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Asking the right questions is key to taking care of your eyes. Below are some of the most frequently-asked questions that our doctors and medical staff hear from patients. You can find more information on common eye conditions on our eye care services pages – or schedule a consultation with your physician today!

Eye exams

For more information, visit our General Eye Exams page.

How often should I have an eye exam?

It depends on your age. The doctors at Oregon Eye Specialists recommend:

  • Babies and children 3 and under: Eye check at routine pediatrician visits
  • Children ages 3 to 6: Eye exam every 1 to 2 years
  • Children 6 and up: As needed or every 5 to 10 years
  • In your 20s: At least 1 exam
  • In your 30s: At least 2 exams
  • Adults 40 to 54: Every 2 to 4 years
  • Adults 55 to 64: Every 1 to 3 years
  • Adults 65 and up: Every 1 to 2 years

If you have a family history of eye problems or a diagnosed eye disease, you need an exam at least once a year. If you have a medical condition that puts you at risk for eye problems, such as diabetes, you should also have a yearly exam.

When you see your eye doctor, ask how often you should have an exam. Regular eye examinations are the best way to protect your vision and your active life.

Contact Oregon Eye Specialists today for an eye exam at one of our convenient locations. 

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.

Contact Oregon Eye Specialists today for an eye exam at one of our convenient locations.

My eye doctor says I need a refraction. What does that mean, and does it cost extra?

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.

A refraction typically doesn’t cost extra. However, many insurance companies, including Medicare, simply don’t pay this regular charge. If you pay at your appointment, we discount the fee 20%.

Common eye health conditions

What is myopia (nearsightedness)?

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.

What is hyperopia (farsightedness)?

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.

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.

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.

LASIK and other Refractive Surgeries

For more detailed information on LASIK and refractive surgeries, visit our LASIK page.

Am I a good LASIK candidate?

Being seen for a full refractive consultation is the only way to know for sure. You could be a good candidate for LASIK if:

  • You wear glasses or contact lenses for nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism.
  • You want to reduce or eliminate your dependence on glasses or contacts.
  • You meet certain criteria for eye health and vision.
  • A qualified refractive surgeon thinks you are a good candidate.

Who is not a good LASIK candidate?

You probably aren’t a good candidate if:

  • You don’t want any degree of risk. LASIK and other refractive procedures are surgery. Every surgical procedure involves some uncertainty, even if it is safe and usually gives good results.
  • Your prescription for glasses or contacts changes often (once a year or more) or you’re pregnant or under 18. If your eyes are changing due to normal growth, hormone changes or an eye condition, refractive surgery isn’t your best option.
  • You have certain medical conditions, Sjogren’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis or herpes virus infection. Talk to your Oregon Eye Specialists physician to learn more.
  • You’ve had previous eye surgeries like retinal detachment or another refractive procedure.
  • You do sports involving the head and face, such as boxing, wrestling or some martial arts. In which case, PRK may be a good alternative.

An Oregon Eye Specialists physician can provide individual consultation and tell you if you’re a good candidate for LASIK or another refractive surgery. Contact Oregon Eye Specialists to make an appointment at your closest location.

I’ve done my homework, but I’m still not sure if LASIK is right for me. Can you help?

Yes. Doing research on LASIK and other refractive surgeries is a good start, but there’s no substitute for a consultation with an experienced refractive team.  A personal consultation will give you the information you need to make an informed decision. Learn more about our refractive surgeons, Dr. Tim Denman and Dr. Martin Balish, and Dr. Shari Mace.

I’ve heard LASIK is an elective surgery. What does that mean?

Elective surgery is surgery you can choose to have. You want the surgery – for example, to remove a bunion from your foot – but it isn’t absolutely necessary.

LASIK and other refractive eye surgeries are elective procedures because there are other ways to correct vision. You may want (elect) LASIK or another refractive surgery so you can see better without glasses or contacts, but it’s not a medical necessity for most people.

Medical insurance pays for some elective surgery, but doesn’t usually cover LASIK or other refractive eye surgery. Oregon Eye Specialists’ LASIK team is happy to talk with you about our financing options and payment arrangements.

Intraocular Lenses (IOLs)

For more information on intraocular lenses, visit our Cataracts page.

What is my IOL made of?

Acrylic is the most common IOL material, but silicone or other advanced lens materials are sometimes used. Each lens material is used for a specific purpose. Based on your eye, your health, and other factors, your doctor will choose the best IOL for you. At Oregon Eye Specialists, our doctors are aware of the latest developments in IOLs and other eye care technology and are experts in selecting and placing IOLs.

How long will the IOL last?

Your IOL is permanent – it can’t wear out.

Can my eye reject the IOL?

No. The IOL is not living tissue, so your body cannot reject it.

Looking for more eye care information? Explore our Eye Care Services page for more detailed information about eye exams and common conditions.

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