Eyecare Specialties of Northwest Colorado
Frequently Asked Questions
- How much do your eye exams cost?
Our comprehensive eye exams begin at $114.00. Contact lens exams start at $154.00. If you have a medical condition (i.e., diabetes or high blood pressure), additional testing fees may apply.
Please note that our doctors recommend retinal screening photos for all patients. Using a high definition, state-of-the-art digital retinal camera, our doctors scan the retina for potentially debilitating eye diseases. Even if no eye disease is present, the image is saved and can be used at later visits as a diagnostic "baseline" tool. The fee for this advanced screening is $30.00.
During your comprehensive exam, your doctor will focus on gathering all relevant information, sharing his findings with you, discussing all your options and, with your input, developing a treatment plan.
After taking a thorough vision and health history, the doctor will conduct an internal and external exam of the retina, optic nerve, blood vessels, muscles, pupils, cornea, lens, iris, conjunctiva, eyelids and eyelashes. He will assess the health of your eyes and look for symptoms of glaucoma, cataracts and eye diseases. The doctor will also look for symptoms of general systemic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure and neurological disorders.
Your doctor will conduct several tests to determine your ability to see clearly and focus your eyes, and he will determine whether or not you need prescription eyewear. He will also evaluate visual fields, muscle balance and eye teamwork.
Your doctor will then make a final diagnosis, and together you and he will determine your best treatment plan.
- How long does an eye exam take?
Our eye exams take about an hour to complete. However, if the doctor determines a need to dilate your eyes in order to provide the most comprehensive care possible, the exam can take up to an hour and a half. If you are new to our office, younger than 5 or over the age of 40, or have medical risk factors, your doctor may recommend dilation. When we schedule your appointment, we will be able to help you determine how much time you'll want to block out for your specific eye care needs.
- Why do I have to get my eyes dilated?
While dilation of the eyes is a temporary inconvenience, the benefits are invaluable. Once dilated, the pupil of the eye is considered the "window of the human body." Looking through the pupil, all the way to the retina at the back of your eye, allows the doctor to investigate the health of your eyes and many important aspects of your general health. You may have heard of alternatives to dilation, such as Optos, but our doctors believe the actual dilation process provides more valid, accurate information.
If for some reason you choose not to have your eyes dilated, please notify the doctor at the start of the exam.
- Do you take my insurance?
We are participating providers with VSP, Cofinity, Medicare and Blue Cross/Blue Shield (medical only). We will courtesy file most major vision insurance plans. Please call the member number on the back of your card or contact us if you have questions about the specifics of your insurance plan. Our office phone numbers are listed under the Locations tab, left.
- Do you sell "regular" sunglasses and goggles?
We carry an extensive selection of both prescription and non-prescription sunglasses and snow/sports goggles. The latest technology allows many more prescription sunglass options, even with "wrap" styles. Please note that we need a current, written eyeglass prescription in order to determine which sunglasses or goggles will work for you.
- If my child has never had any eye problems, should she still get an eye exam?
School eye screenings typically test distance vision only. Your child can have problems with near vision, eye coordination and/or focusing and still have 20/20 distance vision. Since learning is 80% visual, undiagnosed eye problems can seriously affect a child's success in school.
The American Optometric Association suggests that children should have their first regular eye exam at 6-9 months. (Read about our InfantSEE no-charge eye assessments under our Promotions tab, left.) At age 2-3 years, your child should have a follow-up exam, since this is the age when a child's visual system undergoes its most rapid development and when vision correction is most effective.
Upon entering school, children should have their eyes examined every two years -- or more frequently if there is an eye or vision problem or a family history of eye disease.
- How long does it take to get my glasses?
Whenever possible, we manufacture glasses on site, usually with same-day service. However, many frame styles, as well as any but the most basic single vision lenses, require the specialized machinery of our out-of-state lab. Manufacture of most eyeglasses takes 7-10 business days. We use overnight shipping to expedite the process. As soon as your glasses arrive in our office, we will inspect them to insure they meet our strict quality standards then call you to notify you of their arrival.
- I'm a new patient. Is there anything I need to bring to my first appointment?
