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Optometry FAQ: Your Top Questions Answered

FAQ

What is an Optometrist?

An Optometrist is a health care professional for the eye that is trained and licensed to diagnose and treat diseases and disorders of the eye and visual system. Optometrists examine, diagnose, treat, and manage diseases, injuries, and disorders of the visual system, the eye, and associated structures. They are also trained to identify related systemic conditions affecting the eye.

Is an Optometrist a real doctor?

Although an Optometrist is not considered a “medical” doctor that went to medical school, they are still considered physicians of the eye and are most certainly a doctor. Optometrists are educated and licensed to treat eye-related diseases and injuries and may write prescriptions (both oral and topical) when needed.

What is the difference between an Optometrist, Ophthalmologist and Optician?

An Optometrist is a healthcare provider that completed a four-year Doctor of Optometry professional degree following four years of an undergraduate pre-professional degree. An Optometrist is your frontline eyecare provider for annual eye wellness exams. This comprehensive eye exam includes checking your eyes for a prescription and conducting a health screening of the eye. In the event you experience any kind of change in your vision or an eye related injury or infection, an Optometrist is your first stop. 

An Ophthalmologist is a medical doctor that completed four years of medical school and then went on to do a residency in Ophthalmology. Ophthalmologists are trained to treat and diagnose complex diseases of the eyes and to perform surgeries when necessary. When an Optometrist detects an eye condition outside their scope of practice, they will refer you to the necessary ophthalmologist for the continued care of your eye health.

An Optician is the person who aids you in selecting your frame and lenses when it comes time to order your glasses. An Optician is not a doctor and is not authorized to make changes in a patient’s prescription. They are however, trained to take measurements for your lenses and guide you in the right direction when selecting lens upgrade options such as anti-reflective coating and tints.  

At what age should a child have their first eye exam?

Many parents are surprised to learn that a child should have their first eye exam with a pediatric optometrist or ophthalmologist at six months of age. This exam is a screening for congenital eye conditions and/or major vision defects that could result in the visual system not developing properly without early intervention. This eye exam is of course very different from the type of eye exam an adult receives.

What if I see fine through my glasses and/or contact lenses, do I still need an annual eye exam?

Yes! There are two parts to your annual comprehensive eye exam: 1) Correcting your vision, 2) Ensuring good eye health. Think of your yearly eye exam as an annual physical for your eyes. Annual eye exams are necessary in being proactive with your health regardless of whether you see perfectly or not.

How long is an eyeglass prescription valid for?

In the state of Arizona, the length of time an eyeglass prescription is valid is up to the doctor's discretion based on the health of the eye. In most cases, Dr. Krywko validates eyeglass prescriptions for one year.

How long is a contact lens prescription valid for?

In the state of Arizona, a contact lens prescription is valid for one year.

Why do I require a Contact Lens Fitting each year if I am happy with my current contact lenses?

A contact lens is a medical device that will cause damage to the eye if used improperly or fits the eye incorrectly. With the sensitive nature of our eyes, it is very important that your Optometrist checks to make sure that your contact lenses are not only the correct power to ensure great vision, but a comfortable AND healthy fit for your eyes.

What is a Dilated Fundus Exam (DFE) and why is it necessary?

A Dilated Fundus Exam (DFE) is when the doctor enlarges your pupils with drops to attain a better view inside of the eye. This is the only technique that allows for Dr. Meharry to see all areas of the retina and to detect or rule-out tumors, retinal tears or detachments and other retinal related disorders.

How often should I have my eye dilated?

As a general rule of thumb, it is recommended that young and healthy individuals have their eyes dilated at their very first eye exam and then every 2-5 years following that. If diagnosed with Hypertension or Diabetes, or are currently being followed/treated for a condition that requires close monitoring, gold standard of care is that your eyes are dilated annually and sometimes even more frequently if the doctor determines this necessary. There are many other factors that play into the importance of how often you should have your eyes dilated and this is an important conversation to have with your eye doctor.

