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Frequently Asked Questions

If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to the office.

Why choose an ophthalmologist for routine eye care and exams?

Ridgefield Ophthalmology patients will receive care from a fellowship-trained medical doctor (MD) who is equipped to handle medical issues in and around the eye. They will get the benefit of many years of specific medical and surgical training that covers all aspects of eye care including routine exams, screenings, as well as diagnosis, management, and surgery of ocular diseases and disorders. With an ophthalmologist, patients can be guaranteed continuity of care if more involved medical testing, procedures or surgery are required. They can also establish a patient-doctor relationship that can be quite valuable if they or their families are faced with any eye emergencies that require immediate medical attention.

What is BOTOX® Cosmetic?

A purified protein, BOTOX® Cosmetic is administered in a simple, nonsurgical procedure that temporarily improves the appearance of moderate to severe frown lines between the brows, on the forehead and around the eyes.  BOTOX® has been used therapeutically for years in more than 75 countries to treat a variety of medical conditions. Dosing specific to moderate to severe frown lines was approved in 2002 as BOTOX® Cosmetic. Because frown lines are caused by overactive muscles beneath the skin, they can usually be treated by administering very low doses of BOTOX® Cosmetic directly into the muscles with a few tiny injections. Results may naturally vary from person to person. BOTOX® Cosmetic is shown to be effective in both women and men. In a simple, 10-minute in-office procedure, BOTOX® is administered by Dr. Coates.  No anesthesia is required and most patients experience only minimal and brief discomfort. Patients should not lose the ability to laugh, smile, or otherwise show expression. Visible improvements in the treated areas may be seen within a few days.  The areas may continue to improve for up to a week.  The most common side effects are headache, eyelid drooping and nausea.

What can I expect during an eye exam?

Regular eye exams are essential. Annual eye exams help ensure your ocular health and wellness. You can bring a completed patient form, downloaded from our website, with you or fill out the form when you arrive at the office  This form includes sections for your ophthalmic, medical and surgical histories.  Initially, you will be evaluated in the pre-testing area.  If you choose to have an Optomap, it will be performed in the pretesting area as well.  If you need a contact lens or glasses prescription(s), a refraction will be performed to determine your prescription(s).  A test on your eye muscles, pupils and peripheral vision will be performed and your eyes will be carefully examined by Dr. Coates. A glaucoma test is also performed during routine exams. Finally, either your Optomap is reviewed or alternatively, a dilated retinal exam is completed. Your questions will be answered.

What kind of experience can Ridgefield Ophthalmology patients expect?

Dr. Coates is dedicated to providing excellent medical care and an outstanding overall patient experience. She approaches each patient as a unique individual, and performs thorough eye exams and medical histories. She is committed to answering all patient questions, both during and after appointments, and is available 24/7 for emergencies. She makes herself available for busy professionals and families who require appointments outside of normal business hours.

What is oculoplastic surgery?

 Oculoplastic surgeons are fellowship-trained in surgery which focuses on the tissues around the eyes.  Oculoplastic or ophthalmic plastic surgery is the surgical discipline of functional and cosmetic eyelid surgery.  Eyelid malpositions and eyelid lesion excisions and reconstructions, and tear drainage surgery are some of the types of functional surgeries that an oculoplastic surgeon performs.  Cosmetic oculoplastic surgery includes lid lifts (blepharoplasties). Training in oculoplastic surgery requires a one year internship after medical school in either internal medicine or general surgery, a three year residency in ophthalmology, and a fellowship in oculoplastic and reconstructive surgery.

Do you do routine eye exams and provide prescriptions for glasses and contact lenses?

Yes, these services are provided every day, with state-of-the-art equipment at Ridgefield Ophthalmology. 

When should adults’ eyes be examined?

Routine adult eye examinations should be performed on a regular basis. If there is an ophthalmologic, medical or surgical problem, then these exams should occur more frequently. Young adults (ages 18 – 39) should have their eyes examined every three to five years.  Adults 40 and older should have their eyes examined every year. High risk patients should be examined more frequently. People with glaucoma or have a strong family history of glaucoma, other eye diseases, a history of cancer, heart attack or stroke and finally those with chronic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes should be seen more frequently and in conjunction with advice from their primary care physicians.

Could my computer cause eyestrain?

Eye strain from working with computers is common.  The most important thing to do is get an eye exam to rule out other causes of eye strain (asthenopia).  Proper lighting, taking appropriate breaks, appropriately sized monitors and fonts, glare minimizers in the work / home environment can also improve eye strain.

What is Dry Eye Syndrome and what causes it?

Dry Eye Syndrome causes a decrease in the amount of tears that are naturally produced by your eyes.The front surface of your eye is normally kept moist by a thin layer of tears, so when too small amount is produced, it will result in dry areas on the corneal surface. If symptoms persist and aren’t treated, it can cause discomfort and a gradual, mild loss of vision. As we get older, the body naturally produces fewer tears. Dry Eye Syndrome can also be caused by hormonal changes, particularly in women, as well as thyroid disorders and rheumatoid arthritis.  Certain medications including Visine (“get-the-red-out”) drops, anti-depressants, antihistamines, and birth control pills and can also play a role in the development of this condition. The first way to treat dry eyes is through moisturizing eye drops (ex. Refresh, Systane, Optive, or Blink drops) used two to four times a day.   A nighttime ophthalmic ointment may then be added and can be prescribed based on your individual needs.  Tiny plugs can be inserted to close the tear ducts if the above strategies prove ineffective. This is an easy in-office procedure that can be done within a few minutes. In addition, prescription eye drops (ex. Restasis) may be used to alleviate the inflammation of the tear-producing glands in the eye.  Nutritional supplements (ex. flax seed oil) may also be of benefit.

What is blepharitis?

Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelids. It usually affects the margins (edges) of the eyelids. It is usually not serious, but may become an uncomfortable, irritating problem. Blepharitis usually affects both eyes and is typically chronic (lasts longer than 6 weeks). Blepharitis may make the eyelids look inflamed, red and slightly swollen.  Sometimes tiny flakes appear on the eyelids which look like small flakes of dandruff. Crusts may develop at the base of eyelashes. The exact cause of blepharitis is not known but it has a tendency to flare and then ease off in severity. If you get blepharitis, you are likely to always have a tendency to have it. There is no cure for blepharitis as the inflammation tends to recur. However, symptoms can usually be eased with regular treatment of warm compresses and diluted baby shampoo scrubs. Antibiotic eye ointment or drops may be advised if an eyelid becomes infected.  Artificial tears may be advised as well, as patients with blepharitis may have dry eye syndrome. Blepharitis may contribute to the formation of chalazia.

What is a chalazion?

A chalazion is a small lump which often has inflammation (redness and swelling) in any one of the four eyelids. An enlargement is often felt near the margin of a lid due to swelling in one of the eyelid oil glands.  Chalazia form when the gland openings become clogged with oily secretions and debris. A chalazion is not an infection from bacteria.  Chalazia often require prescription medicine so therefore require an exam.

What is astigmatism?

 It is an abnormality in which the optical surfaces of the eye (cornea and / or lens) are shaped more like a football (oval) rather than a basketball (round).  Astigmatism is the most common optical problem after myopia (nearsightedness) and hyperopia (farsightedness).  When it is uncorrected, astigmatism blurs and warps vision at distances near, intermediate and far. Glasses or contact lenses may be prescribed to correct for astigmatism so that patients’ vision is as clear as possible.

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