the eye institute of west florida

Frequently Asked Questions

Please find a list of common questions and answers asked by our patients below. You can either type out your question in the box below or view the F.A.Q. (frequently asked questions) categories below.

 


Available F.A.Q. Categories:

Click the category name to expand the FAQs relating to that topic. Click the “+” sign next to the question and to reveal the answer.

Billing & Insurance (1)

Below is a current full list of accepted insurances. Updated 1/1/2021.

  • Aetna (PPO, POS, HMO, EPO, QHP/off-exchange only, (Aetna Medicare PPO and Medicare Choice Plan HMO-POS only)
  • AHP (Accountable Health Plan) (PPO)
  • American Health Resource Network (PPO – includes Galaxy and National Provider Network)
  • Bay Care Plus Medicare Advantage HMO (Complete, Rewards, Premier – Medical Only, No Routine)
  • Bay Care (Exclusive Network through Cigna)
  • Beech Street (Multi Plan)
  • Blue Cross/Blue Shield FL (Traditional-PPS, BC Advantage 65, PPO, Blue Care/Health Options HMO, Network Blue, Blue Options,
  • Blue Medicare PPO, Blue Medicare PFFS, Blue Medicare HMO – (FL cards will say “Florida Blue”)
  • Champus/Tricare (see Humana Military)
  • Cigna (PPO & HMO), Cigna Select, Cigna Connect, and Local Plus (No Medicare, No Disney HMO)
  • Corvel/Alliance (w/c, group, auto)
  • Coventry Health Care (no Medicare plans; group & W/C only) (First Health Mail Handlers)
  • DCA (Direct Care America) (PPO)
  • Eyemed (ECPA) (vision plan)
  • Evolutions
  • Focus Health Care (w/c, auto, group)
  • FPN (Fortified Provider Network) (PPO)
  • GEHA
  • GE Wellness Plan/GE Financial Assurance (see Vision Care Advantage)
  • Global Health Claim Services (PPO)
  • GHI (PPO) / Emblem Health
  • Golden Rule (though United Healthcare)
  • Great West Health Care (HMO, PPO, POS) (merged with Cigna)
  • Healthsmart Network/Interplan Health Group
  • Heritage Summit Health Care Inc.
  • Humana (Commercial plans only – No Medicare plans; Medical Only – No Routine, No Marketplace Plans)
  • Human Military (Champus, TriCare)
  • Managed Care Strategies (PPO, Group, W/C)
  • Medicaid Managed Medical Assistance (MMA) Plans (StayWell, Sunshine Health)
  • Medicare & RR Medicare
  • Molina Healthcare (Medicare Only)
  • Multi-Plan (Network) (Beech Street/PHCS)
  • MVP Healthcare PPO
  • Neighborly Care Network
  • Oxford Health Plan (thru United Healthcare – Choice and Choice Plus networks only)
  • PFFS Plans (Private Fee for Service – Medicare replacement – offered by many companies)
  • PHCS (Private Health Care Systems) (PPO) (Part of Multiplan Network)
  • Prime Health Services (PPO)
  • Procura Management (previously called QRS/VINCAM)
  • PVP (Protective Vision Plan) (vision care discount plan)
  • Staywell (WellCare) (Medicaid plan thru Premier)
  • Suncoast Pace
  • Sunshine Health (HMO MEDICAID, Allwell Medicare Advantage HMO and Ambetter Marketplace plan thru Envolve)
  • Today’s Options (through Pyramid Life)
  • United Health Care (PPO, HMO, Focus, Secure Horizons, Choice, Select, EPO, POS, Evercare, Community, Navigate, Core, Compass)
  • USA Managed Care (w/c, auto, group, HMO, PPO)
  • Vision Care Advantage (vision plan)
  • VCI (Vision Care Inc., for routine eye exams)
  • VCP (Vision Care Plan through Humana; routine service only)
  • Vision Service Plan (VSP) (vision plan)

Cataract Surgery (17)

Many people experience the phenomenon known as “Second Eye Syndrome” after cataract surgery.

