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Questions About Our Practice

Is Vista Eye Care a chain or franchise?

Vista Eye Care was founded in 2010 by the husband and wife team of Dr. Brian Abert, O.D. and Dr. Deanna Pedroza, O.D.  They shared a dream to start a patient-centered eye care office offering a full range of services to patients of all ages.  Vista Eye Care is not a chain or a franchise and instead answers only to our wonderful patients!

What specialty clinics do you offer your patients?

Vista Eye Care has a wide variety of services that we offer our patients and we are most proud of our specialty clinics.  Our specialty clinics include Dry Eye, Glaucoma, Myopia Management, and Specialty Contact Lens fittings.

What is your Mission Statement?

“Healthy eyes and great vision through compassionate, preventative eye care.”

What technologies do you use to treat your patients?

Vista Eye Care prides itself on its commitment to patient care through the latest medical eye technologies.  We use retinal imaging, optical coherence tomography (OCT), visual field testing, ocular ultrasound, macular pigment testing, meibography, corneal topography, LipiFlow and tonometry among other technologies to treat our patients.

What should I bring to my eye exam?

If you are a new patient to us, it is useful to bring previous eye health records (if you have them handy, though this is not required) and your previous glasses (including sunglasses, computer glasses, or other specialty eyewear if you have any).  If you are using any over-the-counter or prescription eye medications, please also bring those to your appointment.

Contact Lenses

Should I sleep in my contact lenses?

The simple answer here is “no!”  Contact lens wear is very safe when contact lenses are worn properly.  The trend in eye care is to fit patients in daily disposable contact lenses which are the most hygienic of contact lens wear.  These lenses are worn during the day, and then discarded at the end of the day so no cleaning processes or solutions are needed.  Due to preference or prescription, some patients still need to wear reusable lenses.  When these lenses are slept in, the risk of a serious infection known as a corneal ulcer goes up dramatically.  In fact, most patients with corneal ulcers admit to having slept in their contact lenses.  Sleeping in contact lenses also decreases patient comfort.

Are there contact lenses that can let me see far and near?

Just like there are progressive lenses for eyeglasses, there are “multifocal” contact lenses that can help patients with presbyopia see clearly at multiple distances.

What are Ortho-K or CRT lenses?

Ortho-K lenses are special retainer contact lenses that are worn at night to gently reshape the cornea.  Wearing Ortho-K lenses eliminates the need for wearing glasses during the daytime.  This is especially useful for patients that are active in sports in which glasses wear is impractical (football, swimming, etc.).  The long-term benefit of Ortho-K is that besides correcting vision temporarily, it is also the most effective means of Myopia Management and is part of Vista Eye Care’s Myopia Management program.

Do scleral lenses treat keratoconus?

Patients with keratoconus often have to wear specialty-fit contact lenses to see their very best.  Scleral lenses are large diameter gas permeable (hard) lenses that are very comfortable and provide excellent vision.  While wearing scleral lenses doesn’t make keratoconus go away, it often corrects vision very well while those lenses are in place.

Do you fit specialty contact lenses?

Our doctors fit a wide variety of specialty lenses including lenses for post-refractive surgery eyes, post-RK corneas, keratoconus, pellucid marginal degeneration, dry eye, high astigmatism, post PKP (corneal transplant), multifocal lenses, aphakic, and high prescription eyes.

What brands of soft contact lens do you fit?

We have a tremendous variety of lenses that we match to patients based on their vision and eye health needs.  Some of the latest contact lens brands include multifocal lens designs and lenses that block blue and ultraviolet light.  Please discuss which contact lenses would work best for your needs with your doctor.

Eye Exams

How often do I need an eye exam?

We recommend that patients be seen every year for their annual comprehensive eye and vision examination.  There are many eye diseases that do not have symptoms and that are all easier to manage when identified earlier.  It is also useful to have a yearly eye exam because that gives your eye doctor the opportunity to perfect your vision for home, work, school, and for whatever it is that you do for fun!

Do I still need an eye exam even if I see good?

There are many eye diseases that don’t have any symptoms in their earliest stages.  Whether subtle optic nerve changes leading to glaucoma, macular changes leading to macular degeneration, or just a normal shift of vision that needs to be accounted for in your vision correction, a yearly visit to the eye doctor is always a good idea!

