Frequently Asked Questions
- Do I need Vision coverage with my insurance to have an eye exam?
One of the most misunderstood notions is that you have to have a so-called “vision plan.” Your medical insurance can usually be billed for your eye examination as long as your chief complaint concerns the health of the eyes (such as dry eyes, diabetes, or cataract evaluation, etc…). However, you might want to check your plan to see whether or not you need a referral. Please fill out and submit the forms click here prior to your visit.
- What should I know about my child regarding eye exams?
WHAT AGE SHOULD MY CHILD HAVE HIS/HER FIRST EYE EXAM?
It is recommended that children visit with an optometrist between 6-12 months of age. We especially recommend an exam before entering school (ages 4-5). Parents and teachers often have difficulty recognizing some visual problems because children don’t necessarily know how or what they’re supposed to be seeing, so it’s unlikely they will clearly describe visual problems.
WHAT ARE SOME SIGNS OF VISION PROBLEMS IN CHILDREN?
The following signs could indicate a vision problem:
- Sits close to the television or holds objects close to see them
- Has trouble with or avoids close work
- Complains of headaches, blurriness, double-vision, dizziness, or itching, burning, or scratchy eyes
- Squints, frowns, or rubs eyes frequently
- Covers one eye, or tilts or turns head to use one eye only
- Has trouble reading
DO SCHOOL VISION SCREENINGS COUNT AS AN ANNUAL EYE EXAM?
No, yet many parents rely on their school’s yearly vision tests. Unfortunately, most schools only test for visual acuity, and often times only at one distance. While this may be helpful in catching certain problems between doctors visits, this is not a substitute for a comprehensive eye exam given by a licensed eye doctor.
- How does excessive time in front of a computer or television affect my eyes?
Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) is a temporary condition resulting from focusing the eyes on a computer display for uninterrupted periods of time. Some symptoms of CVS include headaches, blurred vision, neck pain, fatigue, eye strain, dry, irritated eyes, and difficulty refocusing the eyes. These symptoms can be further aggravated by improper lighting conditions (ie. bright overhead lighting or glare) or air moving past the eyes. CVS has not been proven to cause any permanent damage to the eye.
CVS is caused by decreased blinking reflex while working long hours focusing on computer screens. The normal blink rate in human eyes is 16-20 per minute. Studies have shown that the blink rate decreases to as low as 6-8 blinks/minute for persons working on the computer screen. This leads to dry eyes. Also, the near focusing effort required for such long hours puts strain on ciliary muscles of the eye. This leads to a feeling of tiredness in the eyes after long hours of work.
- What insurance does Pioneer vision accept?
Pioneer Vision accepts many kinds of health insurance. Whether you have Medicare, managed care or private insurance, it’s likely that your insurance will cover all or some of the services you receive. It is difficult for us to predict what insurance benefits will be covered by individual insurers. Since you are responsible for charges (deductibles, coinsurance payments, etc.) not covered by insurance, we suggest that you check with your insurance carrier regarding the details of your coverage. If you are a member of a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO), you must receive prior authorization from your insurance company or carrier before making an appointment at Pioneer Vision.
Click here to view our accepted Insurance Providers.
- Are eye exams necessary if my vision seems normal?
Yes. It is important to undergo regular eye examinations in order to prevent and detect eye disease. Certain conditions, including glaucoma, do not manifest any symptoms until permanent damage has been done. Detecting these diseases early allows for more flexible treatment options and reduces the risk of further harm to your eyes.
- What should I know about glaucoma, its symptoms and treatment?
WHAT IS GLAUCOMA?
Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness in the United States. It results when pressure inside the eye increases to the point where it damages the optic nerve. Unfortunately, once glaucoma begins to affect vision, the damage is permanent. While there is no established cause of glaucoma, certain people are at a higher risk for developing the condition – including those with a family history of the disease, those suffering from diabetes, African-Americans and anyone over the age of forty.
Glaucoma tends to develop without warning, and usually does not cause any pain or significant vision loss until the disease has progressed. In some cases symptoms are present before significant damage to the optic nerve has occurred, including reddened, painful eyes, hazy or blurred vision, loss of peripheral vision and halos near lights.
WHAT TREATMENTS ARE AVAILABLE FOR GLAUCOMA?