Our New Patient Forms can be found under the Patient Forms tab, left. If possible, please print out and complete these forms prior to your visit. In addition, we appreciate any information you can provide from previous eye doctor offices. Some doctors will fax your records to our office if you make this request over the phone. Most offices, however, require a signed records release. You are welcome to use our form, found under the Patient Forms tab, left. Please call or stop by either Eyecare Specialties office if you would like help filling out and faxing this form.
- After I have my exam, can I get copies of my eyeglass and contact lens prescriptions?
Of course! By law, you are entitled to these documents. We automatically provide patients with both their eyeglass and contact lens prescriptions as soon as this information is finalized.
- How long is my eyeglass prescription good for?
The state of Colorado does not regulate the expiration of eyeglass prescriptions. Obviously, you would not want to go to the trouble and expense of having a new pair of glasses made using an old prescription that will not provide you with optimum visual acuity. We usually recommend a new exam if your prescription is over two years old and/or if you feel your vision has deteriorated since your last exam.
- If I'm not having any problems with my contacts, why do I have to get a contact lens exam every year?
By federal law, contact lens wearers are required to have an annual exam, at which time their contact lens prescription is updated, if necessary, and their eye health is carefully examined. Keep in mind that contact lenses are considered medical devices. Overuse and misuse can cause serious problems that can lead to blindness.
- What is your payment policy?
Same-day full payment is due for all services. When glasses are ordered, we require at least a 50% deposit, with the balance due when your glasses are dispensed. Under no circumstances will glasses or contact lenses be dispensed before payment is received in full.
We understand that the purchase of a new pair of glasses or a year's supply of contact lenses can cause financial hardship. In very rare instances, arrangements may be made for a payment plan not to exceed 90 days. Please feel free to bring up this option with any of our front desk staff. We will do our very best to accommodate you.
- Can I have glasses made using a prescription from another doctor?
Absolutely! However, keep in mind that when we fill a prescription from an outside doctor, we are merely "following his or her orders," just as a pharmacist merely fills a medication prescription written by a physician without taking responsibility for the effectiveness of the prescription.
We warranty our products and workmanship but in cases like this, we cannot be responsible for your visual acuity when working from another doctor's prescription. If you are unhappy with the glasses that are made to the specifications of the prescription you provide, you will need to discuss your dissatisfaction with the outside doctor.
- Can you put prescription lenses in a frame I bought elsewhere?
Yes, we are happy to fill any lens prescription that is current and accurate. However, please consider the possibility that if your frame breaks and replacement parts are not available, you will be left with new lenses and no frame. (Most lenses are cut specifically for one frame style only and are not interchangeable.) For this reason, we ask that you sign a frame waiver indicating you understand the possibililty of this sort of predicament.
Frames purchased through Eyecare Specialties are covered by a two-year warranty. You can read more about our warranty under our Promotions tab, left.
- What's the difference between an optometrist and an ophthalmologist?
Both are considered "eye doctors." Optometrists are Doctors of Optometry (O.D.s) and ophthalmologists are Medical Doctors (M.D.s). Usually, an ophthalmologist specializes in a particular part of the eye. Many ophthalmologists are trained to perform eye surgery.
Although they do not perform eye surgery, the optometrists at Eyecare Specialties are highly trained in both medical and general eye care. If one of our doctors examinines you and determines that surgery or more specialized treatment is required, you will be referred to an appropriate specialist.
- I hurt my eye. How do I know if it's an emergency?
Emergency eye injuries which must be treated immediately include chemicals in the eye; immediate loss of vision or the appearance of a cloudy veil in front of the eye; penetrating injuries; or immediate onset of halos around lights, new floaters, or bleeding and pain (especially if associated with a red, painful eye or brow). If you have an emergency eye injury, call our Craig office at (970) 824-3288 or our Steamboat office at (970) 879-2020.
Patients with urgent eye injuries should be treated the day of the injury. These injuries include forceful trauma; sudden onset of severe pain; an embedded foreign body in the eye; sudden onset of flashers and/or floaters; sudden onset of double vision; sudden onset of a drooping eyelid; or the sudden onset of a red eye.
Patients with the following non-urgent injuries and symptoms should be seen as soon as possible: blurred vision which has slowly developed over the last several days; lost or damaged eyewear or contact lenses; and, with contact lens wearers, sudden problems of vision or discomfort or changes in eye appearance. Contact lens wearers should stop wearing their contact lenses until told otherwise.