Frequently Asked Questions

When visiting a new doctor’s office, there are often things we’re anxious or curious about, or even features of an office that are deal-breakers.

In keeping with our mission statement, we wanted to make sure our patients can make the most informed choice possible before deciding to put their eyes in our care.

We hope this page answers your most pressing questions, and if it doesn’t, shoot us a message!

Our cheerful office staff is available by phone at 512-651-5186 (On mobile? Just tap the phone number to call us!) or via email at appointment@westlakehillsvision.com (click or tap the address to email us directly).

Why do you need my medical insurance?

At Westlake Hills Vision Center, we check medical insurance because some providers offer a routine eye checkup every year. In order to maximize your savings we will collect both medical and vision insurance and use the one that represents the biggest savings for the patient.

How long does the eye exam take?

We block off 45 minutes per patient, but the appointment from beginning to end will take roughly 30-40 minutes, depending on if you choose to be dilated or go with the doctor recommended photo of the back of the eye which is not only more comprehensive but quicker and easier for the patient.

What does the eye exam entail?

We only perform comprehensive eye health exams.  Therefore, there are two parts to the eye exam.  The first part is to check what you can see and to measure you for glasses or contacts.   The second part of the exam is to check the health of your eyes.  Early detection of eye disease is absolutely critical.  The doctor will check not only for the big eye diseases such as glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration, but also common eye conditions such as dry eye and allergy.

What makes Westlake Hills Vision Center different?

Short answer, the people.  All staff members have been in the industry for three plus years.

We make a tremendous effort to have all your insurance benefits verified before your exam.  Transparency in the cost of our services is a priority.

During the exam Dr. Drees will cater the tests performed to your specific complaints.  We love educating our patients and encourage questions.  It’s important that you as a patient know what we’re doing and why we’re doing it.

We also have a full service optical with over 500 frames in stock.   If we don’t have the frame you desire, odds are we can get it.  We believe it’s important for all patients to be seeing as crisp, sharp, and comfortable as possible.  This is why we primarily only use the best lens products on the market.  Digitally edged lenses with high quality no-glare antireflective coatings on all lenses.

Are there any technology differences that set you apart?

There are two parts of the eye exam that everyone hates.  The air puff and the dilation.  From the very opening of the practice we brought in technology to streamline the exam process while making it comfortable and convenient for our patients.  Instead of the air puff eye pressure test, we use another much less invasive device.  We also brought in a retinal camera so that for 90% of our patients we no longer have to dilate.  We can get a good thorough look at the health of the back of your eyes without the torture of dilation.

What are some common eye conditions / diseases that people need treated?

These are the most common eye conditions and diseases that we assist patients with at Westlake Hills Vision Center:

Myopia (nearsightedness), Hyperopia (farsightedness), Astigmatism, Presbyopia, Accommodative/ Convergence Insufficiency, Cataracts, Glaucoma, and Macular Degeneration (AMD).

Read on below for more information about each of them. If you think you may be suffering from one of these conditions, give us a call to see how we can help you to properly diagnose and manage it.

What is myopia / nearsightedness?

Myopia (nearsightedness) is a blurring of vision when you try to look far away.  It is caused by either your cornea being too steep, your eye too long, or a combination of the two.  Glasses, contacts, or refractive surgery easily correct for this condition.

What do I need to know about hyperopia / farsightedness?

Hyperopia (farsightedness):  While one might think this is the exact opposite of myopia that isn’t exactly the case.  It is caused by either the cornea being too flat or the eye too short.  This causes the eye to constantly be in state of focus to keep objects at all distances clear.  It manly affects vision when trying to see up close, but hyperopia eventually affects your vision at all distances.  Glasses, contacts, or refractive surgery easily correct for this condition.

Tell me more about astigmatism.

Astigmatism is a blurring of vision at all distances.  It is caused by the cornea being more of an oblong shape like a football vs more spherical like a baseball.  Glasses, contacts, or refractive surgery are typically able to correct for this condition.

I’ve never heard of presbyopia. What is it?

Presbyopia is the inability of the eye to focus at near-distance.  This frustrating and inevitable part of  aging is caused by a thickening of the lens inside the eye and the fatigue of the muscles inside the eye responsible for focusing.  While the onset is gradual, many patients swear they woke up on their 40th birthday unable to read their cell phones.

What on Earth is accommodative / convergence insufficiency? What a mouthful!

Accommodative / Convergence Insufficiency:  These conditions are related to the eyes ability to work together and see clearly up close.  Many patients complain of tired or soar eyes toward the end of a long computer or reading day.  These insufficiencies are becoming more and more common given that most or our daily interaction is on digital devices held at arms length or closer.

What is cataracts, and how can it be managed?

Cataracts:  There are many types of cataracts.  The most common age related cataracts are due to a thickening and discoloration of the lens inside the eye.  Cataracts are inevitable.  Everyone will get cataracts.  Until they are bad enough to remove with surgery, we try to maximize vision with glasses or contacts. The only active thing you can do to protect yourself is by wearing sunglasses for protection when outside. Sunglasses protect you from UVB rays, which are the most dangerous.

I’ve been experiencing eye pain. Could it be glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that cause damage to the optic nerve, gradually causing “tunnel vision.”  The most common type o glaucoma occurs when the internal pressure in the eyes increases enough to damage the nerve fibers in the optic nerve and causes vision loss.  Glaucoma usually develops without pain or symptoms.  While glaucoma cannot be prevented, it can be controlled to prevent or slow continued vision loss.  At least half of the people who have glaucoma don’t know they have it.  Left undetected and untreated, glaucoma can lead to permanent vision loss.

What should I know about macular degeneration, or AMD?

Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of severe vision loss in people over age 50 in the USA.  This eye disease occurs when there are changes to the macula, a small portion of the retina that is located on the inside back layer of the eye.  AMD is a loss of central vision that can occur in two forms:  “dry” or atrophic and “wet” or exudative. If you think you may be suffering from AMD but aren’t sure, give us a call to see when we can get you in for an apointment.

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Our mission and promise to you:

  • Provide the most comprehensive vision care available for you and your family.
  • Strive to maximize quality care and patient education through the use of the most innovative and advanced technology.
  • Customer service is our highest priority.
  • Personalized care to enhance your Quality of Life.