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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I buy  contact lenses from Hawthorne Vision Center?
We do not sell contact lenses to the general public. This is a service that we provide only to our own patients. Even if you have a valid contact lens prescription from another office, our doctors feel it is a liability issue and therefore they decline to sell contact lenses unless they have personally performed the contact lens fitting.

Can I fill my glasses prescription at Hawthorne Vision Center? 
We are happy to fill valid outside prescriptions for glasses. We are not able to fill expired prescriptions. While there are no federal restrictions regulating mandatory expiration dates on eyeglass prescriptions, only the prescribing doctor has the right to extend the expiration date of a prescription. Filling an expired prescription of any sort, be it glasses, contact lenses, or pharmaceuticals, is highly illegal and would jeopardize our license.

Do I need an appointment to look at or purchase glasses?
If your prescription is current (within the last two years or as stated by the doctor), you do not need an appointment to purchase glasses. You are welcome to come in anytime during our normal office hours to look at glasses.

Do I need an appointment to pick up glasses?
Not usually. If you purchased a complete pair of glasses (frames and lenses) you are welcome to pick them up anytime within our normal office hours. If you purchased lenses only, you still don’t need an appointment but it would be best to pick them up when our edging optician, Mateo, is available. Mateo is usually here Tuesday thru Friday until 5pm and most Saturdays. Please call ahead to confirm Saturday availability.

Do I need an appointment to see a doctor for an exam?
Yes, our doctors’ schedules are frequently full, which makes walk-in appointments difficult to obtain. However, cancellations do occur and there may be a last minute opening in the schedule, so please call if you’d like to come in within 24 to 48 hours. We’ll do our best to accommodate you.

Do I need an appointment to see a doctor for a medical problem or condition?
If you have an eye injury or suspect that you are having a medical eye emergency, please call us immediately. Our staff is trained to determine what symptoms indicate a possible eye emergency and will schedule you according to urgency. Often, we can see you for a brief emergency appointment the same day as your call if it’s a serious medical problem.

Does Hawthorne Vision Center offer a payment plan?
Yes, of sorts. Services for exams and medical visits are due at the time services are provided. We require 50% down payment on product on the date your order is placed. The other half is due when the product is dispensed to you. If you need more time to arrange financing, we can arrange for your bill to be paid over three months. Please ask the front desk for more details.

Does Hawthorne Vision Center offer a cash discount?
If we are not billing insurance, we are happy to extend a 20% savings on eye exams, contact lens services, and medical services. We are also able to offer a 20% savings towards complete sets of glasses that are not billed to insurance, and on any second (or third) pairs of glasses. We are NOT able to offer 20% off on contact lenses but a savings is offered on an annual suppy of contact lenses.  Please ask the front desk for details on special savings for returning patients. We also offer a referral program: when you send your friends and family to see us, they’ll receive great care and you’ll get a $35 referral coupon. The coupons are good for three years, may be used for any services or materials we offer, and are cumulative.

Does Hawthorne Vision Center accept insurance?
Yes, the center does accept many vision AND medical insurance plans. Following is a brief list (not all-inclusive) of the most common plans we accept:

  • Vision Service Plan (VSP)
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • Providence Good Health Plan
  • ODS
  • United Healthcare
  • Lifewise
  • Great West
  • Aetna
  • Kaiser (Added Choice ONLY)

We are NOT able to bill:

EyeMed, Spectera, Davis Vision, and most Kaiser plans.

Why do I need full exam with dilation? Why can’t I just get glasses?
A comprehensive dilated eye exam is a painless procedure in which an eye doctor examines your eyes for common vision problems and signs of disease. Dilating drops open the pupil wide and allow the doctor to view the back the eye where most of the anatomical structures are located. Without dilation only about 20% of the back of the eye is visible. After the drops take effect, the doctor can get a much better view of your retina, optic nerve, and blood vessels. Dilated eye examinations can also detect potentially treatable blinding eye diseases, ocular manifestations of systemic disease, and signs of tumours or other anomalies of the brain, many of which have no symptoms. For this reason, Hawthorne Vision Center recommends having an eye exam every two years. Accordingly, the expiration dates on our prescriptions is also set to 2 years or 24 months. Remember, without having a comprehensive dilated exam, there is simply no way to tell if your eyes are healthy.

