Below are some of the most frequently asked questions patients have about their vision and our office. If you have any other questions please let us know. Click on a question below to see the answer.

It is after office hours and I am having an eye emergency. How do I access care?

The best approach to accessing after hours eye care is to go to your local emergency department and see the ER physician. The ER physician can determine the urgency of your condition with the help of the ophthalmologist on call, and arrange for urgent assessment that same day, or less urgent follow-up care at some later date. There is always an ophthalmologist on call for our region, so care can always be accessed, even late at night.

How often should I have an eye exam?

Eye exams are recommended periodically, with the interval differing for various age groups. In the first three years of infancy, a child should have vision checked along with normal pediatric checkups. Between the ages of three and six (the most crucial period of eye development) an eye exam should be scheduled every year or two. After that period, until adulthood, exams should be scheduled as necessary. During the twenties one should have at least one exam. During the thirties one should have at least two exams. In the forties, fifties, and early sixties, one should schedule an exam every two to four years. For seniors, an exam every year or two is recommended.

n addition to these basic guidelines, people with a family history of eye problems, those monitoring a diagnosed eye disease, or those with certain high risk diseases such as diabetes, it is recommended that exams should be performed at least once a year. Regular eye exams are the best way to keep you seeing your world clearly.

I have been noticing changes in my vision lately. What should I do?

Any abnormal phenomena or changes in your vision can indicate a variety of possible problems. The key to preserving vision in the face of most eye diseases is early treatment. Thus it is important to consult an optometrist or ophthalmologist if you notice anything unusual or any change in your vision. It could be a serious problem, or it could be inconsequential, but the peace of mind and the possibility of catching a serious problem early are certainly worth it.

My vision is great; I have no problems. Is there any reason to have my vision checked?

Many serious eye diseases often have little or no symptoms until they are well developed. The only way to diagnose a problem early in such a case is to schedule periodic eye exams. This is the best way to preserve the clearest vision possible for life. Check in with your optometrist to establish regular eye exams at an interval appropriate for your specific circumstances.

Does Dr Hillson write prescriptions for glasses and contact lenses?

The short answer is usually not. While I do write glasses prescriptions for children with strabismus (crossed eyes) or amblyopia (lazy vision), for most patients I recommend seeing an optometrist for a prescription. Optometrists are more than capable of providing this service to patients, and are often equiped to manufacture and fit the glasses in their own dispensaries. By taking this approach to the dispensing of prescriptions, our office is able to focus on medical and surgical eye care and reduce long wait lists for our patients.

I am scheduled for a visit where I will receive a treatment or test that is not covered by OHIP. Why isn’t everything covered by OHIP? What forms of payment are accepted at your office?

Huge advances have been made in the medical and surgical treatment of eye disease, providing many options for the preservation and restoration of vision that simply were not available until recently. With the large number of diagnostic and treatment options available, OHIP has had to limit coverage to those tests or treatments deemed medically necessary. Tests or treatments deemed not medically necessary are therefore not covered by OHIP. Many of these non-covered options offer very tangible beneifts to patients such as earlier detection of glaucoma, better monitoring of AMD, better night vision, and more accurate cataract surgery outcomes. Dr Hillson can help, but it is really up to you to decide whether you would like to make use of these non-OHIP options, keeping in mind that we will be happy to look after you no matter what you decide. Payment for these options is accepted in the form of cash, debit card, VISA, Mastercard, or American Express. Remember to keep your receipt, as you can claim any expense at our office on your income tax as a health expense.

What is astigmatism?

Astigmatism is an optical imperfection of the eye which most of us have to some degree, due to a non-spherical curvature of the cornea , the front window of the eye. In a general sense, it exists when the cornea is curved more like the asymmetrical shape of a football than the regular shape of a soccerball. It is usually not a serious problem and normally spectacles are used to clarify the image in patients with significant astigmatism.

I had cataract surgery yesterday and now my eye is crusted shut. What should I do?

If crusting is found on the eyelid edges in the morning, it can be removed gently by washing the eyelid with a clean washcloth. Avoid scrubbing. If you are uncomfortable removing the crusting, call our office and we can arrange to remove it for you.

I used eyedrops for glaucoma before my cataract surgery. Should I still use them now that the surgery is done?

Keep using your glaucoma medications as you were before surgery. Separate the instilling of glaucoma drops from the instilling of the cataract drops by at least two minutes.

I have had cataract surgery recently. Should I continue to wear my old glasses?

You may wear your old glasses after the surgery but may find your vision to be better without them in the operated eye(s). If you wish to go without glasses, that would be fine. Wearing your old glasses will not damage your eyes in any way. You may be sensitive to light for weeks or even months after surgery and may want to wear sunglasses when necessary.

How should I protect my eye after cataract surgery?

he doctor uses a self-closing incision which normally does not require sutures, and which is very resistant to opening with pressure. However, your cataract wound is healing and will not be firm enough to take direct pressure for six weeks. You should wear the eye shield provided over your eye for one week following surgery. You may resume normal physical activity the first day after surgery. Simply avoid bending below the waist and extremely heavy lifting for the first week, and ensure that the eye does not sustain a blow.

I woke up feeling ill just before my surgery. What should I do?

If you develop a cold, sore throat or other illness between seeing your surgeon and the day of surgery, please contact us for advice.

Should I take all my medications the day of cataract surgery?

Unless you have been specifically instructed otherwise, you should take all prescription medications (except insulin) according to your usual routine on the day of surgery. If you use inhalers (puffers) even occasionally, please bring them with you. If you have diabetes, it is important to bring your glucometer with you to the clinic.

Can I eat and drink before my cataract surgery?

Prior to and during your cataract surgery you may have IV sedation and therefore will be required to fast. Insulin dependant diabetics should follow special instructions.

What should I wear to cataract surgery?

Wear loose, comfortable clothing to surgery. Please have a bath or shower at home the day before or on the day of surgery. Do not wear any make-up, jewelry, or nail polish to the surgery. Leave all valuables at home or in the care of your family/caregiver for safekeeping.

Can I drive on the day of my cataract surgery?

No, you will require a responsible adult to drive you to the hospital for your surgery. Your length of stay at the hospital will be approximately three hours. After your surgery your driver will need to take you to my office between 3:00 pm and 4:30 pm on the same day.

How do I use eyedrops?

To instill an eyedrop, tilt your head back and look at the ceiling, keeping both of your eyes open. Place a finger on your cheek just below your eye and pull down until a “V” is formed between your eyeball and your lower lid. Put one drop into the eye. Do not let the dropper touch your eye. Do not force the eyelids open to apply the drops.

Does Dr Hillson do cataract surgery on both eyes on the same day?

No, surgery will be booked for one eye at a time. The date and time for surgery on your second eye will be reserved for you. We will confirm the details for your second procedure during the post-operative checkup for your first eye.