How is vision measured in children too young to speak?

To measure a child’s eyeglass prescription, our doctors use a technique called retinoscopy which painlessly shines a light into the patient’s eye to create a retinal light reflex that can be read and neutralized.  We also have several instruments that can measure eyeglass prescriptions objectively (that is, without any input from the patient).  The doctor will use a combination of the data collected from their retinoscopy and the data collected from instrumentation to determine the patient’s eyeglass prescription.

Children’s Eye Care

When should children get their first eye exam?

We recommend that children get their first eye exam as part of the American Optometric Association’s InfantSEE program at 6-12 months of age.  This early life eye exam allows our doctors to rule out congenital diseases like glaucoma and cataracts as well as to check the child’s glasses prescription and eye functionality.  It isn’t very often that babies need glasses, but when glasses are prescribed to young children, it serves to help prevent amblyopia and to help assure normal development of the visual system.

What is amblyopia?

Amblyopia (known more commonly as “lazy eye”) is the loss or lack of development of vision that is unrelated to any eye health problem.  The brain, for different reasons, does not acknowledge the images seen by the amblyopic eye.  Reduced vision due to amblyopia is not correctable with lenses alone.  It is important that your child receives a thorough optometric exam early in life to prevent amblyopia.  Amblyopia is generally the result of poor early visual development usually occurring before the age of eight.  It is estimated that 2-4% of children have amblyopia.

How does amblyopia affect vision?

Normally, the images sent by each eye to the brain are identical.  When they differ too much, the brain learns to ignore the poor image sent by one eye and uses only the good eye.  The vision of the eye that is ignored becomes weaker from disuse.

At what age can a child start wearing contact lenses?

Most patients wear contact lenses for recreation or because they prefer not having to wear glasses.  The average age for this traditional type of contact lens wear is probably around 12 years old, though more mature patients can often start wearing contact lenses before that.  For patients in Ortho-K programs for Myopia Management, much younger ages are often considered as the myopia-reducing ability of Ortho-K lenses represents the strongest myopia prevention modality.

If I wear glasses, does that mean that my child will as well?

The genetics of refractive error is not precisely understood, but certainly for myopia (nearsightedness), having myopic parents is a risk for the child developing myopia as well.


What brands of eyeglass frames do you carry?

Vista Eye Care is an independent optometry office and as such we are able to carry a wide variety of frame brands.  Unlike chain stores and big box stores, we are not limited to the standard corporate frame fodder and can instead carry high quality, fashionable eyeglass and sunglass frames to fit any style and budget.  Please see one of our friendly opticians in our Optical department, or visit our website to browse our current eyeglass frame collections.

What is the best kind of glasses frame?

Eyeglass frames hold the lenses in place.  An ideal eyeglass frame is sturdy, fits comfortably, and is easily adjusted.  Specific considerations for eyeglass frames include the amount of astigmatism and vision correction the lenses have, as well as the specific lens design for the patient.  Our opticians are experts at frame selection, and can help you arrive at the perfect frame selection.  We have frames for all price points, and all of our frames include a warranty.

Are getting my glasses online a good idea?

The American Optometric Association warns against buying eyeglasses online and found that nearly half of all glasses ordered online had either prescription errors or failed to meet minimum safety standards.  While convenient, there are many measurements that need to be made specific to the frame selected to best optimize vision for prescription and personal visual needs.  There have been a tremendous number of innovations in vision correction in areas of lens design, materials, and health-related lens treatments.  Purchasing glasses online sets your most precious of senses back decades, and with no accountability for lens prescription accuracy or quality.

What is a progressive lens?

A progressive lens is an eyeglass lens design that allows patients to see clearly at all distances.  The same pair of glasses can be used for reading, computer use, and driving.  Unlike a bifocal or trifocal, vision in a progressive isn’t limited to a set number of distances, and the gradient power distribution in the lens makes wearing the lenses comfortable and easy.  There are many progressive designs in the world, and Vista Eye Care’s progressive lenses are the best available.  Don’t let your experience with low-end chain store progressive lenses discourage you – modern, digital progressive addition lenses offer fantastic, uncompromising vision.

