Eye Care Services

Chapel Hill & Durham Eye Doctors

Academy Eye offers various eye care programs and services, ranging from professional eye exams to more specialized services such as laser vision correction.

Academy’s eye care team is dedicated to providing the highest-quality eye care possible for your individual needs. With today’s advanced technology, we understand you have many choices in a provider and each may have a different approach to help correct or improve a variety of vision problems, so we are happy you are here and we hope we can become your eye doctors now and the years to come.

Why Choose Academy Eye Care Services?

Academy Eye Associates is an independent private practice in optometry, with offices in Durham and Chapel Hill, NC. Our staff and optometrists are committed to providing you and your family with the most complete and thorough eye care possible. We pride ourselves on our modern offices, warm caring atmosphere, and offering comprehensive eye examinations, optical shops, contact lens services, laser vision correction procedures, and more. Academy’s eye doctors and specialists are experts in all areas of eye care, including age-related eye health problems, eyeglasses with obtaining a proper fit, and eye surgery needs. Get access to more information about our eye care services:

When Emergencies Arise

During normal office hours, we make every effort to accommodate emergency patients with red or painful eyes, ocular foreign bodies, and those with sudden vision changes or flashes of light. If your health insurance plan requires authorization from your primary care physician please let us know in advance to help expedite your office visit.

After-hours emergencies will be handled by our on-call doctor. Just call the emergency number provided on any of our office answering machines and an Academy Eye optometrist will be contacting you shortly. At Academy Eye Associates we take emergency vision and eye care needs VERY seriously.

What’s involved in the visual exam?

Academy Eye - Professional Eye Exams Healthy eye care starts with regular, routine examinations. Our exams include:

  • Getting to know you, our patient, on a personal level
  • Taking a thorough examination into your medical and eye health history
  • Testing your eyes for glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration
  • Check for signs of high blood pressure, diabetes and other diseases that can be detected during the eye exam and can cause risks to your general health as well as your vision
  • Check your current eyeglass and contact lens prescriptions for the sharpest distance
  • Vision tests for reading and computer vision coordination and focusing skills
  • Thoroughly explain the results of your eye health and vision tests to you
  • Answer all of your questions and prescribe eyeglasses, contact lenses, low vision aids, vision exercises, and medication for your individual needs

Why should I get my eyes checked when I think I see just fine?

A comprehensive eye and vision examination is actually important in the evaluation of your overall health status. Its comprehensive nature lets your optometrist assess not only your eye and vision care needs, but also related health care status. The prevalence of eye health and vision problems in adults makes the services provided during the eye exam more valuable than most people realize.22198055_l

Patients usually come in for eye exams to maintain or restore clear, comfortable vision. However, optometrists provide important disease prevention and health promotion information through regular eye exams – relating not only to your eyes but to your health care in general. Conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and atherosclerosis can cause changes in your eyes. As primary eye care providers, optometrists have the expertise to examine, diagnose, treat, and manage a wide variety of eye and vision problems. For many patients who are found to need other related health care services, it is often their optometrist who serves as the point of entry into the health care system.

Ocular Disease Management – “More than just a vision test”

Academy Eye Associates doctors are not only experts in vision correction, but they also manage many eye health disorders. We care for patients with ocular complications from diseases including diabetes, hypertension, stroke, and MS. Our continuing training keeps us current in the treatment of corneal injuries, eye and eyelid infections, dry eye, glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration, and many retinal and internal ocular conditions. We maintain close referral relationships with expert surgeons and specialists throughout the Triangle and we routinely make referrals, schedule appointments and provide post-surgical follow-up care for our patients.

How often do I need to come? In fact, when should you see my kids?

The National Institutes of Health have established guidelines for routine vision care. These are general recommendations. Your own doctor may make alternate recommendations based upon your personal conditions and family history. The suggested schedule for eye exams:

  • Birth to 24 Months: By 6 Months of Age
  • 2 to 5 Years: At 3 Years of Age
  • 6 to 18 Years: Before 1st Grade and Every 2 Years Thereafter
  • 18 to 40 Years: Every 2 to 3Â Years
  • 41 to 60 Years: Every 2Â Years
  • 61 and Older: Yearly