Second Eye Syndrome is an occurrence that is seen with most patients. The patient feels their second eye surgery is completely different than the first eye. Patients will often state, “I don’t remember any of this from last time”, “you didn’t do this with my other eye”, or “I was asleep for this last time”. We do each procedure the same and as state above, patients are not asleep for this procedure as we need them to cooperate. The syndrome can best be described by saying it is like watching a movie for the second time. You tend to pick up on a lot more things that second time around. This is coupled with the fact that the “Versed” given to you has short term amnesia (forgetfulness) associated with it. This amnesia may prevent you from remembering everything about the second eye as well.

You will be given a topical anesthesia and intravenous (IV) anesthesia during your cataract surgery.

Topical Anesthesia: You will be given a series of eye drops to both numb the surface of the eye and dilate the pupil. Only the surface of the eye needs to be anesthetized, as that is where the procedure will take place. You will still be able to feel light touch and slight pressure but not pain. Think of going to the dentist office and receiving Novocain, you can feel the dentist working but it does not hurt.

Intravenous (IV) Anesthesia: Although not necessary, Intravenous sedation is often preferred by patients. This is given in order to help the patient relax during the procedure.

The medications given (f you are not allergic) are:

  • Versed: This is an anti-anxiety medication with similar properties to valium. Versed works very quickly and wears off quickly.
  • Fentanyl: This is a narcotic that works will with versed to optimize relaxation and comfort.

All medications are given in incremental doses to achieve a level of sedation and comfort that work for both the patient and the surgeon. You must still be able to hold still and focus on the microscope light during the procedure, you will not be “put asleep.”

No. Anesthesia has advance greatly to keep patient comfortable without causing unwanted side effects. You will feel slight pressure during the procedure but no pain.

This depends on the laser procedure you received.

  • The Laser Peripheral Iridotomy (LPI) or Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT) do not affect vision. There will be no need for glasses prescription changes.
  • If you received a YAG laser procedure, then that depends on what intra-ocular lens (IOL) you received during your cataract surgery. If you had a standard cataract package, wait 2 (two) weeks after the laser procedure to get the most accurate prescription possible.

This depends on the laser procedure you received.

  • If it is a Laser Peripheral Iridotomy (LPI) or Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT), there will be no improvement of vision.
  • If you received a YAG laser procedure, your vision should improve. The laser will clear up the haze that developed after your cataract surgery.

After your cataract surgery, the prescription in your glasses is no longer the correct prescription for you. We recommend you pop out the lens in your eyeglasses on the side of your operative eye after each surgery. After your second surgery, you will have a POMR (Post-Operative Manifest Refraction) visit where you will receive an updated prescription, if applicable. That updated prescription can then be placed in your current eyeglass frames.

In real world terms we have 3 ranges of vision – Distance, middle, and near. We look at objects in these ranges all day long without thinking about it. After cataract surgery we generally correct one range of vision, usually distance, and have to use special technologies to get more.

Examples:


Near Vision – Books, newspapers, your phone, etc.

Intermediate (middle) Vision – Computer, tablets, grocery store shelves, etc.

Distance Vision – Driving, golfing, television, etc.

We have a team approach here at the Eye Institute and the surgeons have personally trained their staff to care for their patients when they cannot personally see each and every patient for their follow ups. You will meet most of us along the way and we are here for you at every stop of the process.

Our cataract specialists Dr. Desai or Dr. Weinstock; depending on who you saw for your visit will be performing your surgery. You may not see them… but they are there providing you with the best surgery possible.

Yes and no depending on the technology used. Basic or standard cataract surgery is covered by your insurance unless you have a co-pay or deductible that you are responsible for. There are technologies that we can use that are not covered by insurance like astigmatism corrections, lasers, or advanced lens choices. Our staff and surgical coordinators will help guide you through this process.