Are sunglasses important to wear outdoors?

The sun is the most intense source of radiation for the majority of people and the ultraviolet light it creates leads to the oxidation of eye tissues.  This process can result in early cataracts and macular degeneration.  To prevent eye disease when you are older, it is always advised to wear sun protection outdoors.

Is an antiglare coating really needed on glasses?

An antiglare or antireflective coating on glasses makes the lenses more transparent for the wearer and the person viewing the wearer.  Your vision will be sharp even in low light conditions or while working at a computer screen.  The antiglare coating also acts as a scratch resistant coating, and serves to warranty the lenses against scratches.  We generally recommend antiglare coatings on all of our patients eyewear.

Preventative Eye Care

Does nutrition play a part in my eye health?

Good nutrition is crucial for good eye health.  While some nutrients (i.e. Vitamin A) help with visual function, others provide a means of protection.  A group of nutrients called “carotenoids” (zeaxanthin and lutein) are believed to help prevent damage that leads up to macular degeneration.  We screen our patients to determine their risk for macular degeneration, and recommend dietary supplements to those patients at high risk for the disease.

How do people go blind?

According to the CDC, 1.8 million Americans aged 40 and over have macular degeneration and 20.5 million Americans have cataracts.  Countless others also suffer from glaucoma, corneal disease, and retinal disease, all of which are blinding eye diseases.

What is the difference between a vision screening and an eye exam?

A vision screening (such as those done at visits to your primary care physician, or at a school screening) assesses the visual function of the participant in an effort to direct those with vision problems to a doctor’s office for a full eye exam.  While vision screenings are useful, they should not be considered a substitute for a complete comprehensive eye and vison examination.  Vision screenings can often miss functional vision problems, health issues, and farsighted refractive error.  We recommend an actual yearly eye check-up to be sure your eyes and vision are healthy and seeing well.

What is blue light and is it really harmful?

Blue light is the short wavelength light that we can see, sitting right next to ultraviolet light on the electromagnetic spectrum.  This short wavelength light gets focused on the macula which may lead to macular degeneration in some patients.  Blue light exposure near bedtime can also disrupt a patient’s sleep-wake cycle and may lead to reduced sleep quality and resulting fatigue.  The majority of our patients’ eyeglasses come with blue blocking technology to prevent eye disease and to increase comfort.

Should I use generic blue light blocking glasses?

Generic blue-blocking glasses have lens qualities which vary greatly.  The majority of the generic blue blocking glasses patients have shown us have no power in them at all, meaning they don’t relax your focus when you are working at a screen.  While blue light can lead to fatigue by reducing the quality of sleep and may also lead to eye disease, having a lens with the appropriate power (and thus focal length) is the far more crucial parameter of the lenses.  Many of our computer using patients wear glasses during their work day to protect their eyes from blue light as well as to save their eyes the effort of having to hold a near focus all day.

How can I prevent glaucoma?

The vision loss risks of glaucoma can be minimized by having your eyes checked regularly.  Each year we check our patients for early signs of glaucoma by testing side vision, intraocular pressure, and optic nerve health.

Why do I need my eyes dilated?

We dilate eyes to check the health of the back part of the eye, namely the retina.  At an annual comprehensive eye and vision examination, we rule out retinal disease including tears and detachments of the retina, glaucoma, and macular degeneration.

Is taking Plaquenil (hydroxychloroquine) bad for your eyes?

This commonly prescribed medication is used to treat some autoimmune conditions.  Over time, it can cause damage to retina, specifically at the best-seeing part of the retina, the macula.  The resulting disease, known as “maculopathy,” can cause a permanent loss of vision.  We recommend that patients taking this medication have their eyes checked each year with some specific testing (OCT, visual field assessment, and color vision assessment) to watch for early signs of maculopathy.  Our doctors will report their findings to your primary care physician or your rheumatologist.

Myopia Management

What is Myopia Management and what does it do?

