Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a driver?
We strongly recommend that you bring a driver as your eyes will be dilated. Dilation causes sensitivity to light and will cause your near vision to become blurry. Dilation usually lasts between 3-6 hours, but can last for up to 24 hours.
Do you accept my insurance?
We accept Medicare (including Medicare replacements), Medicaid, and most commercial insurances, including Humana, Aetna & Blue Cross Blue Shield. If there is any question about your insurance, please contact our office and we will gladly call to verify that we are in-network, or you may call the number listed on the back of your insurance card.
Why do I need my eyes dilated?
The retina is the nerve layer located at the back of the eye responsible for sensing light and sending images to the brain through the optic nerve. In order to see the retina, the physician must look through the pupil at the front of the eye, which constricts under bright light. Dilation keeps the pupil from constricting so that the back of the eye can be examined thoroughly in order to diagnose retinal disease.
Can you prescribe new glasses?
As retina specialists, we do not have the equipment in our office to prescribe glasses. However, a summary of your visit will be sent to your referring optometrist or ophthalmologist to help them provide you with the best refraction available.
What is macular degeneration?
Macular degeneration is the deterioration of the central portion of the retina, the nerve tissue at the back of the eye that senses light and sends images to the brain. The central portion of the retina, known as the macula, is responsible for central vision, and it allows us to distinguish fine detail, recognize faces and colors, and perform certain activities such as reading and driving.
Macular degeneration causes deterioration of central vision, but does not typically affect peripheral vision. While it is very unlikely that you will become blind from macular degeneration, it is an incurable eye disease, and is the leading cause of vision loss for Americans over 55 years of age.
90% of cases of macular degeneration are atrophic, or dry. The dry form of macular degeneration can cause dimming or distortion of central vision. In the advanced stages of dry macular degeneration this can progress to central blind spots. It is very important that those with dry macular degeneration monitor their vision regularly.
In 10% of cases of macular degeneration, abnormal blood vessels grow underneath the macula. These blood vessels leak fluid and blood into the layers of the retina. This is known as wet or neovascular macular degeneration and can cause distortion and loss of central vision. Treatment is available for wet macular degeneration, but if left untreated can lead to irreversible scarring and vision loss. If you experience any change in vision it is pertinent that you see an ophthalmologist promptly.
What is diabetic retinopathy?
Diabetic retinopathy results from damage to the blood vessels in the retina. The retina is the nerve layer in the back of the eye that senses light and sends images from the eye to the brain through the optic nerve. Diabetic eye damage occurs because of long-standing high blood-sugar levels. It is very important for diabetics to receive a diabetic eye exam at least once a year. If you have had a change in vision and are diabetic, you should see an ophthalmologist promptly. Even if you don’t notice changes in your vision, all diabetics must have an annual check-up for diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy can result in painless, progressive blindness. Diabetic retinopathy can be present without symptoms and early treatment is the best prevention of blindness.
What is a retinal detachment?
The retina is the nerve layer at the back of the eye that senses light and sends images from they eye to the brain through the optic nerve. When the retina pulls away from the normal position lining the back of the eye, this is called a retinal detachment. A retinal detachment is very serious and can cause permanent vision loss if left untreated. The most common cause of retinal detachment is vitreous degeneration, a side effect of aging. A retinal detachment causes painless, progressive loss of vision. Symptoms of retinal detachment include flashes of light, new onset floaters, and shadow or curtain over field of vision. A retinal detachment is considered a medical emergency.