Fashion and Quality at a Reasonable Price

We have a large and varied selection of quality eyeglass frames in our optical department. So, whether you’re looking for fashion or budget, we’ll always have plenty to choose from. We also have lots of styles especially for children, frames for different types of sports, and industrial safety eyeglasses as well. We feature designer styles from names you will recognize. All of our eyeglass frames are carefully evaluated by our trained opticians before we accept them into our optical department. We use well-respected manufacturers, who stand behind their products, so you can be certain you will enjoy years of service from your eyeglasses. Academy Eye - Eyeglasses

We use all of the newest types of eyeglass lenses, including no-line (progressive) bifocals, special lenses for computer users, and special, new ultra-thin lenses which make high-power eyeglass prescriptions look very appealing. We offer eyeglass lenses from Varilux, Sola, Hoya, Pentax and Nikon, so you can be certain that you’ll receive the very best eyeglasses for your individual needs. Our optical laboratories enable us to have your eyeglasses ready in the shortest possible time and to handle most repairs immediately. Plus, our licensed opticians are experienced and trained in helping you find the most flattering, comfortable frames that are also best for your particular prescription. If you already have your prescription, we’ll be happy to make your eyeglasses using that prescription. We can also duplicate your prescription from your present eyeglasses without a prescription. We are proud to offer eyeglass frames from a range of quality manufacturers including:

  • Tommy Hilfiger
  • Lilly Pulitzer
  • Furla
  • BCBG
  • Kate Spade
  • OGI
  • Penquin
  • KLiiK & Fysh
  • Silhouette
  • Ray-ban
  • Hugo Boss
  • Fossil
  • Nike
  • Dolabany
  • Guess
  • Di Valdi
  • Other designer frame brands

No appointment is necessary to visit our optical department. Simply visit during our normal office hours, browse our great selection and our optical staff will be happy to assist you.

We’re the Experts!

Don’t be misled to believe that contact lenses can be purchased off the shelf like a pair of sunglasses! It takes careful evaluation and often trial contact lens fittings to ensure that you receive lenses that will keep your eyes healthy, and seen clearly, and feel comfortable. Often symptoms that contact lens wearers experience can be alleviated by careful fitting and follow-up care. At Academy Eye Associates your examination and all follow-up visits will be conducted by your optometrist who has years of training and experience in contact lens fitting and problem-solving to make certain that your result is the best it can possibly be.

Your initial contact lens examination will include:

  • Consultation
  • Measurement and evaluation of the eyes
  • Diagnostic fitting of lenses to make certain that you will be able to wear contact lenses successfully and to determine the type and design of lens that will work best for your eyes

With modern technology, individuals with almost any kind of eyeglass prescription can see clearly and comfortably with contact lenses. Here’s why it makes sense to consider Academy Eye Associates if you are thinking about contact lenses:

Our doctors have had years of experience and advanced training in fitting even the most difficult cases. They continue to attend courses to stay current in the latest contact lens technology and methods.

We use:

  • Daily and extended wear soft contact lenses
  • Disposable and frequent replacement soft contact lenses
  • Astigmatic (toric) contact lenses
  • Bifocal contact lenses
  • Rigid contact lenses
  • Keratoconus contact lenses
  • Hybrid soft and rigid combination contact lenses
  • Cosmetic and therapeutic tinted contact lenses
  • Occluder contact lenses for scarred eyes and for double vision

Often, people that have been told previously that they could not wear contact lenses have been fit successfully in our offices.

We use contact lenses from many different laboratories to give us a greater choice in selecting the right lens for your eyes. Because of the large number of contacts we prescribe, we maintain a large inventory. This means that many people are able to take their lenses home the same day they are fit.

We use lenses from manufacturers including:

  • Acuvue (Vistakon)
  • Bausch and Lomb
  • CibaVision
  • Cooper Vision

Our office participates in many studies to investigate new lens types being introduced. This helps us stay on the cutting edge of new technology.

What is Laser Vision Correction? Which Refractive Surgery is Right for You?

There is no single treatment that is best across the board. The best choice for you depends on your prescription amount, astigmatism, age, important ocular measurements as well as other personal factors. You must also be aware of the risks associated with any surgical technique.

We pride ourselves on taking the extra time to personally address the issues involved in making such an important decision as refractive surgery. We make every effort to remain current on all refractive treatment options, and follow almost all of our refractive surgery patients postoperatively. As a result, we can give you honest and unbiased advice based on the experience of hundreds of patients we’ve managed.

