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What to Expect

Preparing for Your Eye Exam At Coastal Family Eyecare

Person wearing glasses reading before an eye doctor's appointment

You might be going to a regularly-scheduled eye exam. You may be following a recommendation to see an optometrist after a vision screening at a local clinic or wellness center. Or your next eye doctor visit could be a response to vision problems or eye discomfort.

The more you know going in, the easier the entire vision care process will be.

For regularly scheduled eye exams, expect to talk about any changes in your medical history since the last time you saw your eye doctor. And if this is your first time in a new practice, you’ll be asked to provide a more complete medical history, including a list of medications you’re currently taking, and any vision problems your parents may have experienced.

In addition, you’ll undergo a series of vision and eye tests that help determine the overall health and quality of your vision. These tests also help to check that your current prescription glasses or contacts (if you have one) is still meeting your vision needs. Your optometrist will also check your eyes for signs of any potential vision problems or eye diseases. In many instances, your pupil may be dilated (opened) using special drops so that your eye doctor can better see the structures of the eye.

You’ll then have an honest discussion about the current state of your eye health and vision, and your eye doctor may prescribe vision correction for you in the form of eyeglasses or contact lenses. Any health concerns or possibly serious vision complications will also be discussed, including the next steps you must take to preserve and protect your sight.

How Long Is a Vision Test?

In general, a routine eye exam will last less than an hour depending upon the number of tests you have, and may be partially or completely covered by many vision insurance plans.

Visiting eye doctors as a result of a vision screening is also common, but remember: vision screenings offered by health clinics, pediatricians, public schools or local charitable organizations are not a substitute for comprehensive eye exams. Be sure to bring the findings from your screening to your eye doctor—it’s a great way to begin the discussion of your current eye health.

For eye doctor visits that result from eye pain, eye discomfort or vision problems you actually can see, expect to take many of the steps involved in a routine eye exam, but specific to the symptoms you’re having. There may be a number of additional tests required as well, so it’s important—especially when suffering pain or discomfort—to allow for as much time as possible for a complete, comprehensive eye exam.

And if you feel you are in an emergency situation with your eyes or your vision—don’t wait. Seek immediate emergency medical treatment.

What to Remember For The Eye Doctor’s Appointment

Many vision problems and eye diseases often present minimal, if any, symptoms. That’s why it’s so important to make regular appointments to see your eye doctor. And since vision can change gradually over time, it’s important to know that you’re seeing your best, year after year.

Remember the following for your next eye doctor visit:

  • Know your medical history and list of current medications
  • Know your current symptoms and be able to describe them—write them down if necessary
  • Know your family history—some eye diseases like glaucoma and cataracts are hereditary
  • Ask in advance about your particular vision insurance plan, and if a co-pay will be due
  • Bring your insurance card, identification and method of payment, if necessary
  • Bring your most recent prescription for glasses or contact lenses
  • Bring your corrective eyewear to the exam
  • If undergoing a test using dilation eye drops, bring proper eye protection, like sunglasses, for after your appointment

Most importantly, remember that eye doctors — and everyone within the eye care practice — are there to help you see your best and feel your best.

Special thanks to the EyeGlass Guide, for information material that aided in the creation of this website.

You can contact our eye care centers in Pensacola & Orange Beach, FL at your convenience to schedule your next eye doctor’s appointment.

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Dear Patients,

As of Tuesday evening, March 17th, the CDC has recommended that all routine eye care be deferred until further notice, in order to slow the transmission of COVID-19 through our community.

Please be assured that we are still available to triage all urgent and emergent calls during this challenging time.

We are officially closing our offices effective at 3:00pm today, March 20 th and tentatively plan to reopen on April 1 st . We are rescheduling all routine visits and are available by phone to triage ocular emergencies.

Our phone lines will be open:

Monday the 23 rd and 30 th : 10:00am to 5:00pm

Tuesday-Friday (24 th -27 th and the 31 st ): 9:00am to 3:00pm

What does this mean?

1) If you are scheduled for an annual eye examination we will tentatively reschedule you starting April 1 st

2) If you are running out of a medication please contact us and we can transmit a refill electronically to your pharmacy.

3) If you have an issue which cannot wait for an office visit, contact us and we will schedule a Telephone appointment with one of our doctors. Medicare has temporarily relaxed its telehealth rules to allow this type of communication during the pandemic crisis. Other insurers may follow suit and allow for reimbursement of virtual care costs. The consultation must be initiated at your request.

4) If you have an ocular emergency we are, as always, available to help you at any time. Call 1-850-455-0120 andwait for instructions at the end of the message.

Dr. Leonard or Dr. Charbonneau will discuss your condition by phone and make the best treatment decision for you on a one on one basis.

5) Please remember that 80% of COVID-19 cases are mild and resolve within a week. However, if you feel your symptoms are worsening, call ahead before visiting your doctor’s office or emergency department and tell them you have or may have COVID-19. This will help the office protect themselves and other patients.

The CDC has many wonderful resources. Arming yourself and your family with clear information will help you avoid undue stress.

https://bit.ly/2WxWYIe and https://bit.ly/33FBlXZ

Together we will weather this storm.

With sincerest wishes for your continued good health we remain at your service,

Dr. Clare L Leonard

Dr. Mary Charbonneau