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Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How often should I get my eyes examined?
A. Just like seeing your primary doctor, it is best to come in every year. In the state of Florida, eyeglass prescriptions are only valid for 24 months and contact lens prescriptions are only valid for 12 months. Why? Well the reason is because your eyes are constantly changing and are exposed to many things. Eye exams are not just about vision, but they are also about the health of your eye! Many eye diseases develop without any signs or symptoms in the early development stages, so it is very important that we are able to look at your eyes every year to make sure everything is nice and healthy! Those with a family history of eye diseases, diabetic patients and anyone whose general health is poor or who are taking medications that may have potential side effects on the eye, may need to have their eyes examined more often so we can monitor any developments and meet your needs in the best way possible.
Q. What is the difference between a routine eye exam and a contact lens exam/fitting?
A. Routine eye exams are designed to detect vision problems and are an important preventive measure for maintaining your overall health and wellness. In fact, a thorough eye exam can detect a number of serious medical conditions, such as glaucoma, cataracts, diabetes and even cancer.
Contact lens exams are designed to evaluate your vision with contacts. Although your vision may be clear and you feel no discomfort from your lenses, there are potential risk factors with improper wearing or fitting of contact lenses that can affect the overall health of your eyes.
Q. Do I need an exam if I just want to wear contacts for fun/cosmetic use?
A. Yes. In order for Dr. Shearer to prescribe the proper fit and comfortable lenses, you will need to have an eye exam and contact lens fitting. During the eye exam, Dr. Shearer will check your vision to make sure you are able to see both up close and far away. Besides checking your vision, Dr. Shearer will also be checking the health of your eyes. During the contact lens fitting, Dr. Shearer will take special measurements of your eye and its surface, checking for curvature and other factors that will affect how your lenses fit. Finally, your cornea will be carefully examined to make sure there aren’t any problems that could make it hard for you to wear contact lenses. Dr. Shearer will then be able to prescribe you the proper lens that will best benefit you and your needs.
Q. I am interested in wearing contact lenses, but I am afraid to touch my eye. Does it hurt?
A. No. You have nothing to worry about. In any situation that is new to you, like learning how to ride a bike, it takes practice. The first few times will seem like a pain and may take longer than expected, but you must remind yourself that everyone you’ve know/ seen wearing contacts has been in the exact situation. Every time you put your contacts, the easier it gets. Sooner or later it will just become a routine and you won’t even think twice about it.
Q. I have a valid eyeglass prescription, can’t I just buy contacts using the prescription I have?
A. No. Eyeglass prescriptions and contact lens prescriptions are two completely different types of prescriptions. The majority of the time, your glasses prescription and contact lens prescription will never be the same. Why? Well, you wear your glasses on your nose, so the glasses are going to be placed and worn at a different distance than contact lenses. Contacts are worn on your eye so there a lot of things that we need to look at and check in order to give you the proper fit and comfort. We need to take special measurements of your eye and its surface, checking for curvature and other factors that will effect how your lenses fit. Finally, your cornea will be carefully examined to make sure there aren’t any problems that could make it hard for you to wear contact lenses.
Q. Why do I have to have my eyes dilated?
A. It is recommended to have the pupils dilated during your eye exam. Dilation allows for the evaluation and detection of diseases (such as diabetes, hypertension, ocular melanomas, etc) on the retina that cannot be seen when pupils are in their normal state.Dilating drops work on one of two principles: they either stimulate the iris muscle that opens the pupil (the dilator), or prevent action of the iris muscle that closes the pupil (the sphincter). After the drops take effect, Dr. Shearer can get a much better view of your retina, optic nerve and vessels in the back of the eye. This is a very important part of your preventative eye care as well as some eye surgeries. From this simple step, we are able to gather a lot of important information about your eyes.There are a few things you can do to make your visit a bit more comfortable:
Don’t plan any activities after your appointment that require crisp vision. (Plan to read the stock market page another time.) Bring along a pair of dark sunglasses for the ride home. Don’t worry if you forget yours, just ask for a disposable pair as you check out. If you know you’ll have trouble seeing to drive home (even with the sunglasses), please bring a friend.
Q. I have my own/old frame; can I put new lenses in it?
A. Yes, as long as the frame is still in good shape. We would not want you to put expensive lenses into a frame that will break in a few months!
Q. Can Dr. Shearer see me for an eye infection or do I have to see an Ophthalmologist?
A. Yes, Dr. Shearer can see and treat you for an eye infection and various other eye conditions. If needed you will be referred to the appropriate specialist for further evaluation, treatment or surgery.
We’re proud to serve all of Jacksonville including Southside, Deerwood, Nocatee, St. Johns and Mandarin since 1987.