Myopia Management, also known as “myopia control,” is the process of reducing the amount of myopic development in a young patient. While some myopia is attributed to genetics, it is believed that at least half of a patient’s potential myopic progression is influenced by the environment. Through the use of special vision correction and/or topical medication, a child’s end-point myopia can be reduced. This reduction in myopia can help prevent numerous diseases, improve quality of life, and help assure a lifetime of healthy eyes and great vision. Patients in a Myopia Management program will typically continue to get more myopic, though at a rate less so than those not undergoing treatment.

How is Myopia Management different from prescribing regular glasses and contact lenses?

Prescribing single-vision glasses for children with myopia doesn’t appear to slow the progression of myopia.  Glasses are necessary as a back-up to Myopia Management efforts, but wearing distance vision correction will only temporarily result in clear vision, and will not slow the progression of myopia.  Myopia Management involves the active measurement of both glasses prescription and length of the eye (“axial length”) in order to best optimize the treatment modalities being used.

Is a small amount of myopia prevention worth striving for?

Even a small amount of reduced myopia is well worth the effort.  A recent study found that reducing a patient’s final level of myopia by 1.00 D of power reduces the lifelong risk of myopic maculopathy by 40% regardless of the final level of myopia.

Can multiple treatment modalities be used in a Myopia Management program?

When it comes to Myopia Management, every child progresses differently.  For the majority of our Myopia Management patients, a single treatment is adequate to slow their myopic progression.  If the patient’s myopia is still increasing at a substantial rate, a second treatment method may be introduced.

Eye Disease

Can diabetes affect a person’s vision?

Diabetic disease of the retina is called “diabetic retinopathy” and is a common eye disease.  According to the CDC, the prevalence of diabetic retinopathy affects almost one-third of adults over age 40 years with diabetes.  Regular eye care can help identify this disease early and good blood sugar control is thought to reduce the frequency and severity of this disease.

Do you do diabetic eye exams?

Dilated diabetic eye exams are among the many services we offer at Vista Eye Care.  We dilate the eyes to get a better view of the retina at the back of the eye.  We then check the eyes carefully for signs of diabetes and communicate what we find to your primary care physician or endocrinologist.

What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is an optic nerve disease that results in the loss of vision.  Vision loss is often unnoticed at first because it starts in the periphery (i.e. side vision) but it can result in complete loss of vision.  There are no known means of preventing glaucoma, though with early diagnosis it is often manageable.  We check every patient at their annual comprehensive eye and vision examination for signs of glaucoma.  If there is any concern that you may have this disease, we will have you back for further testing.

Why are my eyes red?

A common pink or red eye refers specifically to a viral infection of the outermost layer of the eye, the conjunctiva. Infection or inflammation of the conjunctiva is known as a “conjunctivitis.” Conjunctivitis can cause watering of the eyes and mild discomfort, but will generally clear up without incident.  Pink eye can also occur with other eye diseases that may require more active management to effectively resolve.  We encourage all of our patients to visit our office as soon as possible when they, or their child, have a pink or red eye.  Using special dyes and our biomicroscopes, our eye doctors can inspect the surface of the eyes and lids to accurately determine the cause of the disease.  There is no eye drop that will treat every type of red eye, and knowing the cause of the patient’s disease will direct our treatment.  Besides the common viral pink eye, bacterial infection, fungal infection, amoebic infection, ocular allergies, dry eye, ocular foreign bodies, meibomitis, blepharitis, and misdirected eyelashes can all cause red or pink-colored eyes.

What is macular degeneration?

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is an eye disease associated with aging and with ultraviolet light oxidation of retinal tissues.  AMD affects a patient’s central vision and can have a negative impact on activities such as reading, recognizing faces, and driving.  It is among the leading causes of blindness in the United States.

What causes an eyelid twitch?

An eyelid twitch, also known as “eyelid myokymia” is a common eye condition that is characterized by involuntary contracting, or twitching, of the eyelids.  Our eye doctors typically diagnose myokymia based on either the patient’s description of the eyelid twitching, or based on our own observations through the biomicroscope.  Onset of eyelid myokymia can be associated with a variety of factors including caffeine intake (too much or too little in relation to the patient’s own particular habits), stress, lack of sleep, or dehydration.

What is bacterial keratitis?

