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What to expect

Checking in

All patients need to check in at the front desk with our friendly receptionists. Each doctor has a sign-in sheet, so please make sure you are using the correct form.  Bring your picture ID and insurance cards. If you are a new patient or have not had a recent visit with us, you will be required to fill out a patient history form, a patient information form, and sign a HIPAA notice.  

A reminder for all patients: the number of the patients in the waiting area do not necessarily reflect the wait times for your doctor.  Patients often bring family members to assist them.  At any given time, patients are here for several different services including optical, the 2 ophthalmologists, and clinical research.  

Comprehensive Exams

Most new patients and patients having annual exams will receive a complete eye exam.  This can take up to 2 hours for all the tests to be completed so be sure to schedule your appointment accordingly.  Also, you may want to add time to pick out glasses.  We will validate your parking if you order eyeglasses.

We use a variety of personnel to examine patients as efficiently as possible.  We will try to explain each procedure, but feel free to ask additional questions to any of the staff.  

First, a technician will bring you into a room for what is called a screening.  You will be asked questions such as the reason for your visit, what types of medications (including eye drops) you are currently using, and your medical history.  You will also be questioned about any eye problems you may be having.  It is helpful to know how long you have experienced your symptoms, how severe they are, how long an episode lasts, the possible cause, and any treatment received for them.  

You will then be asked to read the Snellen chart. At the top of the chart is a big letter E. This approximates your visual acuity, measured against the standard of 20/20 ("normal vision"). And if the patient does not read letters, we also have picture charts available.  

Next, the technician will do a few quick tests to further assess visual ability. The first test is to check your peripheral vision. Then he or she will evaluate your eye movement. This checks to see if your ocular muscles can make your eye focus on a particular point without moving your head. Then the technician will look at your pupils (the black center part of the eye) to see if they react to light and if they are symmetrical and round. 

The next stage is refraction.  This is when the optometrist comes in to determine if you have a need for visual correction such as glasses or contact lenses.  He or she uses a piece of equipment called a phoropter to find the correct prescription.  If you already wear glasses, the technician will read that prescription from the glasses to see if there is a change.  

Then the technician or the optometrist will do glaucoma testing.  This is done every visit for all patients over the age of 18.  We use a procedure called applanation tonometry to determine your eye pressure.  We do not use the popular "puff of air" test that many optometrists use.  This is a painless test that only takes a few seconds per eye.  

Before you are ready to see the ophthalmologist, he will require your eyes to be dilated.  This allows the doctor to examine your eyes thoroughly. We use a set of 2 drops to make the pupils large and non-reactive to light.  This will take about 20 minutes to take effect and we will usually have you wait in a separate dilation area during that time.  These drops can take up to 4 to 6 hours to wear off so if your eyes have not been dilated before or if you have difficulty seeing with them, please make alternate driving arrangements.  

Once your eyes are fully dilated, you will be returned to an exam room to see the ophthalmologist.  He may use a variety of techniques to look at your eyes including a slit lamp and retinoscope. These involve very bright lights but they are necessary to determine eye health. 

After the ophthalmologist completes his testing, he will let you know the results of the exam. In most cases, he is able to give you a diagnosis at that time. Otherwise, further testing or specialist referrals may be needed. He will tell you when to return for a follow-up appointment and prescribe any necessary medications. 

You are then free to visit our optical department to order or repair eyeglasses. If you prefer to return another day, you do not need an appointment.  Glasses prescriptions are good for one year from the refraction date. If you prefer contact lenses, you can make an appointment with our optometrist, Dr. Tang, for a fitting. 

Please contact our office today to schedule your appointment.  

  • Your doctor may order further testing to diagnose or monitor certain eye diseases and conditions.