What to Expect at Your First Visit
Your initial visit to our office may take 1 to 3 hours, depending upon the type of retinal problem you have and the need for specialized tests such as fluorescein angiography, ophthalmic ultrasound, and optical coherence tomography. To examine your retina it will be necessary to place dilating drops in your eyes. If possible, it is best to bring someone with you to your visit to drive you home. You will first encounter our front desk staff, who will assist you in checking in and sorting out authorization and insurance information. You will then meet one of our technical staff, who will obtain a medical and ophthalmic history, check your vision, measure your eye pressure and dilate one or both eyes as appropriate. Your eye doctor will see you once your eyes are dilated and examine you with an ophthalmoscope. This allows us to see your retina in close detail and will help to determine what problem you might have. In some cases, special tests such as fluorescein angiography may be ordered. Many times we are able to obtain the angiogram within 20 to 30 minutes and make treatment decisions quickly. In some cases treatment such as lasers or injections may be done on the same day as your visit or be scheduled for a future date. For some retinal disorders, immediate treatment is needed and will be performed. Because the retina is subject to diseases that sometimes require emergency treatment, we often need to see unscheduled patients. We make every effort to provide expedient care to all of our patients, but, in the case of emergency, we treat those with the greatest need as quickly as possible.
In addition to performing examinations, diagnostic tests, and consultations, all of our offices are outfitted to perform in-office therapeutic procedures. Equipment is available to perform retinal laser surgery, injections, and photodynamic therapy as well as other treatments that may be necessary for your condition. In most cases, these treatments require only topical (eye drop) or local anesthesia.
We believe that quality care begins with open communication. We promise to speak candidly with you about our diagnosis and recommendations, any alternative treatments, and any symptoms present that may require further treatment.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How does the eye work?
When you take a picture with a camera, the lens in the front of the camera allows light to pass through and focus that light on the film that covers the back side of the camera. A picture is taken when the light hits the film. Our eyes work in a very similar way. The front of the eye (the cornea, pupil and lens) is clear, which allows light to pass through. The cornea and lens of the eye focuses the light on the back wall of the eye, the retina. Like the film, the retina is the “seeing” tissue of the eye, sending messages to the brain through the optic nerve, allowing us to see.
When should an adult’s eyes be examined?
It all begins with an idea. Maybe you want to launch a business. Maybe you want to turn a hobby into something more. Or maybe you have a creative project to share with the world. Whatever it is, the way you tell your story online can make all the difference.
- Ages 20-39: Every three to five years.
- Ages 40-65: Every two to four years.
- Ages 65 and older: Every one to two years.
What is a Vitreoretinal specialist?
Vitreoretinal specialists treat eye diseases that affect the back of the eye, such as retinal detachment, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy. Our surgeons have received a medical degree and completed a residency in ophthalmology and a retina fellowship to provide patients the highest quality eye care.
What is the vitreous?
The vitreous is a thick gel-like substance that fills most (80%) of the eye. It helps maintain the round shape of the eye. It contains fibers that are attached to the retina.
What are floaters?
Floaters are small specks of debris that move in and out of your field of vision.
What is a retinal detachment?
Retinal detachment occurs when the retina separates or pulls away from the back of the eye. This can happen when vitreous liquid seeps through a small tear or hole in the retina and builds up under the retina. As vitreous liquid accumulates under the retina, it can detach from the blood vessels that provide oxygen and nutrients. The risk of permanent vision loss increases as the detachment remains untreated. Floaters are a common symptom of retinal detachment.
Who are at risk for retinal detachments?
People over 40 are more likely to experience retinal detachment. Previous retinal detachment, a family history of retinal detachment, and extreme nearsightedness can also put you at a higher risk.
How are vitreo-retinal problems treated?
Retinal tears and detachment, eye disease and trauma can cause vision loss. Fortunately, surgery and lasers can be used to treat most conditions before vision gets worse.
What is diabetic retinopathy?
Diabetic retinopathy is an eye disease that damages the blood vessels in the retina. People with Type I and Type II diabetes can experience diabetic retinopathy. In advanced stages, diabetic retinopathy can cause blurry vision, floaters, vision loss and ultimately blindness. Diabetics can prevent diabetic retinopathy by managing their blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar.
What is Age-Related Macular Degeneration?
Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a breakdown of the macula, which is located in the center of the retina, and provides sharp central vision that is necessary for reading, driving and other important tasks. There are two forms of AMD: Wet and Dry. Dry AMD is more common. With this condition, the macula deteriorates, causing blurry vision. Wet AMD is more damaging and can lead to serious vision loss.