Eye Care FAQs

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions patients have about their vision and general eye health issues. If you have any other questions, or would like to schedule an appointment, we would love to hear from you.

To learn more about cataracts, go here.

My vision is great. I have no problems. Is there any reason to have my vision checked?
Yes. Many serious eye diseases don’t cause symptoms until they have advanced enough to cause permanent damage. The only way to know your eyes are healthy is to schedule regular exams. Diagnosing problems early gives you the best possible vision – for life.
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What is myopia?
Myopia, also called nearsightedness, is difficulty seeing objects at a distance. It’s usually caused by variations in the shape of your eye or the curve of your cornea. For example, your eye might be longer than usual, shaped more like an oval football than a round soccer ball. Or your cornea (the clear tissue that covers the front of your eye) might curve enough to make you nearsighted.
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What is hyperopia?
Hyperopia, also called farsightedness, is a tendency to see better at a distance than up close. It’s usually caused by an eye that is flatter than usual, like a ball that is not completely round. It can also be caused by having a flatter cornea than usual. The cornea is the clear tissue at the front of your eye.

If you are farsighted, you might see well until your 30s or 40s. If you are very farsighted (severe hyperopia), your vision might be blurry up close, at a distance or both. With time, activities that require good vision up close, such as reading, usually become more difficult.
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What is presbyopia?
Presbyopia is difficulty reading or doing other activities that require good vision up close. Unlike myopia (nearsightedness) and hyperopia (farsightedness), presbyopia is not caused by variations in eye shape or corneal curve.

As you get older, the natural lens inside your eye hardens and doesn’t flex as easily when your eye muscles focus it. This makes reading and other close-up activities more difficult. Presbyopia usually happens after about age 40.
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What is astigmatism?
Astigmatism is an eye condition caused by an irregularly shaped cornea, the clear tissue that covers the front of your eye. It can also be caused by an irregularly shaped lens, the structure inside your eye that focuses light. The irregular shape of your lens or cornea can cause blurred or double vision, headaches and other symptoms. Astigmatism can affect your vision up close and at a distance.
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My eye doctor says I need a refraction. What does that mean?
A refraction is the examination an ophthalmologist (eye M.D.) or optometrist (O.D.) uses to measure the amount of vision correction you need. If you wear glasses or contacts or are interested in refractive surgery, this exam is essential. Your doctor needs to evaluate your vision carefully to write an accurate prescription for corrective lenses or plan refractive surgery.

If you don’t wear glasses or contacts, you might still need a refraction to determine how well you can see. Your doctor uses an instrument with built-in corrective lenses to test your vision. Reasons to do this include:

  • Your eyes change as you get older. Even if you’ve never worn glasses or contacts, your doctor might discover you actually see better with corrective lenses now.
  • Some medical conditions affect your eyes and vision. If you have one of these conditions, your doctor needs to do a refraction as part of a complete eye exam.

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Does a refraction cost extra?
Many insurance companies, including Medicare, do not pay for the refraction and the patient is responsible for payment.
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How often should I have an eye exam?
Eye exams are recommended periodically, with the interval differing for various age groups. In the first three years of infancy, a child should have vision checked along with normal pediatric checkups. Between the ages of three and six (the most crucial period of eye development) an eye exam should be scheduled every year or two. After that period, until adulthood, exams should be scheduled as necessary.

For example, for people with a family history of eye problems, those monitoring a diagnosed eye disease, or those with certain high risk diseases such as diabetes, it is recommended that exams should be performed at least once a year. Regular eye exams are the best way to keep you seeing your world clearly.
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