Our goal is to get each patient the best vision that they can possibly have. No surgery is guaranteed 100% successful. Success with cataract surgery is providing you a safe surgery with no complications while completely removing the cataract and placing a lens implant. 20/20 is a goal, not a guarantee, regardless of money spent on surgery, and we do the best we can to get patients to that goal. Sometimes this requires tweaks or other procedures after the initial surgery depending on how each patient’s eye heals. Patients can also have other eye conditions that can prevent them from getting “perfect” vision and we will try and manage these expectations and outcomes with you.

This depends on the technology that we use during your surgery and the package choice that you make. Our surgical counselors and team will help guide you with choosing what’s best for you regardless of price point. Our focus is to help you see as best as you can and match the lens choice and type of surgery to your goals at a price point affordable to you.

Yes, unfortunately, this is for your safety and to ensure the best outcome. You will have around 4-6 weeks of drops that you will need to do. The brands and frequencies can vary depending on insurance coverage and cost. We will help you along the way with what drops to use and how to use them.

When you get home after the procedure your eye may feel irritated, itchy or scratchy, sore, and the vision will more than likely be blurry (could be mild or majorly blurry) – this is all normal. Over the course of the next 3-5 days each day will be better and better. Most often, patients are noticing a big difference the next day even if things are not “perfect” yet. By the end of the first week after surgery most patients are feeling and seeing very well.

No, cataract surgery is typically not painful. Your eye is numbed and there is some mild sedation that we use to keep you comfortable. You may feel some pressure, cold or wetness from the drops, or be aware that things are happening but most people do not feel pain. If you are in pain you are awake enough to let us know during the procedure.

No, we give you a mild sedative to keep you comfortable. You are “sleepy” but not fully out. We do not use general anesthesia for this type of procedure.

Cataract surgery typically takes between 8-10 minutes; sometimes faster. You can expect to be with us on the day of surgery around 1-3 hours. It is an outpatient procedure so you will be going home after.

COVID-19 (7)

We are in this together. Our staff and administration are taking extra precautions throughout our offices to ensure everyone’s safety. In addition to the screening and mask protocols instituted for our patients, we are doing the following:

  • Staff are taking their temperatures and screened for any COVID-19 symptoms prior to starting their shift.
  • Staff are wearing protective gear including face mask, safety glasses, gloves, scrubs and drapes that are either sanitized or discarded each day.
  • Staff are wiping down the exam room including chairs, desk, computer, slit lamp, door handles and light switches after every patient.
  • Staff are wiping down testing equipment before and after every test is administered.
  • Lobby chairs have been arranged for social distancing 6 feet apart.
  • Staff are escorting patients into exam rooms 10 feet apart.

To keep everyone safe, guests will not be allowed in our facility unless needed for translating or assisting you with movement. We apologize for the inconvenience

Upon walking into our facility, you will be asked screener questions. If you answer yes to any of the following, you will be asked to reschedule your appointment in 10 days:

  • Have tested positive or come into contact with COVID-19
  • Traveled by car, air, train or ship in the last month inside or outside the USA
  • Are having any respiratory issues including cough, fever or flu-like symptoms

If you answered no to the above questions, your temperature will be checked with a digital, non-contact thermometer.

If you do not have a fever, you will be asked to wait in your car until you receive a phone call from us to come in.

Yes. If you are experience any any respiratory issues including cough, fever or flu-like symptoms, you will be asked to reschedule your appointment in 10 days.

Yes. If you or someone you have come into contact with tested positive for COVID-19, you will be asked to reschedule your appointment in 10 days.

If you have traveled by car, air, train or ship in the last 10 days inside or outside the USA, you will be asked to reschedule your appointment in 10 days.

Yes. You must bring a mask covering your nose and mouth at all times. This can be a bandana, scarf, or some type of medical mask.

General Information (5)

We have 2 offices located in Tampa. One in the Hyde Park area and the other in the Westchase area.

