Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to arrive early for my first appointment at Virginia Eye Institute?

  • Yes, please plan on arriving 10-15 minutes early for your first appointment, as there will be new-patient paperwork you’ll need to complete.

Do I need to bring my insurance card to every appointment?

  • Yes, please bring a copy of your current insurance card and any pertinent medical information, including a list of your medications, to each and every appointment.

Should I plan having a driver?

  • If you will be dilated as part of your exam, then we recommend having someone drive you to and from your appointment.

How long will I be there?

  • It varies by appointment type, doctor and day, but in general plan on allowing an hour and a half for your appointment.

If I have been dilated, how long will the effects last?

  • Generally, the effects of dilation last 4-6 hours.

What is the difference between an Ophthalmologist, an Optometrists, an Optician?

  • An ophthalmologist is a medical or osteopathic doctor who specializes in eye and vision care. Ophthalmologists are specially trained to provide the full spectrum of eye care, from prescribing glasses and contact lenses to complex and delicate eye surgery. Many ophthalmologists, including those at Virginia Eye Institute, are also involved in scientific research into the causes and cures for eye diseases and vision problems. An optometrist receives a Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree, is licensed to practice optometry and specializes in examining the eye for the purpose of prescribing and dispensing corrective lenses, screening vision to detect certain eye abnormalities, and prescribing medications for certain eye diseases.
  • An optician is trained to design, verify and fit eyeglass lenses and frames, contact lenses and other devices to correct eyesight. They use prescriptions supplied by ophthalmologists or optometrists, but do not test vision or write prescriptions for visual corrections.

Will I be dilated at my exam with the retina specialist?

  • Yes, in order for the retina specialist to fully evaluate the retina, you will need to be dilated. We recommend having someone drive you to and from your appointment.

How much does an exam cost without insurance?

  • It varies based on the exam, however the charge for a complete dilated eye exam is $200. Also, look at our VEI Outreach for activities Virginia Eye Institute provides to those in need, or contact Access Now – a community partnership VEI is part of that improves access to health care for low-income, uninsured residents of the Greater Richmond metropolitan area.
  • Refraction is the measurement of the focus error of an eye.  It determines the set of lenses that will best focus the light entering the eye.  The results of a refraction are used to: (a) determine the health and visual potential of an eye; (b) aid in performing tests such as visual fields; and (c) to prescribe glasses and /or contact lenses.Refraction is considered a “non-medical” service by most insurances companies and is therefore most usually a non-covered service.  The refraction fee is $40 and is due at time of service, if performed as part of the patient’s examination.

How do your prices compare to your competitors?

  • Our prices are comparable with both Medicare fee schedules and area competitors in ophthalmology, optometry and optical. Also, please reference the Optical, Cosmetic and LASIK sections of our site to see the latest specials and promotions.