After diagnosis, glaucoma can be successfully controlled and eye pressure can be decreased with prescription eye drops, laser therapy and surgery.
- What is macular degeneration and its symptoms?
WHAT IS MACULAR DEGENERATION?
The macula is the part of the retina near the back of the eye that is responsible for helping us recognize clear, sharp images. Macular degeneration refers to a progressive loss of central vision caused by deterioration of the macula.
MACULAR DEGENERATION SYMPTOMS
- Loss of color
- Difficulty seeing objects clearly
- Distorted, blurry vision
- Darkened or empty spots near the center of the visual field
CAN MACULAR DEGENERATION BE TREATED?
Thankfully, only about 10% of patients with macular degeneration have the “wet” form, which is the more sight-threatening form.
If detected early, the “wet” form of macular degeneration can be treated with a laser procedure. However, the “dry” form of macular degeneration has no existing treatment, but is less threatening.
- What are cataracts, their symptoms and treatment?
WHAT IS A CATARACT?
A cataract refers to a clouding of the normally clear lens of the eye. Cataracts cause blurred or hazy vision and are believed to be caused by a chemical change in the eye.
WHO IS AT RISK FOR DEVELOPING CATARACTS?
You may be at risk for developing cataracts if you meet any of the following criteria:
- You are more than 50 years of age
- You have sustained an eye injury
- You have a family history of cataracts
- You have a systemic condition such as diabetes
- You are a smoker
- You take certain prescription medications such as steroids
Yes. Cataracts are not painful, but it is common to experience the following:
- Blurry vision
- A feeling of “film” over the eyes
- Sensitivity to bright lights and glare
As cataracts progress, vision can be corrected with frequent changes in lens prescriptions. When significant vision impairment has occurred, the lenses clouded by cataracts can be replaced through lens implant surgery.
- What is Diabetic retinopathy?
Diabetic retinopathy is a known complication of diabetes that affects the retina, causing blurry vision, blind spots, or floaters. The retina is the lining toward the back of the eye that allows us to focus our vision. When the blood vessels that supply nourishment to the retina are weakened, they tend to leak or swell, causing vision loss and eventually, blindness.
With early intervention, diabetic retinopathy can be controlled; however, any damage to the retina is irreversible.
- What are "flashes" and "floaters"?
Floaters refer to visual symptoms like circles, dots, lines, or cobwebs that “float” through vision when the eye is moving. Floaters commonly develop during and after middle age, and occur when imperfections develop in the clear vitreous gel of the eye. These imperfections result in shadows across the retina, the portion of the eye responsible for seeing clear, sharp images.
Floaters (with or without flashes of light) can be symptomatic of serious eye damage, and are sometimes associated with torn or detached retinas. If you have noticed floaters or flashes in your vision, please contact Dr. Fell to schedule an exam as soon as possible.
- What should I know about laser vision correction and is it right for me?
IS LASER VISION CORRECTION PAINFUL?
No. LASIK and ASA-PRK patients have their eyes numbed with eye drops prior to laser eye surgery. There are no needles or shots to prepare for treatment and during the surgery there is no pain. Patients may experience some discomfort following surgery, including swelling, but this can be managed with medication.
WHAT KINDS OF RISKS ARE ASSOCIATED WITH LASER EYE SURGERY?
Complications following laser eye surgery are rare. Most side effects will disappear with time, and the risk of permanent vision problems is less than one percent. During a consultation at Pioneer Vision, patients can find out more about the risks of surgery and discuss any concerns they may have.
HOW DO I FIND OUT IF LASER EYE SURGERY IS RIGHT FOR ME?
The easiest way to find out if laser eye surgery is right for you is to visit our office for a comprehensive surgical screening. Your screening will take about one hour. During the appointment, we will examine your eyes to determine the best treatment for your vision problems. If you are a good candidate for the surgery, we will help you schedule an appointment with a surgeon.
WILL I STILL NEED READING GLASSES AFTER LASER EYE SURGERY?
Patients over the age of 40 who need reading glasses are generally suffering from a condition called presbyopia (a hardening of the natural lens of the eye) that makes it difficult to change focus for reading. When those patients undergo LASIK to correct refractive error (hyperopia, myopia, or astigmatism), they may still require reading glasses when they develop presbyopia.