  • Our Hyde Park (Tampa) office is located at 501 North Howard Avenue, Suite 100, Tampa, FL 33606. The phone number is (813) 253-2727 and the fax number is (813) 253-2729. Direct link to Google Maps for directions: https://goo.gl/maps/tQEWDjkWA2ig8ubn8
  • Our Westchase (Tampa) office is located at 11925 Sheldon Road, Tampa, FL 33626. The phone number is (813) 792-0444 and the fax number is (813) 792-0066. Direct link to Google Maps for directions: https://goo.gl/maps/KhdV5cqScq8Fdck7A

 

Our St. Petersburg office is located at 6133 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg, FL 33710. The phone number is (727) 344-3008 and the fax number is (727) 347-2806.

Direct link to Google Maps for directions: https://goo.gl/maps/xPUchRWz97pGpYZZ9

 

We have instituted a phone tree to connect patients with different departments quickly. Just call our main line at (727) 581-8706 and select the option that pertains to your question(s):

  • Press 1 for COVID Precaution
  • Press 2 for General Information including addresses and fax numbers
  • Press 3 for Medications
  • Press 4 for Billing
  • Press 5 for Medical Records
  • Press 6 for Optical
  • Press 7 for Scheduling
  • Press 8 for Spanish

Our Clearwater office is located at 3220 McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater, FL 33761. Our phone number is (727) 823-8706 and fax number is (727) 451-0756.

Direct link to Google Maps for directions: https://goo.gl/maps/iUfK3YRCBQ63qtWh8

Our Largo office is located at 1225 West Bay Drive, Largo, FL 33770. The phone number is (727) 581-8706 and the fax number is (727) 586-3743.

Direct link to Google Maps for directions: https://goo.gl/maps/bpDKRgbY1nSpZoDs8

 

Glaucoma Surgery (12)

It is very common to have redness, irritation, and blurry vision after your laser procedure. Artificial tears are recommended to help alleviate your discomfort. Use as directed by your physician.

After your laser procedure, you will have no down time or restrictions. You can resume your normal daily activities.

Have your pharmacy call us. There is usually a more economical alternative we can change it to.

You will begin using those drops after your surgery. You will be given written instructions after surgery on how to use all of your drops.

You will be given precise instructions after surgery. This will be discussed with you at one of your post-surgery appointments. DO NOT stop any drops until told to do so by your doctor.

You will receive a phone call from our schedulers the last business day before your surgery date with the exact arrival time. However, expect an early morning arrival time.

This depends on the laser procedure you received.

  • The Laser Peripheral Iridotomy (LPI) or Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT) do not affect vision. There will be no need for glasses prescription changes.
  • If you received a YAG laser procedure, then that depends on what intra-ocular lens (IOL) you received during your cataract surgery. If you had a standard cataract package, wait 2 (two) weeks after the laser procedure to get the most accurate prescription possible.

This depends on the laser procedure you received.

  • If it is a Laser Peripheral Iridotomy (LPI) or Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT), there will be no improvement of vision.
  • If you received a YAG laser procedure, your vision should improve. The laser will clear up the haze that developed after your cataract surgery.

No. Your eye may be irritated, a little blurry, and in the case of a YAG laser procedure, dilated,

Yes. Continue any medication as usual. The only exception is for blood thinners if you are having a Laser Peripheral Iridotomy (LPI) procedure.

This depends on the laser procedure you are having.

  • If it is a Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT) or YAG laser procedure, no preparations are required.
  • If you are having a Laser Peripheral Iridotomy (LPI), you must stop blood thinners 1 (one) week prior. You may need to check with the prescribing doctor if it is safe for you to do so and get cardiac clearance.

This depends on the laser procedure you received.

  • If it is a Laser Peripheral Iridotomy (LPI) or Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT) there are no driving restrictions after the procedure. However, keep in mind your eye may be irritated.
  • If you received a YAG laser procedure, your eyes will be dilated so it depends on how you feel afterwards. We highly recommend wearing sunglasses.

