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The compassion you deserve.

What are the differences between an ophthalmologist, an optometrist and an optician?

  • Ophthalmologists provide comprehensive eye care that includes medical, surgical, and optical care. Ophthalmologists must complete four years of premedical college, four years of medical school, one year of internship, and a three year residency of medical and surgical training in eye care. Ophthalmologists provide surgical and medical eye care, including performing comprehensive medical eye examinations, diagnosing diseases and disorders of the eye, and using the appropriate medical, surgical, and laser procedures necessary for treatment.
  • Optometrists are trained in eye care and their practice primarily involves performing eye exams and vision tests, prescribing and dispensing corrective lenses, detecting certain eye abnormalities, and prescribing medications for some eye diseases. The optometric education consists of four years of undergraduate college followed by four years in an optometry school. Optometrists are licensed to diagnose and treat eye conditions, but they’re not licensed to perform surgical eye treatments in most states.
  • An optician usually has a combination of college (or two years of opticianry school) and on-the-job training. An optician is trained to fit and dispense eyeglasses or contact lenses based upon a prescription from a licensed ophthalmologist or optometrist. An optician specializes in fitting glasses and is knowledgeable in the latest lens materials, coatings, and finishing techniques for eyeglasses. An optician also can help in choosing frames that are right for different facial shapes and coloring.
  • All three specialties have a role in helping you achieve your best visual outcomes. Zieker Eye works closely with many area optometry practices in order to best serve our mutual patients.

When should an adult with no risk factors for eye disease be examined?

Experts recommend that eye exams for adults are performed on the following basis, unless otherwise advised by a physician:

  • Patients between the ages of 20 to 39 should have an eye exam every three to five years.
  • Patients between the ages of 40 to 64 should have an eye exam every one to two years.
  • Patients 65 years of age or older should have an eye exam annually, even with no symptoms present.
  • High risk adults should be seen annually regardless of age; high risk includes, but is not limited to:
    • People with diabetes
    • People with elevated blood pressure
    • People with glaucoma or family history of glaucoma or other eye disease

Damage can occur to the eye before vision loss is noticed. Being proactive and getting annual eye exams may help prevent vision loss before it occurs. Do not wait until vision loss is noticed before scheduling your annual exam.

Why do I need to be dilated?

Pupil dilation during an eye exam is very important in revealing the status of your optic nerve and retina, and is critical in aiding in the prevention and treatment of eye conditions that could potentially lead to vision loss. When your pupil is small, an eye doctor may see your optic nerve and macula, but the view is limited. In order to see the entire retina, the pupil must be dilated. This is achieved through the use of eye drops. They typically take about 15-30 minutes to fully dilate the pupils, depending on an individual’s response to the medication, and typically take 2-6 hours to wear off. Most dilated people are comfortable driving while wearing sunglasses. 

How does the eye work?

When you take a picture, the lens in the front of the camera allows light through, and focuses that light on the film that covers the back inside wall of the camera. When the light hits the film, a picture is taken. The eye works in much the same way. The front parts of the eye (the cornea, pupil and lens) are clear and allow light to pass through. The light also passes through the large space in the center of the eye called the vitreous cavity. The vitreous cavity is filled with a clear, jelly-like substance called the vitreous or vitreous gel. The light is focused by the cornea and the lens onto a thin layer of tissue called the retina, which covers the back inside wall of the eye. The retina is like the film in a camera. It is the seeing tissue of the eye. When the focused light hits the retina, a “picture” is taken. Messages about this picture are then sent to the brain through the optic nerve. This is how we see.

What does 20/20 vision mean?

A patient with 20/20 vision is able to see what the “normal” human eye can see from 20 feet away. This is normal vision and does not require a person to use contact lenses or glasses to improve their vision.  In comparison, 20/40vision means that the patient sees at 20 feet what a person with “normal” vision sees at 40 feet.

What is astigmatism?