How often do I need an exam?
Young and healthy adults usually need an eye exam every 2 years. “Young” usually means less than 65 years old; “healthy” means no systemic problems like Diabetes, Hypertension, Lupus, Cancer, etc. As noted below, children under 18 should have an eye exam yearly. Seniors over 65 years of age or anyone with a systemic or chronic health issue should have a yearly exam.

Why do I need a contact lens check yearly?
Determining the health of your eyes requires a doctor to actually view the contact lens on your eye each year. You may be seeing fine and not noticing any irritation but, using a microscope, doctors can see problems that have no symptoms. Some of these problems can lead to scarring or blindness well before they cause you any pain. Since contacts rest directly against your eye the risk for infection and serious disease is much higher for contact wearers than for non-wearers. Accordingly, the FDA has classified contact lenses as a medical device. Hawthorne Vision Center sets an expiration date on our contact lens prescriptions of one year.

When should my child have his or her first exam?
A full exam with an optometrist can insure that your child’s eyes are healthy, working together, and seeing normally. Children don’t have the life experience to know their vision isn’t clear. The center sees patients as young as three months if needed to investigate a specific concern or an abnormal appearing eye. In general, a child’s first eye exam should be between 6 – 12 months of age, according to the American Optometric Association. The next exam should be at 3 years old and again at 5-6 years old. Thereafter, yearly eye exams are recommended until age 18, even if your child does not appear to be having visual difficulties. If your child has not had an eye exam and is starting school, we encourage you to make an appointment as soon as possible. Recent research has linked many learning difficulties to visual coordination problems. We participate in InfantSEE, a federal program that provides a free exam for infants up to twelve months old. Dr Alan Love is residency trained (meaning he completed additional training and schooling) in pediatric optometry and sees all of our patients under six years old. Drs Uhlig and Friberg are happy to see children, ages six and up.

When should I see an ophthalmologist versus and optometrist?
Simply put, an ophthalmologist is licensed to perform surgery and manage advanced or severe cases of eye disease. An optometrist is licensed to treat eye disease and prescribe medications as well as providing ‘routine’ services related to glasses and contacts. So if your eye is red, irritated, watery, itchy, or painful; if your vision is blurry or obscured; if you’re seeing spots, flashes, floaters, or rainbows; if you have moderate cataracts or glaucoma or dry macular degeneration or non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy? All of these are within the scope of treatment of the optometric physicians at Hawthorne Vision Center. Our center is particularly lucky to have three residency-trained optometrists on staff, so we feel confident that we can provide the highest level of care available within the scope of the Oregon optometrist license. If we are not able to help you or you require eye surgery, we will be able to refer you to the correct ophthalmology specialist in an expedited manner. The center also provides diagnostic testing where appropriate.

When is it an eye emergency?
Our doctors recommend calling us immediately for any of the following problems:
1) If your eye is red and painful, especially if you’ve been sleeping in contact lenses.
2) If you have experienced vision loss or if your vision appears to be obstructed in anyway (as though a dark cloud or curtain was covering part of your field of vision).
3) If you have an object lodged in your eye or if something has splashed in your eye (chemical or hot liquid).
4) If you are near-sighted and you have a sudden onset of flashes or light or new floaters.
If you suspect that you are having an eye emergency, please call our office directly. Our staff is trained to determine what symptoms indicate a possible emergency and can schedule you accordingly. We can frequently see you the same day for a medical office visit and our fees are significantly lower then the average emergency room visit.

Can I get a copy of my exam/record?
Your exam data is always available to you. Our forms are proprietary, meaning the format in which the data is recorded is privately owned and cannot by copied or used without permission. Therefore, Hawthorne Vision Center may prefer to send a letter summarizing all your exam data, rather than simply copying the exam form.

Do glasses have to be dark to protect against UV (ultraviolet rays)?
No. All materials can be coated against UV regardless of tint or color. In addition, some materials have inherent UV protection such as Phoenix or Transitions. Transitions actually darken in response to UV rays and remain virtually clear inside. Cheap, dark sunglasses that don’t block UV are actually worse then un-tinted lenses. The dark lens causes the pupil to get bigger but actually lets in more of the unblocked UV light. If you wonder whether your $5 gas station sunglasses are blocking UV, bring them in: we can “UV flash” them and check how much UV they’re really blocking!