Bacterial keratitis is a serious infection of the cornea.  It can also be referred to as a corneal ulcer.  The most common symptoms include redness, pain, tearing, discharge, and sensitivity to light.  Keratitis commonly causes blurred vision as well.  Sometimes patients can see a white spot on their eye.  The bacteria Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa are the three most common causes for this type of infection in the United States.  Corneal ulcers are associated with over-wearing contact lenses, poorly-fitting contact lenses, improper cleaning of contact lenses, swimming with contact lenses, blepharitis, and eye trauma.

What is an iritis or uveitis?

Uveitis is an inflammation of the middle layer of the eye (the uvea) which consists of the iris and ciliary body.  The most common symptoms include redness, pain, watering or tearing, burning sensation, and sensitivity to light.  Uveitis may also cause blurred vision.  The most common cause is trauma.  There are many systemic causes including inflammatory conditions and autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, tuberculosis, syphilis, and sarcoidosis to name a few.

What is allergic conjunctivitis?

Allergic conjunctivitis is the acute or chronic collection of symptoms and signs associated with an allergic reaction on the outer covering of the eye and lids, the conjunctiva.  Just as systemic allergies can result in the symptoms of hay fever, the same reactions can result in these “eye allergies.”  Patient often report symptoms of red, bloodshot eyes, watery eyes, and itching.  It is most common in the Spring and Fall, though some patients suffer from this disease all year long.  Systemic anti-allergy pills typically have a limited effect on eye allergies.

What is shingles?

Shingles is a viral infection caused by the herpes zoster virus.  It often causes a painful rash that results in blisters that eventually scab over.  The herpes zoster virus is also responsible for chicken pox.  It can be contagious but can only be passed to others who have not had chicken pox.  A patient that has been newly infected with the herpes zoster virus will then develop chicken pox, not shingles.

How does shingles affect the eye?

Shingles doesn’t always affect the eye but when it does the medical term is “Herpes Zoster Ophthalmicus,” or “HZO.”  HZO causes a skin rash and discomfort on one side of the forehead and scalp and usually does not cross the midline of the body.  Shingles may involve the eyelid or skin around the eye.  It can also affect the eyeball itself.  Symptoms may include redness, eye pain, blurred vision, burning, tearing, eyelid swelling, and sensitivity to light along with the painful skin rash.  Some patients feel a tingling sensation before the rash appears.  Because HZO is potentially sight-threatening, it is important to get in to have your eyes checked as soon as possible for successful management.

If I have keratoconus, should I get surgery?

Keratoconus is a progressive corneal condition that results in distorted vision and high amounts of astigmatism.  For patients that show aggressive keratoconic progression year to year, we recommend a procedure called “Corneal Cross Linking” which may stabilize the cornea.  For some patients that have scarred corneas as a result of keratoconic progression, a corneal transplant is the only option to achieve better vision.

What are cataracts and can they be prevented or treated?

Cataracts are a consequence of exposure to short wavelength (blue and ultraviolet) light and can also be caused by certain medications.  Patients with diabetes tend to get cataracts earlier than most patients.  To prevent cataracts, it is important to protect your eyes form the sun, wearing good quality ultraviolet light blocking sunwear outdoors.  A balanced diet with lots of antioxidants is also helpful.  Cataract surgery is a common ocular surgery that can remove the cataracts.

What is a stye?

A stye (also known as a “hordeolum”) is a bacterial infection of the meibomian glands of the lower or upper eyelids.  These are common eye infections that are typically caused by Staphylococcus which is among the normal skin flora.  Early treatment is necessary to reduce the chances of the infection worsening or leaving behind scar tissue.

How is a stye typically treated?

Because the stye is the result of an internal eyelid infection, oral antibiotics must be used to introduce treatment from the inside-out. Topical eye drops claiming to treat styes are not effective as the infection is below the skin, not on the ocular surface. Sometimes, topical ophthalmic ointments can be used to treat blepharitis (an infection of the eyelids which often is found in patients with styes) which can lead to stye formation, but the treatment of the stye itself often requires systemic antibiotics.

Dry Eye

What kind of over-the-counter eye drops should I use to treat dry eyes?

