Frequently Asked Patient Questions in Sunrise, FL

with Dr. Ralph Bourjolly
Q. I just want glasses and want to use my Vision Insurance. Can’t you just check me for glasses?
A. No. As a licensed Optometrist I am governed by the State Board of Optometry AND the Department of Health. Every 2 years, by law, I have take continuing education as well as a Medical Errors and Florida Law course as it relates to the practice of Optometry. I cannot just check someone for glasses. Optometrists must perform a comprehensive eye exam and diagnose and document all findings. I have been asked many times by patients to just check them for glasses. It’s important to know that if I ever did I could lose my career that I am so passionate about.

Q. What if I do not have enough money to pay for the medical exam?

A. My goal is to keep you seeing. I am compassionate and working together I am open to payment plans. My office can also help you find assistance for conditions that require more frequent monitoring and more testing. I will however, never withhold treatment if I know someone will lose their vision.

Q. How can your fees be so much lower than other eye doctors? Will I receive a quality exam?

A. We provide a thorough exam with the most advanced diagnostic instruments to evaluate your vision needs and uncover any other ocular conditions that may go undetected, if not regularly monitored. I received my doctor’s degree after the same four years of training that all optometrists receive and was licensed to practice by the state after extensive testing. We can offer lower fees because our overhead is lower operating here, and we are able to keep busy seeing patients all day because of our convenient location.

Q. Will I receive a written prescription after the exam? Will the prescription be accepted anywhere?

A. We will supply a written prescription and summary of your exam as you leave the office.The prescription is valid anywhere in the U.S.

Q. I had an eye exam a little over a year ago, and my vision seems fine. Why do I need another exam?

A. We think it is important that all of our patients receive an annual eye exam. Your vision can change over a 12-month period. A regular check-up enables us to uncover any sight-threatening ocular conditions that can develop, unnoticed by you.

Q. Will you accept my insurance plan?

A. For the convenience of our patients, we accept most vision plans for whatever portion of the examination cost the plan covers. Please tell me your insurance company so that we can confirm your coverage.

Q. Why does it cost more for a contact lens exam?

A. We do additional testing with contact lens patients to measure the curvature of the eye to ensure that we prescribe the lens that optimizes fit and comfort. We also do an evaluation after you have worn the lenses for a given period to make sure there are no complications.

Q. Aren’t all contact lenses the same? Shouldn’t I just buy the cheapest ones?

A. They are not all the same. The contact lens companies spend millions of dollars every year to improve their lenses and regularly introduce new and better technology. You wouldn’t want to buy a five-year-old computer. For the same reason, it’s best to keep current and wear the latest and best lenses. Right now the companies are introducing new lens materials that allow much more oxygen to pass through, making them healthier to wear and enabling people to wear them in comfort for 14 hours or more per day. We recommend these new materials to most patients, even though they cost a little more, because we think they are better for their eyes in the long run.

Q. Will my contact lens prescription allow me to buy any brand of lens I want?

A. Your prescription is for a specific brand of contact lens that my examination and experience tell me is best for your vision and ocular health.

Q. Is it safe to wear a contact lens with a small tear in it?

A. A torn lens can damage the delicate outer tissue of your eye and lead to serious infection. If you tear a lens and do not have a replacement, come into the office right away and we will provide, at no charge, a lens that you can wear until your new supply arrives.

Q. Why does your staff ask for both my medical and vision insurance?

A. Many times patients present to me with complaints of vision AND medical. Vision insurance covers a routine eye exam with a refractive diagnosis. Your medical insurance covers anything with a medical diagnosis.

Q. What if I do not have medical insurance?

A. If you do not have medical insurance or if you do and have not met your deductible, the exam fee will be based upon the complexity of the exam or diagnosis and any additional testing needed to arrive at the treatment plan. I will inform you of my findings as we move through the exam and will discuss the fees of any additional testing. I am governed by regulatory agencies and must abide by their rules and regulations. Any deviation from properly coding can lead to very large fines and possible loss of my Optometric license. My goal is to provide the best care possible, communicate with you of my findings, and stay compliant with all the regulatory agencies.

Q: What is considered “medical” by my insurance?

A. Any subjective complaints that range from dry eyes to visual disturbances such as flashes or floaters. Blurred vision that can be corrected by glasses or contacts is not a medical diagnosis unless the blurred vision is due to a medical eye diagnosis. Also, sometimes you may not have any complaints but I may find something that either requires treatment, monitoring or referring to a specialist. Approximately 3 million Americans have glaucoma and another 50% have it and are unaware they have it.

Glaucoma can cause blindness and I need to assure none of my patients lose their vision. Some people fall into a “suspect” status and require simply monitoring. This is a medical diagnosis. My office has all the advanced technology available to identify these individuals and monitor and/or treat them.

Diabetes is another big one. Most patients with a diagnosis on diabetes over 10 years develop leaky blood vessels. The eye is the only part of the body where we can see this leakage. I can communicate with your treating physician to adjust your medications to assure you do not lose vision.

There are host of diseases that have no symptoms that are imperative that I evaluate for. I examine all patients very carefully. I know how important vision is and the detriment of losing vision can cause. Most patients who lose vision do so due to lack of routine care.

As a profession we have done a poor job of educating the population what we actually do. My background and years dealing with ocular diseases have put me in a position to catch early signs diseases to keep you seeing. Any condition that is not refractive (myopia, hyperopia, presbyopia) are billed and coded through you medical plan.

Only refractive diagnosis can be billed through your vision plan. It’s important to keep this in mind when electing to purchase vision insurance.

If you have additional questions, contact our Vision Center.