Below are some of the most frequently asked questions patients have about their vision and general eye health issues. If you have any other questions, or would like to schedule an appointment, we would love to hear from you.
What is the difference between an Ophthalmologist and an Optometrist?
Optometrists and Ophthalmologists are both eye doctors. However, their training and background are different. After college, an optometrist spends 4 years in optometry school studying eyes and earns an OD, or Doctor of Optometry degree. Once schooling is completed, they can practice Optometry. After college, an Ophthalmologist spends four years in medical school studying Medicine and earns an MD, or Doctor of Medicine degree. After finishing medical school, Ophthalmologists spend an additional four years studying eye diseases, eye treatment, and eye surgery in a hands-on training period called "residency." Once residency is completed, they can practice Ophthalmology. In addition to the four years of residency, Dr. Nemi completed a Fellowship in Corneal & Refractive Surgery at Emory Eye Center.
What should I bring with me to my first visit?
Please bring your insurance card and a form of identification to your first visit. Also, please bring a list of your medical conditions and medications with you to your initial visit, as well as for every follow-up visit. We want to make sure we understand your current health issues so that we can provide the best care possible. In addition, please bring the glasses that you currently use or your most recent prescription. If you wear contact lenses, please bring the packaging (it has detailed lens measurements on the label). We also recommend that you bring a pair of sunglasses to help following dilation. For more information about dilation, please read below.
What can I expect from my first visit?
We will make copies of your insurance and identification cards and will review your new patient forms for accuracy. You will then be brought back to the examination room for evaluation. After reviewing your history and any active concerns, we will perform pre-testing for baseline information. The doctor will then perform a detailed exam, discuss any findings, and answer any questions. We feel strongly that a dilated eye examination is essential for a thorough evaluation, even if you have had one by another provider recently. Dr. Nemi performs all examinations himself so that he has all the information needed to make the appropriate medical diagnoses and recommendations. The length of your visit depends on the complexity of your eye issues and the amount of testing required. Without knowledge of your eye condition, we cannot tell you exactly the duration of your visit, so we ask that you set aside about 60-90 minutes for your first visit.
What is dilation and what does is it entail?
Dilation is the process of widening the pupil (dark circular opening in the center of the iris) with eye drops so that the back of the eye can be examined. Two-thirds of the eye is located behind the iris (colored part of the eye), so it is difficult to perform a thorough eye examination without dilation. This is why we feel strongly that a dilation should be performed for all new patients and on a regular basis. Dilation is achieved by placing dilating drops in the eyes. Typical dilation drops work in about 20-30 minutes, although some eyes respond more quickly and some eyes respond more slowly. The dilation wears off over a period of three to four hours, although this can also vary by individual. Dilation will mostly affect your reading vision by making near objects appear blurry. You will be sensitive to light while dilated, so you may wish to bring a pair of sunglasses. Some people feel uncomfortable driving after dilation, so we recommend that you bring someone with you if you have concerns about driving following your first examination.
Are examinations different for children?
Yes - The primary difference in examinations of our younger patients is the need to use special dilation eye drops because they are essential for determining the refractive error (the need for glasses) in children. These drops are different in that they last longer than the typical dilating drops and typically wear off over 8-12 hours. This is necessary because some of the focusing eye muscles in the eye are much stronger in children than in adults, so they need to be relaxed to determine an accurate prescription. We generally dilate our patients 16 years of age and younger with these particular dilating drops. This is common practice and performed by most eye doctors, including pediatric eye sub-specialists.
What I should bring to my follow-up visit?
Please bring an updated list of your medical conditions and medications with you to your follow-up visit. Please inform your doctor of any interim changes in your medical or eye health. We want to make sure we are up to date on your current health issues so that we can provide the best care possible.
What can I expect from my follow-up visit?
After reviewing any changes to your history and any ongoing concerns, we will perform pre-testing for baseline information. The doctor will then perform a focused examination, discuss any findings, and answer any questions. We may recommend dilation if your eye condition warrants it or if it has been more than a year since your last appointment. However, please note that we may tailor this according to your needs and medical history. Please set aside 30-45 minutes for your follow-up appointment.
What insurances do you accept?
We are a preferred provider for most major health insurance plans. We do not accept vision insurance plans. As a medical doctor (M.D.) practice, we provide a comprehensive medical eye exam that provides the most detailed assessment of your eye health and how it pertains to overall well-being. We understand our patients' desire to keep their health costs down and we also understand that establishing care with a physician you trust is equally important. For any insurance that we are not an in-network provider, we are happy to see you and help you submit the paperwork for coverage as an out-of-network service. Please call us if you would like more information about our professional fees.
Do you accept patients without insurance?
We understand that seeing a doctor you trust is important. We are happy to take care of your eye care needs, regardless of your insurance situation, and will actively work with you to find a payment arrangement that meets your needs. Please call us to discuss your specific situation and the arrangements we can make together.
Does my insurance cover the office visit, procedure, and/or surgery?
It is a common misconception that the doctor determines whether an office visit, office procedure, or surgery is covered by insurance. We do not make the rules as to insurance coverage. Unfortunately, that is determined solely by your insurance company. In addition, every insurance company is different regarding reimbursement as well as the documentation required for covering these services. We are meticulous in documentation so that everything that can be covered is covered. We offer what we believe is best for you, regardless of your insurance. If there are services that are not usually covered by your insurance company, we will discuss this with you before performing them. The most common items which may not be covered by medical insurance include: refraction (procedure for determining best possible visual acuity), contact lens fittings, refractive surgery (e.g. - LASIK, PRK), premium intraocular lenses following cataract surgery (e.g. - Tecnis Multifocal, Toric), and cosmetic surgery.
What is refraction and why is not covered by all insurances?
Refraction is how we determine the best visual acuity and assess the overall health of the eyes. It provides essential information for the physician during the examination, especially new patient evaluations. Also, to determine if any decrease in vision is due to the need for eyeglasses (refractive error) or to medical eye disease, a refraction must be performed. This requires specialized equipment and is performed by the doctor or specially-trained technicians. However, despite its importance, some insurance companies choose not to cover this test. Please contact your insurance company to determine if your insurance covers refraction (CPT Code 92015) or to let them know how you feel if it is not covered.