Medical Eye Exams in Colorado Springs, CO
In addition to helping patients with their vision, Dr. Roark and Dr. Parker are happy to help patients with their eye health as well. A comprehensive exam includes a vision exam and a health exam, but sometimes a patient will need to be seen for a specific medical emergency related to their eyes. We call these medical eye exams or medical office visits. Some common reasons for a medical eye exams would be floaters, dry eyes, eye irritation, eye allergies, eye injuries, contact lens complications, conjunctivitis, corneal scratches, feared retinal damage, or obscured vision.
Medical eye exams or medical office visits are often covered by patients insurance. In most situations, these visits will be billed to the patient's medical insurance. Patients receiving a medical eye exam are responsible for the office visit or specialist copay listed on their insurance card. If no copay is listed on the patient's insurance card, we will bill the insurance company and then the insurance company will bill the patient for any necessary copays. A medical eye exam does not use up a patient's yearly vision insurance.
Sometimes medical eye issues can prevent us from conducting a vision exam. Eye infections or irritation can sometimes impair vision. The vision correction an optometrist prescribes for your eyes while they are irritated may be slightly different than the correct prescription for your eyes when they are healthy. If a patient schedules a comprehensive exam but has a medical issue that needs to be dealt with first, we are happy to immediately conduct a medical exam and to reschedule the vision exam for a later date.
Medical Eye Exams vs. the Emergency Room
Dr. Roark and Dr. Parker can see patients for most medical eye issues. Appointments at our office will usually be cheaper, quicker, and have less wait time than appointments at a hospital emergency room or an emergency care facility. Our optometrists are also more experienced with eye problems. If a patient does need to see an ophthalmologist, they will most likely need a referral from an optometrist first. For most eye emergencies, call us first.
There are some eye situations that are emergencies that demand immediate attention from a hospital emergency room. Severe injuries to the eye may need immediate treatment we are unable to provide, and some vision problems can be symptoms of a serious medical emergency. A penetration or cut to the globe of the eye that is resulting in fluid oozing or leaking out of the eyeball most likely will need stitches, which our doctors do not perform. If the globe of the eye is penetrated, seek emergency hospital care immediately. If a patient is hit in the eyes but is also displaying concussion symptoms, go to an emergency care facility to address concussion symptoms first. Sudden blindness in one or both eyes is sometimes a symptom of a transient ischemic attack (TIA), or mini-stroke. If a patient experiences sudden blindness in one or both eyes, they should seek medical care at an emergency care facility immediately. Our doctors can also treat bee stings on or near the eye, but if the patient is going into anaphylactic shock, they should seek go to an emergency room or emergency care facility. For situations not listed above, come to our office to be seen for your eye emergency.
If you are bothered by redness in your eyes, schedule an appointment to be seen by one of our optometrists for a medical eye exam. There are many different causes for red eyes. Some causes of redness in the eyes include, computer vision syndrome, eye allergies, contact lens misuse, dry eyes, or viral or bacterial infections. Each of these different eye issues have different treatments, and they can be difficult to deal with on your own. Dr. Roark and Dr. Parker can help identify the cause of your discomfort or redness and prescribe any necessary medications or vision correction. Sometimes drops designed to reduce eye redness can have a harmful effect on eye health over time, so come in to see one of our eye doctors so that you can resolve the cause of your eye redness instead of suffering through or trying to treat the symptoms.
The air in Colorado is very dry. Many patients cannot wear their contacts for as many hours a day in Colorado as they can in other more humid states. Patients with dry eyes will often experience itching or redness in their eyes, and can even have excess tearing while their eyes are still feeling dry and irritated. For patients wearing contacts, a different brand of contacts may increase comfort, or there might be appropriate re-wetting drops that will help the patient experience greater comfort in their current contacts. Dr. Roark and Dr. Parker have been optometrists in Colorado Springs for years and are experienced with helping patients manage contact lens wear in our arid climate.
Patients who do not wear contacts can also struggle with dryness. Prescription eye drops can be very helpful for these patients. Our eye doctors can prescribe restasis or other prescription eye drops that can increase eye comfort and reduce eye irritation. Many patients come to accept dry or itchy eyes as a part of life in Colorado, but if it is a problem for you please call and schedule an eye exam so that our optometrists can improve your quality of life.
Many adults have or eventually will develop cataracts, a condition where the lens of a patient's eye becomes cloudy. Patients with a cataract or cataracts may notice an increase in night glare or a haziness in one or both eyes. Cataracts affect visual clarity and color perception. The main treatment for cataracts is a surgery where the lenses in a patient's eyes are replaced with intraocular lens implants. This is a very effective and popular surgery. The ophthalmologist who performs the cataract surgery is able to insert an implant designed to correct the vision of the patient, so often patients who have had poor vision for most of their lives can see more clearly after their cataract surgery than they did before they had cataracts.
Most health insurances will cover cataract surgery, but first the cloudiness in a patient's eye has to develop to a point where surgery is considered medically necessary. Dr. Roark and Dr. Parker monitor cataracts as part of a comprehensive eye exam. Dr. Roark and Dr. Parker do not perform cataract surgeries themselves, but are experienced in monitoring cataracts and referring patients to the appropriate specialists for their situation and insurance. Most ophthalmologists and most insurances require a referral from an optometrist before the patient can make an appointment with an ophthalmologist. Our office is also accustomed to working closely with ophthalmologists to provide care to cataract patients after they have received surgery. These relationships allow the ophthalmologists to focus on performing excellent surgeries and allow our office to offer personalized care for long time or new patients.
Most patients will need a new pair of glasses following a cataract surgery. The lens implants that are placed in a patient's eyes during cataract surgery are not able to refocus between distance and near vision the way that a child's eyes can. In the same way that the doctor who performs cataract surgery focuses on correcting a patient's vision with lenses inserted into the patient's eye, Dr. Roark and Dr. Parker specialize in correcting vision with spectacle or contact lenses outside of a patient's eye. Our doctors are very experienced in prescribing single vision or multifocal lenses to fit an individual patient's lifestyle and are good at explaining what vision a patient will experience with different types of lenses.
Posterior Vitreous Detachment or Floaters
As time goes on, many patients will experience floaters - a gray or black spot that moves across their vision. The medical name for “floaters” is posterior vitreous detachment. Pieces of the back of a patient's eye can become separated from the retina and move through the eye, sometimes temporarily obstructing a patient's vision. Floaters can accompanied by the patient experiencing flashes of light in that eye.
It is important for patients to see an optometrist when they first start experiencing floaters or flashes of light in one or both eyes or if either of these symptoms start to become more intense. In most cases floaters and flashes of light are not serious, but sometimes floaters and flashes of light can be a sign of a retinal detachment. In the case of a retinal detachment or a developing retinal detachment, it is important to see a retinal specialist as soon as possible to prevent severe and irreversible vision loss. If you schedule an appointment at one of our offices, Dr. Roark and Dr. Parker will be able to let you know if your floaters are normal and healthy or if you need to consult a retinal specialist. We can help refer patients to the appropriate specialist and schedule appointments or have patients seen urgently if they are having an emergency.
If you are experiencing floaters or flashes of light for the first time or have noticed them increasing, give us a call to schedule an appointment. We will be able to either assure you that your symptoms are normal or refer you to the appropriate care if they are not.
For more information about our medical eye exams and services, contact us today at (719) 597-4423