There are two general types of dry eye, and each requires a very different treatment.  Evaporative dry eye is the most common, and is due to having tears of poor quality.  This can result in watery or burning eyes.  To treat evaporative dry eye (also known as “Meibomian Gland Dysfunction”), we need to manage the health of the oil glands in the lids that contribute to tear quality.  Eye drops really don’t help evaporative dry eye since the majority of drops contain only thickened saline.  Much less common is true dry eye where the lacrimal glands don’t produce enough tears.  Those patients are often prescribed non-preserved artificial tears.

Is there a better way to treat dry eye than just using eye drops?

To determine the type of dry eye a person has, we perform a specialized exam in our dry eye clinic called an “Ocular Surface Disease Examination,” or OSDE.  At the OSDE appointment, we image the oil glands in the lids, perform tear production assessment, use vital dyes to assess the ocular surface quality, and prescribe a thorough treatment plan to help resolve the symptoms.  Eye drops are not commonly prescribed as part of this regimen, though some patients do benefit from use of eye drops.

What is LipiFlow and what does it treat?

LipiFlow is an instrument developed by Johnson and Johnson which can treat meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD).  MGD is the leading cause of eye dryness as it results in poor quality tears.  This in-office procedure takes 12 minutes and studies show it is an effective means of treating MGD-caused dry eye in most patients for 3 or more years.

General Eye Care Knowledge

Do I have to sit for the annoying air puff test at my eye exam?

The “air puff” test measures intraocular pressure, and it is important to measure your intraocular pressure each year as a means of screening for glaucoma.  There are several ways to measure intraocular pressure, so if you are apprehensive about the air puff, please let your technician and doctor know so that they can use an alternative method of measurement.

Do I need to worry about “floaters” in my vision?

Floaters in the vision are usually normal if they appear in a small number and are not accompanied by the perception of flashing lights.  If the floaters haven’t been investigated by an eye doctor before, or if they are new onset, you should have a dilated retinal examination to make sure that you don’t have retinal disease.  Tears and detachments of the retina are often accompanied by floater perceptions in vision and should be ruled out.

What does “legally blind” mean?

Legally blind designation refers to a person whose uncorrected (i.e. without contact lenses or glasses) vision is 20/200 or worse in their better-seeing eye.

Is LASIK a good surgery?

LASIK and PRK are corneal refractive surgeries, and a successful outcome for those procedures depends on the patient’s age, refractive error (glasses prescription), and corneal parameters.  Many of our patients who have corneal refractive surgery are very pleased with their outcomes and the key to a successful procedure is the screening and discussion of the limitations and side effects of those procedures.   We offer a no-cost LASIK / PRK screening to determine if you are a good candidate for those procedures.

Can you do imaging instead of dilating eyes?

While wide-field (OPTOS) imaging is part of all of our eye exams at Vista Eye Care, it sometimes doesn’t replace the need to dilate the patients’ pupils.  For patients with known eye disease, diabetes, or eyes at risk for disease, our doctors want to very thoroughly view the back of the eyes and make sure everything is healthy.  These at-risk patients need both imaging and a dilated retinal examination.

Why does using a computer irritate the eyes?

Viewing a computer screen often makes the eyes work harder.  As a result, the unique characteristics and high visual demands of computer-viewing make many patients susceptible to the development of vision-related symptoms.  Uncorrected vision problems can increase the severity of symptoms.  Computer users tend to blink considerably less while viewing computer screens which can lead to dry eye issues.  People who have an eyeglass or contact lens prescription may find it’s not suitable for the specific viewing distances of their computer screen.  Some people tilt their heads at odd angles because their glasses aren’t designed for looking at a computer, or they bend toward the screen in order to see it clearly.  Their postures can result in muscle spasms or pain in the neck, shoulder, or back.

What is presbyopia?

Presbyopia is a vision condition in which the crystalline lens inside the eye loses its flexibility, making it difficult to focus on close objects. It typically starts affecting patients around 40 years of age. The definition of “close” depends on what kind of hobbies one has and what one does for a living, though it is usually anything within about 10 feet.

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Vista Eye Care

13695 Colorado Blvd. Thornton, CO 80602
Phone: (303) 450-2020
Fax: (303) 920-1440

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