to light, and we recognize this can affect your ability to drive and work.  While dilation is an important part of your eye exam, it may not be necessary every year.  If dilation is an inconvenience for you, please ask your doctor about Optos, imaging technology that allows your doctor to see the back of your eyes in just a few minutes without the need to dilate your pupils.

How often should I visit an optometrist?

The frequency of eye exams depend on the age and health of the individual.    The American Optometric Association recommendations are as follows:

Patient Age Risk Free At Risk
Birth to 24 months At 6 months At 6 months or as recommended
2 to 5 years At 3 years At 3 years or as recommended
6 to 18 years Before 1st grade and every 2 years thereafter Annually or as recommended
18 to 60 years Every 2 years Every 1 to 2 years or as recommended
61 years and older Annually Annually or as recommended

When should I schedule an appointment?

You should schedule an appointment if you are:

  • Having difficulty reading print on computer and newspapers, magazines, & menus, or numbers/letters on your phone
  • Rubbing your eyes frequently
  • Having tired or burning eyes
  • Experiencing blurred vision or double vision
  • Experiencing frequent headaches or eyestrain when working on a computer or reading for long periods of time
  • Having difficulty driving at night
  • Having problems with glare
  • Symptoms of flashes and floaters
  • Someone with diabetes, hypertension, or any other systemic or chronic disease
  • At risk for certain systemic or eye diseases because of family history or other factors – i.e. diabetes, high-blood pressure
  • Playing sports and having trouble judging distances between you, the ball, or other objects
  • Losing track of a person or objects in your peripheral (side) vision
  • Experiencing frequent near misses, accidents, or difficulty parking or driving
  • Handling or using chemicals, power tools, or lawn and garden
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