Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the Difference between an Optician, an Optometrist, and an Ophthalmologist?
Opticians are not doctors. They are specialists trained to sell, make and fit eyeglasses, sunglasses, and specialty eye wear based on a prescription written by an optometrist or ophthalmologist. Kathy Wingert and Steve Guild are opticians who are experienced and trained to perform an expert analysis and fulfillment of your visual needs based on your prescription and your individual lifestyle needs.
Optometrists are Doctors of Optometry (OD). Your eye doctor, Ken Van Amerongen, is an Optometrist. He examines eyes for both vision and health problems, prescribes glasses, and fits contact lenses. He can also prescribe many ophthalmic medications to treat various conditions and diseases of the eye. Dr. Van also participates in co-management of pre- and post-operative care in the event you have eye surgery, such as laser vision correction or cataract surgery. ODs must complete a minimum of four years of post-graduate optometry school for their doctorate.
Ophthalmologists are medical doctors (MD) who specialize in eye surgery. Like an optometrist, an ophthalmologist can also administer eye exams, treat disease, prescribe medication, and write prescriptions for eyeglasses and contact lenses. In those cases your optometrist normally will be a less-expensive option compared to the ophthalmologist.
Why are eye exams important?
Routine eye exams are important whatever your age or overall health. Regular eye exams can provide early detection of vision problems, eye diseases, and other general health related problems before they become a serious issue. Based on the results of your comprehensive eye exam, Dr. Van will determine a treatment plan, if needed, for your eye health needs.
What is ocular disease?
Ocular disease is present when there are problems in the eye, eyelids, eyelashes, or lacrimal (tear) system. Dr. Van Amerongen is able to diagnose any evidence of disease in the eye or in related structures, such as the brain. Therefore, it is important to receive a yearly eye exam so that problems can be detected early.
I have 20/20 vision. Do I still need to have a regular eye exam?
Yes! Many eye diseases or disorders have nothing to do with your general vision, and have no obvious symptoms. It is best to detect any condition and initiate treatment as early as possible to avoid or minimize possible visual impairment. Eye exams may save your eyesight!
What are vision screenings?
Vision screenings are limited eye tests that help identify potential vision problems. Screenings are brief vision tests performed by the school nurse, a pediatrician, and other health care providers, but who are not fully trained as eye examiners. They can miss important vision problems that require treatment. While screenings are useful, you should have a regular comprehensive eye exam performed by an optometrist, a eye doctor who has specialized training and equipment.
Will my pupils have to be dilated? Are there side effects?
Your eyes may need to be dilated during the course of the eye exam to more thoroughly examine the health of your eye. Dilation is a safe procedure and you should experience little inconvenience and discomfort. For a few hours after dilation, most people experience few side effects other than temporarily blurred near-vision (typically, you will see well enough to drive safely) and a sensitivity to light. During that time you may not be able to do work that requires eye coordination such as reading or sewing.
Why will I need to wear glasses?
- Glasses or contact lenses are designed to compensate for vision problems caused by the eye’s imperfections. Usually the shape of the cornea and the eye are not perfect and the image on the retina is out-of-focus or distorted causing a refractive error.
There are four primary types of refractive errors: myopia, hyperopia, presbyopia, and astigmatism.
Myopia, or nearsightedness, is when you have more difficulty seeing distant objects as clearly as near objects.
Hyperopia, or farsightedness, is when you have more difficulty seeing near objects as clearly as distant objects.
Presbyopia is the gradual loss of your eyes’ ability to focus actively on nearby objects. It’s a not-so-subtle reminder that you’ve reached middle age. The inability of the eyes to focus is a natural but annoying part of aging.
Astigmatism is a distortion of the image on the retina caused by irregularities in the cornea or lens of the eye.
Combinations of myopia and astigmatism, or hyperopia and astigmatism, and presbyopia are common vision problems that can be corrected with new eyeglasses or contact lenses, or alternatively with laser surgery.