PRK Photorefractive Keratectomy

An excimer laser is used on the eye’s surface to reshape to give a more accurate focus. The Excimer laser is a “cold laser” which means the tissue surrounding the area you wish to correct will be unaffected while the adjacent corneal tissue is treated. The procedure actually removes 10-20% of the anterior cornea without any scarring. This procedure works best on low to moderately high amounts of nearsightedness, and moderate amounts of astigmatism. The typical correctable prescription range is between -1.50 to -7.00 Diopters of myopia and up to -6.00 Diopters of astigmatism.


LASIK is very similar to PRK. The difference is a thin “flap” is made of the outer cornea. This is done with a microkeratome. The flap reveals the inner corneal layers, which is then gently reshaped with the cool laser (the excimer laser). The LASIK procedure can treat significantly more nearsightedness than with standard PRK. The LASIK procedure requires more technical skill and training than PRK. The results are usually a little better with LASIK and the post-op healing is much quicker with LASIK. The post-op discomfort associated with PRK is almost nonexistent in LASIK, due to the flap, which seals down immediately.

Intrastromal corneal Rings (Intacs by Keravision)

This technology is the newest form of refractive surgery. The FDA approved this for clinical use in mid-1999. In this procedure, a thin ring of plastic is inserted into the stroma of the cornea. The insertion of this ring then flattens the central cornea, similar to how the laser procedures reshape the corneal surface.

Corneal Topography

New computer technology was refined in the 1990s that greatly improved our ability to examine and study the complete curvature of the eye. Corneal topography is a technique where the entire corneal surface is measured and analyzed like a topographical map. The different colors on the printout correspond to various curvatures of the cornea. This topographical type measurement allows for more precise evaluation and treatment with corneal/refractive surgery.

What Does Corneal Topography Allow?

  • Greater accuracy for refractive surgical procedures.
  • The corneal map helps us to determine who is a good candidate, and even more importantly it helps determine who is a bad candidate for refractive surgery. Certain corneal diseases can be better detected with corneal topography (e.g., keratoconus and/or other irregular types of corneas).
  • Better long-term follow-up management of corneal changes.

The Center for Vision Rehabilitation

The Center for Vision Rehabilitation in Durham, NC, specializes in providing low vision care for individuals who are visually impaired. Vision rehabilitation uses special methods of evaluation and treatment to determine methods to maximize vision for individuals whose vision is not adequate for their needs – such as reading, driving, reading signs, seeing the blackboard, using the computer. These tests are not the same as the routine eye examinations you might experience when visiting your optometrist or ophthalmologist. These tests are specific to determine how to improve your sight for your individual and personal needs.

We evaluate and manage individuals with vision loss from:

  • Macular degeneration
  • Diabetic Retinopathy
  • Albinism
  • Nystagmus
  • Macular Holes
  • Retinitis Pigmentosa
  • Glaucoma
  • Achromatopsia
  • Optic Atrophy
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Head Injury
  • Stroke
  • Hemianopsia and other visual field loss
  • Double vision (diplopia)

We use a range of optical and electronic devices to help improve your vision, including:

  • Eyeglasses
  • Contact Lenses
  • Magnifiers
  • Hi-power reading eyeglasses
  • Handheld telescopes
  • Spectacle mounted telescopes (bioptics)
  • Prism lenses
  • Closed-circuit televisions (CCTV)
  • Head born video magnifiers
  • Special sunglass filters
  • Large print materials
  • Special lighting

Not only does the Center for Vision Rehabilitation offer in-depth evaluations, but we now have a special vision aid demonstration center, complete with a full range of low vision devices for your evaluation. This facility allows you to carefully assess the treatment options available to you so you can be certain of their effectiveness. Our trained and experienced vision aid technologists are available for your convenience. Appointments are recommended.

We have available a broad array of low vision aid devices from manufacturers including:

  • Ocutech
  • Eschenbach
  • Schweitzer
  • COIL
  • Designs for Vision
  • Beecher
  • Enhanced Vision Systems
  • Telesensory
  • Optelec
  • Magnasight
  • Dazor
  • Luxor
  • Walters
  • Selsi
  • Bausch and Lomb

Low Vision Rehabilitation – Success Stories

Read about the remarkable success that Tom Aldridge and Jeanette Hundley achieved after visiting the Center for Vision Rehabilitation.

Low Vision Rehabilitation – Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to many questions you may have about low vision care. If you or a loved one has been told that nothing more could be done for failing vision – then low vision care may be the answer you have been seeking. You should seek low vision care as soon as possible after a diagnosis of vision loss has been made.

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