LASIK Surgery (10)

Photo Refractive Keratectomy, or PRK, treats the surface of the cornea with the excimer laser while LASIK treats the inner tissue of the cornea. For this reason with LASIK, there is less area to heal, less risk of scarring, less risk of corneal haze, less postoperative pain, less postoperative need for medications and vision returns more rapidly.

Patients usually notice an immediate improvement in their vision after LASIK. However, it can take several weeks for the eyes to adjust to the final level of correction. Vision may fluctuate for a week or so. There may be some watering of the eyes and a slight feeling of a foreign body sensation. After having LASIK the great majority of patients do not wear corrective lenses of any kind. However, because people’s eyes can continue to change with age, there may be a need for additional vision correction (surgery or glasses) in the future.

Most patients see better immediately upon sitting up. However, the vision is somewhat hazy due to all the drops and medication placed on the eye. This mild haziness usually clears after a short nap or the next morning.

LASIK correction is permanent. The eye may continue to change as a result of aging but these are only minor changes.

A lid speculum keeps your eyelids from blinking and our doctors control your eye movements with an instrument they designed specifically for this purpose. This keeps your eye centered on the target but if you sneeze or cough, the doctor removes his foot from the laser pedal and continues the treatment after he re-centers your eye.

To ensure your comfort and confidence, your head and neck are kept snug in an inflatable pillow, your lids are kept open with a speculum and your eyes are treated with numbing drops that prevent your eye from reacting to stimuli. Our doctors will indicate before each step what you may see, hear or feel so you are not surprised.

LASIK is often referred to as a “painless” procedure. There is virtually no discomfort because the patient receives numbing drops prior to the procedure. Once the drops’ effect wears off, a patient’s eyes may feel a bit irritated for a few hours. Some patients feel no irritation whatsoever.

LASIK is a very safe procedure in the right hands. To our knowledge, there have not been any reported cases of blindness. The most significant risk is an infection which is reported in 1 in 5,000 cases, whereas 1 in 500 contact lens wearers suffer from infections and corneal scarring.

Patients are checked the day following their procedure and may return to work and resume most normal activities.

Correcting vision with the laser takes only seconds. The procedure itself takes about 7 minutes for both eyes. You will be at our office for about 1-1 1/2 hours on the day of the procedure to ensure that you are relaxed, that all of your questions have been answered and to allow you the opportunity to observe the procedure. We find that knowing exactly what to expect creates the most relaxed patient.

Usually, both eyes are done on the same day. Since the patient can resume most of their normal activities within 24 hours, most elect to have both eyes done the same day for convenience.

Oculoplastic Surgery (5)

Depending on the type of Oculoplastics Surgery, you should stay home from work anywhere between 3-7 days.

No.  You will need a driver on the day of your surgery.

Plan to be there approximately 3-4 hours.

Typically patients should stop using blood thinning medication prior to eyelid surgery.  The amount of time the medication is stopped is determined by your surgeon at The Eye Institute of West Florida and the prescribing physician.

Yes.  Our Surgery Center requires all patients to provide pre-operative clearance within 30 days of surgery.  The pre-operative physical/clearance appointment can be done at your primary care doctor’s office, or can be done with us by Tina Crevello, PA or Cori Brodsky, ARNP

Patient Paperwork (4)

Yes. If you have not filled out your new patient paperwork prior to your appointment, we request you come in 15 minutes early to fill it out. If you complete your new patient paperwork digitally or filled out the paper copies that were mailed to you, you can arrive just a few minutes before your appointment.

The digital new patient paperwork is a two-step process. Once you have gone through verification, you will receive an additional message (via text or email) with your 6-digit pin. If you did not receive your pin check your spam folder. If you still cannot find your pin or if the form is not accepting your pin, please email appointments@eyespecialist.com with your name, date of birth, and request for a new link to fill out your online paperwork.

