Friday, July 6, 2012

What to expect from your first eye exam at Carillon Vision Care

 I have come to find that many of my new patients are surprised at the depth and "comprehensiveness"  of their first eye exams at my office. Below, I have outlined a basic guide so prospective new patients know what to expect.

Your visual system and the anatomy of your eyes are more complicated than most people think. Therefore a comprehensive eye examination by a medical eye doctor should not only evaluate the clarity of your vision, but also determine how healthy all of the parts of your eye are. To this end, your examination will consist of several tests and procedures. Please be aware that your exam may take more than an hour, although most of our exams are completed within 45 minutes.

            Bring an updated list of current prescription medications, non-prescription medications, eye drops, and supplements or vitamins. If worn, please bring your last pair of prescription glasses and/or contact lenses, as our doctors will be able to inform you if anything has changed. Knowledge of your family history of any eye diseases is helpful, specifically histories of macular degeneration, glaucoma, or cataracts.

            When you arrive, please check in at the front desk. The office staff will copy any medical and vision insurance cards to keep on file and provide you with the necessary intake forms. These may be printed out online from our website and filled out in advance. We ask that you please arrive 15 minutes early if you plan on filling these out at the office.

            Your exam begins with a complete history of why you are here. All of your visual problems and potential issues are identified. Your medical and family history are reviewed.

            Next, your vision is evaluated with your present corrective lenses if applicable. A refraction will be performed to determine your optimal spectacle and/or contact lens correction (think “what’s clearer, 1 or 2?”). All options and the pros and cons of spectacle lens and contact lens designs and modalities are discussed. If applicable, the difference between your old and new corrective lenses is demonstrated.

The function and health of the eye muscles and eye motility is then examined. Depending on age or findings, depth perception and color vision may be assessed. Peripheral vision is examined, and your pupillary responses are checked.

The pressure inside of the eye, or intraocular pressure, is measured with the newest instrument available that requires no eye drops and does not involve an uncomfortable puff of air.           

Next, the eye physician examines the health of the eyes under a specialized high-magnification microscope known as a slit-lamp. You simply place your chin in the rest and forehead against the bar, and will see many bright lights as each individual structure is examined.

            Digital retinal photography is performed on all new patients age 6 and older. This specialized camera allows our physicians to not dilate most of our patients under the age of 60. Certain findings, health conditions, and complaints require dilation as a standard of care. Our physicians will inform you if this is needed at this time. Dilation will always be performed if requested. Neither the dilation nor digital photography cost the patient anything extra as they do at most other offices, as our doctors believe these are essential components of a completely thorough exam. The dilation or photography allows the physician to view the inside of the eye in its entirety. Your eyes may stay dilated for 3-5 hours during which your vision may be blurry and you will be sensitive to bright light. Disposable dark sunglasses for going outside will be provided. Most patients feel comfortable driving while dilated, but if you are unsure, we request you bring someone to the appointment so they may drive you home.
            Carillon offers a High-Definition 3D OCT, or Optical Coherence Tomography, examination for an additional charge. If this test is medically necessary, medical insurance is billed. The HD OCT is the most advanced ocular imaging instrument available in any Ophthalmology or Optometry practice, and can pick up early warning signs of common ocular diseases years before the diseases develop, allowing our doctors to intervene early or recommend preventative steps. The results are clearly explained to the patient by the doctor.

            If necessary, your physician may order additional testing to explore any abnormal or at-risk findings further. Sometimes the testing can be done on the same day, but you may be asked to return another day.

            All of your examination and testing results are entered into our state-of-the-art Electronic Medical Records, or EMR, system. A copy of all the information and findings from an initial mock exam is found on our website for your review. If the physician is watching the health of your eyes at the recommendation of another medical physician, a letter with all pertinent findings will be sent.

            At the conclusion of the exam and testing, the physician will discuss the overall health of the eyes. If you are having any problems with your eyes, the best treatment and management regimen is discussed.

            We thank you for interest in our practice and entrusting our staff and physicians with the care of your eyes and vision. Should you have any questions at all, we encourage you to email or call us at 847-657-8787.


Dr. Andrew Neukirch and the Optometric Physicians and Staff of Carillon Vision Care


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