GENERAL QUESTIONS

Are you open on Saturdays or evenings?

We are not open on Saturdays at this time.  We can however see emergencies if need be.  We are open Tuesday and Thursday evening until 7pm.  

 

INSURANCE QUESTIONS

When do I use my vision insurance and when do I use my medical insurance?

When you need glasses or contact lenses, or your vision checked along with your eye health checked, then we bill your vision plan.  If you have a medical eye issue without needing to be checked for glasses or contact lenses, then we just bill medical insurance. We check the health of your eye with a vision exam, but if some health-related condition requires further visits, those visits will be done under your medical insurance.   

If you don’t have a vision plan, we often can bill the health portion of the exam under your medical insurance and you will pay for the vision portion of the exam.  Medicare patients with no vision plan will pay $45.00 out of pocket for the refraction because Medicare won’t pay that portion.  We charge $45.00 for refraction because half of the doctor’s time is spent determining the best eyeglass prescription for your eye.   

About a third of our patients are self-pay, with no vision plan or medical insurance.  Eye care and eye wear costs are relatively minimal relative to other health expenses such as emergency room visits, dental needs, and hearing aids. We also offer Care Credit for patients who want to pay their bill over time with no interest. 

Are you a VSP Premier practice?

We have a large number of VSP patients.  To be a VSP Premier Practice we would be foreced to  sell VSP-owned frames and  lenses, which may not always be best for patients.  We want the freedom to use whatever products are best for the patient and not be dictated to by an outside entity.  This is why we went into private practice in the first place…to be private and independent.

Do you take my insurance?

We accept most vision plans.  We accept most major medical plans and medicare.  Call our office at 480-812-2211 to ask what specific plans we bill for.   Many patients pay out pocket because eye care expenses are very reasonable compared to other medical expenses.  We also accept Care Credit which allows you to make payments over time with no interest. 

 

OPTICAL QUESTIONS

What’s the difference between buying glasses online and buying glasses in the store?

If you buy glasses in the store you can try them on, see how they look, get other’s opinions about how they look on you, see the colors with them on your face in different shades of light and at different angles.  You get the proper measurements from certified opticians and you don’t have to worry about quality or service.  

If you get them online you can shop at 2am, you can get them cheap, and you don’t have to talk to people.  You are responsible for adjustments and measurements. If there are problems there’s no one in person to help you face to face. 

If you buy glasses in our optical boutique or our online store, you have our full guarantee and commitment to making sure you’re happy with them.  

What’s the best way to adapt to a progressive lens?

Wear the lenses and point your nose at everything you look at.  DON’T give in to the temptation to take them off because you see better at some distances without them.  Don’t give up if you feel like it’s blurry and distorted at first. Force yourself to find the clear zones and use them.  At first you have to think about it and that causes frustration, but within days you don’t have to think about it and you’re happy with the progressive!  The clear zones naturally get wider and wider with time until you don’t even notice any blur or distortion any more.  Sometimes adjustments have to be made to the frame to optimize adaptation.   Some progressives are easier to adapt to than others.  But most people could adapt to even the least expensive progressive if they have enough patience and motivation.  Being able to wear a progressive lens will make correcting your vision easier for the rest of your life.  Not being able to adapt will create some frustrating challenges, such as having to switch between multiple pairs of glasses the rest of your life. 

What’s the difference between a bifocal, a trifocal, and a progressive?

A bifocal has a line separating the distance and the near portion of the lens.  A trifocal has two lines separating the distance portion from the midrange portion, and the midrange portion from the near portion.  Trifocals are for people older than 50 you need wide reading zones, need correction for all distances, and don’t care about the way a trifocal looks.  A progressive corrects all distances from distance to near without a line.  Most people choose progressive lenses because they provide excellent functionality and  aesthetics.  The reading zones are narrower on a progressive but most people adapt within days and would never go back to any other kind of correction once they adapt. 

Why would I want an anti-glare coating?

Anti-glare coating prevents reflections in your lenses.  If you have an anti-reflective coating, people can see your eyes when they look at you, rather than all the reflections coming off your lenses.  They also make it so you see crisper, because you don’t see any reflections coming off the back of the lenses.  There are many qualities of anti-reflective coatings.  Cheap quality coatings reflect more light, smudge more, are hard to keep clean, and scratch easily.  Good quality anti-reflective coatings smudge less and have great protection against scratches.  About 85% of patients desire anti-reflective coatings on their lenses.  

Why are eye glasses sometimes expensive?

Eyeglasses can cost anywhere from $20.00 to $700.00 depending on a patient’s needs.  This is relatively inexpensive compared to other health-related devices such as hearing aids. There are costs associated with research, design, materials, manufacturing, shipping, marketing, measurements, dispensing, repairs, etc.  

CONTACT LENS QUESTIONS

Why do you charge for a contact lens exam if you’re just renewing my previous contact lens prescription?