Upon scheduling your appointment with us, you will be asked how you want to receive your new patient paperwork. If you opted to receive it digitally (online), you will either have it emailed or texted to you. This process typically occurs within 48 hours. Once you have received a message from us with a link to your new patient paperwork, you will be asked:

  1. To type in your date of birth is and;
  2. To select your home address from a list of four options

Once the system has verified you, you will receive an additional message with a 6-digit pin. You will then copy and paste that pin number into the original message window. If you are having trouble with your pin or filling out the paperwork online, please email appointments@eyespecialist.com for help.

If you are a new patient to our practice (or have not been seen in 3 years) you will be asked how you want to receive your new patient paperwork. Your choice include mailed, texted, or emailed.

Scheduling (4)

The Eye Institute of West Florida takes our responsibility to our patients very seriously. Part of that responsibility is scheduling appointments at the earliest possible convenient time for every patient. When a patient misses an appointment, not only did we not render care to that patient, we were denied the opportunity to render care to someone who is waiting for an appointment. Therefore, the following policies are in effect as of April 1st, 2016.

No Show Policy

Patients who do not call to cancel, and do not show up for their appointment will be considered a NO SHOW. Our office adheres to the following policy regarding NO SHOW appointments:

1st No Show: Our office will call and attempt to reschedule your appointment. We reserve the right to charge a $35 no-show charge for the missed appointment.

2nd No Show (within twelve months): Our office will call and attempt to reschedule your appointment. If they do not reach you, we will mail a postcard asking you to make contact. We reserve the right to charge a second $35 no-show charge for the missed appointment.

3rd No Show (within twelve months): No further attempts to reschedule your appointment will be made. You may be dismissed from the practice and denied any future appointment with any physician in the Eye Institute of West Florida. You will be charged a $35 no-show charge for the missed appointment.

Cancellation Policy

Office Visits: We understand that a situation may arise which requires canceling your appointment. We request that you call our office at least 24 hours prior to your appointment in this event. This will allow us the opportunity to see another patient who has been waiting for an appointment during that time. Cancellations made less than 24 hours prior to your appointment time cause us to waste this opportunity. Therefore, we reserve the right to charge a $25.00 cancellation fee for appointments cancelled with less than 24 hours notification.

Surgery: If you are scheduled for a surgical procedure, cancellations require advance notice of two (2) business days. If notification is not received within this timeframe you may be subject to a cancellation fee of $150.00 or more depending on the procedure you were scheduled to have and the paperwork you signed.

The cancellation and no show fees are the sole responsibility of the patient, and must be paid in full before your next appointment. We understand that special, unavoidable circumstances may arise. Fees may be waived, but only upon management approval. Our practice firmly believes that a strong physician/patient relationship is based upon understanding and good communication.

We have instituted a phone tree to connect patients with different departments quickly. Just call our main line at (727) 581-8706 and select the option that pertains to your question(s):

  • Press 1 for COVID Precaution
  • Press 2 for General Information including addresses and fax numbers
  • Press 3 for Medications
  • Press 4 for Billing
  • Press 5 for Medical Records
  • Press 6 for Optical
  • Press 7 for Scheduling
  • Press 8 for Spanish

Depending on the information you have provided us, you will either receive an automated phone call or an email and text message with your appointment information. The best way to ensure proper delivery of your appointment details, would be for you to provide us with your mobile phone number. You will receive an appointment confirmation the day you scheduled your appointment as well as a reminder 1 (one) week prior and 1 (one) day prior to your scheduled appointment. If you only provided us with a landline telephone number, you will receive an automated call 2 (two) days prior to your appointment. If you are scheduled for surgery, you will receive a call from one of our nurses 1 (one) business day prior to your surgery appointment.

You can call our main line at (727) 581-8706 for any scheduling requests. Additionally, you may submit rescheduling requests by texting (727) 581-8706 or emailing appointments@eyespecialist.com.

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