Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the most Frequently Asked Questions that patients have about their vision and general eye health issues. If you have any other questions, or would like to schedule an appointment via phone, call O’Fallon Family Eyecare at (636) 614-4655 – we would love to hear from you!

How long will my exam take?

Exams for new patients last approximately one hour. This give us enough time to thoroughly and accurately examine your eyes, answer your questions and recommend the appropriate (if any) treatments.

Will my eyes be dilated at my exam?

Having your pupils dilated during your exam makes allows the doctor to see much more of the retina (internal eye) than without dilation. The doctor prefers to dilate all new patients.  However, when you return for follow up care dilation is usually performed every other year unless there are other indications (such as having diabetes, high prescriptions, or symptoms of flashes or floaters.

Will I be able to drive after having my eyes dilated?

Most people can drive just fine after having their pupils dilated, though some people prefer to have someone else drive them.  The most significant side effect of the dilation is sensitivity to sunlight for a couple hours, so you will want to wear sunglasses when outdoors or driving after your exam. If you don’t have sunglasses we can provide a temporary pair at no charge.

Should I get my eyes examined when I am pregnant?

If you are due for your annual exam or are having problems with your vision, yes.  There is a limited chance that the prescription can change during the peri-natal period.  However, I would prefer to change a prescription over risking a woman and her unborn child driving with blurry vision or over-wearing old contact lenses that might cause infection or inflammation.  We never want the fear of a possible prescription change to keep someone from updating their vision.

Is pupil dilation safe during pregnancy?

Yes. There is no evidence to support that mydriatic (dilating) eye drops have ever caused any adverse affect to a developing fetus.

When we use topical drops to dilate the eye, there is little to no systemic absorption into the body. That is not to say there is none, but the amounts are so minute, that the benefits outweigh the risks. Dilation helps us to find any problems in the back of the eye that we can’t see without dilation in all patients.

How often should I have my eyes examined?

An eye exam is recommended every year. As a rule, you shouldn’t go longer than two years between eye exams. You may need to have your eyes examined more often if you have a family history of eye diseases, diabetes, you have generally poor health, or you’re taking medications that may have potential side effects on the eye.

My vision is fine. Why do I need an eye exam?

Routine eye care is designed to protect and enhance your eyesight: your most important sense. Thorough eye exams are essential, not just for detecting vision problems, but as an important preventive measure for maintaining overall health and wellness. A thorough exam does more than just help you see well. It can also help your doctor see signs of common health conditions like high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes. Caring for your eyes should always be a part of your regular healthcare routine.

At what age should children get their first eye exam?

Children rarely have complaints of blurry vision and often it is not discovered until they have their first exam.  We recommend children get their first exam at around age 3 or 4 years. However, if you suspect any problems (squinting, eye rubbing, lazy eyes, unusual pupil color) before that age, please schedule their first exam sooner. Additionally, Missouri law states children must have a comprehensive exam when going into kindergarten.

At what age can children wear contacts?

A common age for first time contact lens wear is around 11 or 12 years old.  However we have many kids as young as 7 years old in contact lenses. The key factors are motivation and maturity.  If the child is not motivated to wear contact lenses then rarely will be successful no matter what age they try to wear them.

My child’s eyes were checked by the pediatrician. Does he need another exam?

A vision screening performed by a pediatrician or school nurse is meant to alert parents to a potential visual problem, but is not a substitute for a comprehensive eye examination. Studies* have found that up to 11% of children that pass these screenings actually have a visual problem that requires treatment. On the other hand, our optometrist is specifically trained for eye examinations and our office is specifically equipped for eye care.

At what age can children wear contacts?

A common age for first time contact lens wear is around 11 or 12 years old.  However we have many kids as young as 7 years old in contact lenses. The key factors are motivation and maturity.  If the child is not motivated to wear contact lenses then rarely will be successful no matter what age they try to wear them.

Can the optometrist treat my eye infection? Glaucoma? Any other eye diseases?

Our optometrist has doctoral level training in diagnosing and treating eye diseases and conditions so he can efficiently diagnose and treat most eye diseases.  The scope of care for optometrists stops at surgery.  If you’re eyes require surgery we have a team of ophthalmologists (eye surgeons) that we work with to get you the proper treatment.

Why do I have to get my contact lenses evaluated yearly?

Contact lenses are medical devices that may cause harm to your eyes if not fitting properly. Although you are able to detect some problems that may be occurring with your lenses, they can often be causing harm to your eyes without you being aware of it. Therefore, to renew your contact lenses prescription, the doctor must fully evaluate your eye health, how your contact lenses are fitting, and review your care regimen to ensure you are able to continue wearing contact lenses.

Why is there an additional fee for contact lens exams?

Examining a contact lens patient takes additional time and expertise. The doctor will interview the patient about their contact lenses to find out how well the current lenses work and how they are cared for.  Usually the doctor will examine the lenses on the eyes and check the prescription through the lenses for changes. For that reason there are separate, additional charges for contact lens examinations that patients without contact lenses do not pay.

What should I bring to my appointment?

It is important that you bring your health insurance card(s), your eyeglasses, prescription sunglasses and contacts, as well as your list of medications. If you printed and filled out your registration and medical history form, bring that with you (if you submitted it online you have already finished that). If you were referred to us by your another doctor, you may have paperwork from them as well.

Can I do anything to prevent my prescription from getting worse?

Treatments such as orthokeratology and myopia control give us the ability to slow or possibly stop prescription changes, especially in children.  To a lesser extent, wearing the most up-to-date prescription and giving your eyes a break from extended use of computers and reading can also help.

Should I see my primary care physician when I get pink eye?

We do not recommend that. There are many causes of pink eye and unfortunately most primary care physicians do not have the diagnostic equipment such as a biomicroscope to make an accurate diagnosis. We see many patients that come to us for a second opinion after seeing their physician for an eye problem.  The result is the patient ends up paying for two office visits and often a second prescription eye drop.

Why do you want to know my medical history and what medications I take?

Routine comprehensive eye care not only detects eye disease, but also can detect systemic medical conditions such as hypertension, diabetes and thyroid dysfunction.  Many medications have side effects that affect the eyes.

We’d Love to Hear From You

“Having seen thousands of patients over the last 20 years has not only given me substantial clinical experience in diagnosing and treating eye disease, but it has also allowed me to define the way I like to practice.”

– Joe Hegyi, O.D.