Astigmatism is a refractive error that is a result of an irregular curve of the cornea, or the front part of the eye. This uneven curvature can cause your vision to appear blurred up close and afar. Blurred vision due to astigmatism can usually be improved with corrective lenses or contact lenses. It may also be corrected during cataract surgery through the use of specialized intraocular lenses and/or the use of a laser as part of the surgical process.

What is nearsightedness?

Nearsightedness, also known as myopia, is blurred distant vision. This hereditary condition is usually discovered in childhood and can progress as one ages, thus requiring a stronger prescription.It is usually correctable with glasses, contact lenses or, in some cases, refractive surgery.

What is farsightedness?

Farsightedness is also referred to as hyperopia. This eye condition causes up-close objects to appear blurry. This is most common among children and may improve as a person ages. It is usually correctable with glasses, contact lenses or, in some cases, refractive surgery.

Why have I gradually found it harder to read without glasses?

The ability to focus on near objects decreases steadily with age and is referred to as presbyopia. Presbyopia is a natural aging of the lens. It is usually near the age of 40, when glasses or bifocals are prescribed to correct this condition.

What are cataracts?

Cataracts are a clouding of the lens of the eye causing blurred vision. Research shows that 50 percent of all Americans will develop cataracts by age 80, per the National Eye Institute.  Dr. Christopher Zieker specializes in surgical removal of cataracts, including laser-assisted cataract surgery, and is able to restore your vision using advanced technology intraocular lenses.

Why does my eye twitch?

Mild twitching of the eyelid is a common phenomenon. Although these involuntary contractions of muscles may be annoying, they are almost always temporary and completely harmless. The medical name for this kind of twitching is ocular myokymia. Ophthalmologists often are asked what causes the twitching and what can be done to stop it. Lack of sleep, too much caffeine or increased stress seem to be root causes. Often, very gently massaging your eye will relieve the symptoms. Usually, the twitch will disappear after catching up on your sleep.

Is pink-eye contagious?

Yes, viral conjunctivitis (pink-eye) is very common and is extremely contagious. Avoid touching eyes with your hands, wash hands frequently, do not share towels, and avoid work, school or daycare activities for a least five days or as long as discharge is present. You should have an exam with an eye doctor to confirm the diagnosis as it is often misdiagnosed.

Are sunglasses good for my eyes?

There is a benefit to wearing UV protective lenses–wearing them may slow the progression of cataract formation. Clear lenses with UV protection may offer greater protection than dark lenses because they allow the eyes to be exposed to more light. This causes greater constriction of the pupil which lets less light enter the eyes.

Will working at a computer screen hurt my eyes?

There isn’t any evidence that a computer screen is harmful to a person’s eyes in terms of long-term visual health. However, staring at a computer screen for too long can cause your eyes to become fatigued and/or dry. This makes it important for you to take occasional breaks to rest your eyes.

Will reading in dim light hurt my eyes?

No. There hasn’t been any evidence found that suggests that dim light can damage the eyes.

Will carrots help maintain good vision?

Yes, carrots contain a small amount of Vitamin A, which is highly beneficial toward maintaining good vision. Vitamin A is also found in many other foods, including milk, egg yolk, cheese, and broccoli.

What are your hours?

Monday – Friday 8:00am – 12:00pm and 1:00pm -5:00pm. We are closed on major holidays as well.

Do you take vision insurance or medical insurance?

As a medical practice we are only allowed to take your medical insurance. Vision plans may be used at optometric practices. Medicalservices from an ophthalmologistare normally coveredby your health insurance policy. Vision insurance is designed to cover only updates in glasses and contact lens prescriptions and a health wellness screening. It does not normally cover any other issues with the eye, such as allergies, dryness or infections. Vision insurance also does not normally cover any treatment for headaches, cataracts, macular degeneration, or glaucoma or diabetic check-ups.

What do I need to take to each appointment?

Please bring the co-pay as dictated by your insurance company, your driver’s license (or valid picture ID) and your insurance card/Medicare card to each visit. Please also bring a list of current medications and any glasses or contacts if you wear them.

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