What are the side effects of a Dilated Fundus Exam (DFE)? How long does it last?

Because the dilating drops enlarge your pupils, most patients find themselves light sensitive for 2 - 6 hours following the dilation procedure. If you do not have your sunglasses with you, Dr. Krywko will provide you with temporary sunglasses to aid with the discomfort of the light sensitivity you may experience. Additionally, your focusing system is fully relaxed and thus making it very difficult to see things at near for the first couple of hours depending on your prescription. 

Can I drive when my eyes are dilated?

Dr. Krywko recommends that you avoid driving for at least 2 hours after your dilated fundus exam. Some patients are not fit to drive for up to 6 hours. Because of this, is it suggested that you arrange to have a driver for when your eyes are dilated.

If I’ve had LASIK in the past, do I still need an annual eye exam?

Absolutely! There are two parts to an annual comprehensive eye exam: 1) Correcting your vision , 2) Ensuring good eye health. Think of your yearly eye exam as an annual physical for your eyes. Annual eye exams are necessary in being proactive with your health and preventative medicine regardless of whether you see perfectly or not.

If I have an eye-related medical issue such as an infection or an injury, can Dr. Krywko take care of me?

Absolutely! Dr. Krywko is a medical Optometrist that is licensed and trained in the management and treatment of Ocular Disease.

What if I have an eye-related infection or injury after normal business hours?

You can email Dr. Krywko anytime of day and she will respond as quickly as possible and accommodate you with an after-hours emergency office visit when necessary. In the unlikelihood that you do not hear back from her within 30 minutes and your eye related problem is urgent, it is then recommended that you visit an urgent care facility or go to ER. When you email Dr. Krywko, be sure to provide a brief description of the problem you are experiencing and a phone number in which Dr. Krywko can call you back.

Email: [email protected].

What if Dr. Krywko is not a direct provider for my vision or medical insurance?

If we do not accept your insurance, we will do our absolute best to accommodate you with an Out-of-Network discount. We will also provide you with the documentation necessary for reimbursement with your insurance company if/when applicable.

What is near-sightedness (Myopia)?

Nearsighted individuals are able to view near objects clearly and comfortably meanwhile distant objects appear blurry and out of focus. This eye condition is most commonly a result of the eye being “longer” than normal.

What is far-sightedness (Hyperopia)?

People who are farsighted see things at a distance more easily than they can up close. Farsighted individuals often times need glasses or contact lenses to help them see near objects clearly and comfortably. This eye condition is most commonly a result of the eye being “shorter” than normal. 

What is Presbyopia? What causes it?

Presbyopia is an age-related condition in which the eye's focusing system starts to lose its flexibility thus making it more difficult to read and see fine details up close. This change begins to occur in your late 30's and is usually symptomatic by your early 40's. You near vision will become increasingly more difficult as the focusing system of your eyes continues to lose their flexiblity. Fortunately this is easily corrected for with glasses. In some cases over-the-counter glasses will meet your needs, however it is important to discuss this with your Optometrist because not all patients are good candidates for these glasses. Your Optometrist will also guide you in knowing which power would work best for you in the event you are a candidate for over-the-counter readers (also referred to as "Cheaters").

What is Astigmatism?

An astigmatism is a condition in which the cornea is not perfectly round like a basketball and shaped more like a football. Astigmatism is very common and the blur it causes is easily corrected with glasses and/or contact lenses.

I have Astigmatism, am I still a candidate for Contact Lenses?

Most definitely! There have been many advances in both rigid and soft contact lenses over the past decade. Dr. Krywko is able to meet most of her patients needs with contact lenses, astigmatism or not.

Can Dr. Krywko diagnose systemic conditions such as Diabetes and Hypertension?

Although Dr. Krywko in not licensed to diagnose conditions such as Diabetes and Hypertenstion, there are many common ocular changes related to these conditions (among others) that Dr. Krywko is trained to recognize. Should any changes in your eyes indicate the potential for a systemic condition, Dr. Krywko will refer you to the necessary physician for further testing and diagnosis.