Your First Visit

You were referred to Vitreo-Retinal Associates to receive the best in state-of-the-art specialized eye care. As our patient, you can expect open, honest discussion about the services and treatments we recommend to you, and a team that will make your office visits as pleasant and comfortable as possible.

What to Expect

A comprehensive retinal exam will be different than the eye exam you are used to receiving for glasses or contacts. Please plan on being in our office for approximately two hours, and allow for some extra time in our office if additional testing and/or procedures are performed that day as well.

For your first visit to VRA, please bring along your completed new patient forms, your insurance card(s), a picture ID, and a list of your current medications and dosages, as well as any allergies to medications you may have. If you have any medical records pertaining to your eyes you should bring those along as well. If you don’t have a copy of those records, our office will be glad to obtain them for you with a records release form we will provide for you to sign on the day of your first visit.

After registering with our front office team, an experienced ophthalmic technician will escort you back to an exam room to take your ocular and medical history. They will also test your vision and dilate your pupils. Once your pupils are fully dilated, your VRA physician will examine your eyes and spend time explaining their findings and recommended treatment plan. Your VRA physician may also order various diagnostic tests which may be performed that same day by one of our certified ophthalmic photographers. Our physicians perform many of the treatment procedures right here in our office and those appointments will be scheduled with our front office team before you leave. However, if surgical intervention is needed, our technicians will assist in scheduling your surgery at the appropriate hospital or surgical center.

Dilating your pupils is important and necessary for your retinal exam. Dilation opens the pupils to allow our physicians a better view inside your eye. Your pupils will be dilated each and every time you visit our office. While your pupils are dilated, vision will be blurred and you will be sensitive to light. This may last for several hours after your appointment. We recommend that you bring a pair of sunglasses to wear upon leaving our office, however, we will provide you with a disposable pair if needed. Due to the strength of the dilating drops and length of time your eyes will remain dilated, we recommend that you have someone drive you home after your visit.

A letter containing information about your exams, tests, and treatments will be dictated after your visit to VRA and it will be sent to the optometrist or ophthalmologist who referred you to us, and also to your primary care physician. If our physicians feel that you would benefit from a change in your glasses or contacts, we will refer you back to your regular optometrist or ophthalmologist. If you don’t currently have an eye doctor for glasses or contacts, we will be glad to refer you to one.

Many of our “snow-bird” patients who spend their winters staying warm down south also have retinal specialist physicians that they see during those winter months while living out of state. VRA has partnered with many out of state physicians in the care of our patients to provide consistency and follow-up for each patient’s treatment plan. If you need assistance finding an ophthalmologist in a different state, we will be happy to assist you and provide them with the information needed to continue your care while you are there.

VRA participates with and will bill most insurance health plans, including Medicare. Please call us to speak with our billing team regarding any questions you may have about your insurance. We will gladly assist you to ensure prompt, correct payment.

If you have no medical insurance, you will be expected to make payment in full upon check-out on the day of your visit unless you have made prior arrangements with our billing team.

If you have any other questions or concerns prior to your first appointment, please don’t hesitate to call. Our team will be happy to assist you in any way that we can.

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Grand Rapids: 616.285.1200
Kalamazoo: 269.353.9700
Muskegon: 231.830.1200
Ionia: 616.285.1200