We do much more than just renew your prescription.  We look for protein deposits on your current contact lenses.  We re-measure your focal points.  We look at your eye to make sure the current contact lenses aren’t causing damage that will cause problems later. We spend time determining if you’re satisfied with the vision and comfort of your lenses, if you’re replacing them when you should, if you’re giving your eyes enough rest time from the contact lenses, if your current glasses are working well for you, etc.  We recalculate the prescription based on the refraction.  We talk about other options and new developments in contact lenses.  We put on a new pair of trial lenses, even if the prescriptions are the exact same.  We assess the vision and the fit of the trial lenses.  We re-educate you on proper contact lens wear.  We see you as many times as necessary at no charge if there are contact-lens-related issues.  In short, a contact lens exam takes much more time and resources than a glasses-only exam, whether your prescriptions changes or not.  You want it to be a pleasure for us to help you with contact lenses.  If we couldn’t charge for contact lens exams, we wouldn’t have the resources to fit contact lenses and take care of you. 

Why can’t I sleep in my contact lenses?

The cornea is the only structure in the body that gets its oxygen directly from the air.  A contact lens decreases the amount of oxygen getting to the cornea.  It’s like breathing through a towel all day.  The cornea needs about 4 hours per day without contact lenses on while awake to recover from the lack of oxygen.  If it doesn’t get this time to breath while awake, blood vessels will start growing into the cornea, the eyes will be more red, inflammation will arise, the eyes will feel dry, and painful sight-threatening infections will eventually ensue.  The incidence of corneal ulcers skyrockets with overnight contact lens wear.

The Air Optix Night and Day contact lens is the only lens that breathes enough oxygen to minimize the damage from excessive wear.  The Dailies Total One is the only other lens we feel comfortable with wake to sleep wear.  We recommend no more than 12 hours of wear per day for all other lenses.  

CLINICAL QUESTIONS

If I see fine, why do I need to get my eyes examined?

Most eye diseases that cause blindness don’t cause visual symptoms until it’s too late.  

Why do you recommend dilating the eyes or doing the Optomap?

If we don’t do either, we cannot see into your eyes well enough to tell you if they’re healthy.  Most eye diseases aren’t recognized until it’s too late.  We catch things every day with the Optomap or dilation that can potentially blind a person.  We see things one year that weren’t there the previous year.  

What’s the difference between an optometrist and an ophthalmologist?

An ophthalmologist is someone who graduated from medical school and then did a 3 year residency in ophthalmology, which is primarily surgical training.  An optometrist graduates from optometry school, which includes training in systemic and ocular disease, clinical management of eye disease, vision disorders, and performance of minor surgical procedures.  Optometrists in Arizona are licensed to prescribe all topical medications for the eyes and most oral medications related to eye care. 

Most general ophthalmogists are primarily interested general eye surgical procedures.  Ophthalmology specialists receive fellowship training after their residency in their area of interest.  

The advantages of going to a qualified optometrist for your eye exams is: 1) shorter wait to get in to be seen, 2) shorter wait in the waiting area, 3) more time with the doctor, 4) the optometrist can send you to the best specialist for your specific surgical need, 5) better visual outcome with eyeglasses and contacts in general, 6) more access to the doctor outside your appointment.  

Not all optometrists are the same and neither are ophthalmologists.  Here at Sonoran Desert Eye Center, we have wonderful relationships with excellent general and specialist ophthalmologists that trust us to manage patients clincally while we trust them to manage them surgically.  

My primary care provider says I need to see an ophthalmologist for my diabetic eye evaluation. Is your exam good enough for checking diabetes in the eye?

Our eye exams indeed check for diabetic retinopathy.  We even have advanced technology for seeing things not normally discovered during a routine eye exam.  We then send a report to your primary care doctor.

Optometrists are trained to stage the degree of diabetic retinopathy and refer to a qualified retina specialist when the diabetic retinopathy meets specific criteria.  Retina specialists within our network are very comfortable with us monitoring patients for diabetic retinopathy.  We have the expertise and equipment necessary to properly evaluate diabetic retinopathy. Your wait is shorter with us and we spend more time with you than most ophthalmologists can. 

Do you see children?

We are great with children 3 years old and older, but we can see younger if need be.  We have special characters rather than letters and we have objective ways of examining children who cannot respond.  We also have different methods for examining children from 3 years old to 8 years old.  

At what age do children need their eye exams?

Unless there’s a family history of lazy eye (amblyopia), or you’re noticing crossed eyes, squinting, or anything else unusual related to their vision, we recommend children get their eye exam by 5 years old.  Until then, generally their pediatrician evaluates the eye during their regular visits.  

Why are my eyes brown and not blue?

Brown eyes are more common in the world, but this varies by area.  The amount of pigment cells (called melanin) determines your eye color.  Eyes with very little melanin are blue and those with a lot are brown.  Those in between are hazel.  Up to 16 genes determine eye color.  We can prescribe colored contact lenses to make your brown eyes blue or to enhance your blue eyes.