Eye Care Information

Your vision is one of your most important senses. Your Kaiser Permanente eye care professionals are dedicated to helping you keep your eyes healthy and your vision sharp. The articles below offer information on what to expect at an eye exam, how to select a frame, choosing sunglasses to suit your face and lifestyle, understanding of your lens choices, and helpful tips on contact lens wear.
Click below to learn more.


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First time to the optometrist or are you a regular patient? Try to arrive 15 to 20 minutes early to allow time to check in and fill out any new forms that may be required.

At the time of your eye exam, you should be ready to discuss with your doctor: your visual needs at work; recreational activities and hobbies, including sports participation; home and garden chores; and any problems you are having with your vision. The doctor will use this information to recommend the most appropriate lenses for your lifestyle needs.

Let your doctor know if you are interested in contact lenses . Fitting contact lenses may involve coming back for a special fitting appointment at another time.
{ Read the related article on contact lenses.} If you already wear contact lenses, wear your contacts to your appointment. Bring your eyeglasses and any information about your current contact lenses that you have, such as boxes, vials and your last prescription.

The optometrist will perform a series of tests and examinations to see if your eyes are healthy. Conditions that can be detected during your eye exam include cataracts*, glaucoma*, and macular degeneration*.

After your prescription has been determined, you will receive a written prescription for your lenses. You will then be directed to our Optical Services Department to choose your frames and lenses.

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Dilated eyes allow the optometrist to look at the inside of the eye.

Not every patient needs to have a dilated examination. When dilation is necessary this is what you can expect.

Drops will be placed in each eye to enlarge the pupil (the black portion in the center of the eye). This allows the optometrist to look at the inside of the eye. You will be asked to wait for your eyes to respond to the drops and the pupils to fully dilate. Then your eyes will be examined for signs of any health problems, such as:

Vision Care Terms:

  • CATARACT - is a clouding of part or all of the lens inside the eye, resulting in blurred or distorted vision.
  • GLAUCOMA - is a disease in which the internal pressure in the eye builds up because of problems with the out-flow or drainage of fluid within the eye, damaging the optic nerve and causing partial or total loss of sight.
  • MACULAR DEGENERATION - is the loss of central vision as a result of changes, often related to aging, in the macula - that portion of the retina responsible for sharp, clear central vision.

Children are screened from birth for eye disease and vision problems by their pediatricians during their regular visits. Parents are an important part of this process and need to let the pediatrician know if they notice anything unusual about their child's eyes or vision. The most common eye problems of childhood are strabismus and amblyopia.

  • Strabismus refers to a crossed or turned eye. This condition tends to run in families, but can also occur spontaneously. Strabismus may require eyeglasses, or much less commonly, surgery.
  • Pseudostrabismus refers to the very common situation where a child appears to have eyes that turn in due to a wide band of skin at the immature bridge of the nose. As the nose grows out, the appearance corrects itself.
  • Amblyopia or "lazy eye" refers to an eye that doesn't develop vision equal to the other eye. This may be due to the eye being turned in or out, a droopy lid blocking light from entering the eye, or from a very different eyeglass lens prescription compared to the other eye. Treatment of amblyopia may require "patching," eyedrops, or eyeglasses

Children, even infants, may require eyeglasses to correct vision problems. Fitting children for eyeglasses is challenging and requires a wide array of suitable frames and an experienced staff. Our highly-trained Kaiser Permanente Optical staff loves to assist these special patients.

Sunglasses may be a hot fashion accessory but their most important function is to protect your eyes from the sun’s damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays – even on cloudy days. Plus, harsh glare on water, snow, and even buildings can impact your vision. A good pair of sunglasses can shield your eyes and help keep them healthy. And with a wide variety of styles available you can choose a pair that matches your personal look!

Sun Dangers

  • Ultraviolet (UV) light can be damaging to your eyes. UV light is considered a major cause of cataracts, eyelid cancers, and certain other skin cancers. It is believed to play a part in macular degeneration, one of the major causes of vision loss in the U.S. for people over age 60.
  • Reflected glare is intensified light bouncing off natural surfaces like snow, water, cars and roads. This harsh glare can obstruct your vision and lead to eye fatigue and headaches.

Sun Solutions

  • POLARIZED LENSES are the most comfortable sunglass lenses for eliminating glare and easing eye fatigue in the sun.
  • PHOTOCHROMIC LENSES are specialty lenses that remain clear indoors and darken when outdoors in the presence of UV light.
  • TINTED LENSES come in a rainbow of color options from light to very dark. Tints can be solid through the whole lens or gradient.

Frames and Lenses

At Vision Essentials we have something in every price range and something for every style. Our Expert Opticians will help you with your fit, style and vision needs.

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Check out our selection of frames here:

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Eyeglass Frames
Find the Frames You Love

Your eyewear is both a medical necessity and a fashion accessory. You will want to allow sufficient time after your eye exam to select the right frame for your face and personality.

After your eye exam, you will be directed to our Optical Center to select your frames and lenses. The receptionist will check your eyewear benefits and invite you to look at the display of frames while you wait for the optician to assist you. Our Optical Centers carry name-brand frames in hundred of styles. Whether you are looking for the lightweight strength of metal frames or the bold color of plastics you’ll have the latest styles from Ray-Ban, Coach, Calvin Klein and other famous designers to choose from.

The best frames for your face shape image
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Eyeglass Lenses
Find Your Perfect Lenses

Your eyeglasses are both a medical necessity and a fashion accessory. You will want to allow plenty of time after your eye exam to select the right frame for your face and personality. Here are a few of your options when it comes to picking out your new frames: material - plastic, metal, titanium; shape - round, oval, rectangular, cat eye; color - silver, gold, bronze in metals or any of the colors of the rainbow in plastic.

With a wide variety of new styles and products from which to choose, you can change your image, simply by choosing the best frame style for your face.

After your eye exam you will be directed to our Optical Center to select your frames and lenses. The receptionist will check your eyewear benefits and invite you to look at the display of frames while you wait for the optician to assist you.

Choosing frames that complement your face and skin tone is an important part of selecting your eyewear. By selecting a specific shape of eyewear you can actually accentuate your best facial features while downplaying less-attractive features.

You will want to make several frame selections as some of your choices may not be appropriate for your prescription. You may need a second pair of glasses for sunwear or one pair of glasses for everyday wear and one pair for sports activities.

The lenses are the most important part of your eyeglasses. Your finished lenses will be made of three components, lens materials, lens design and lens treatments.

Lens Design

Your prescription often determines which lenses are right for you.

  • Single-vision lenses – Provides correction if you have trouble with either distance or near vision.
  • Multifocal lenses – Provides correction for both distance and near vision in a single pair of eyeglasses.
  • Progressive lenses – provides smooth vision transition from distance to intermediate and reading without a bi-focal line.

Lens Material

Advancement in lenses allow them to be thinner and lighter in weight.

  • Polycarbonate lenses – Impact-resistant plastic that is thinner and lighter than regular plastic. Perfect for active people who play sports, and especially recommended for children. Built-in ultraviolet (UV) protection shields your eyes from harmful UV rays.
  • High-index lenses – Recommended for people with high-strength prescriptions. High-index lenses are thin and lightweight, making the comfortable to wear. In addition, they offer UV protection.

Lens Treatments

  • UV treatment – Protects your eyes from harmful rays that can cause cataracts.
  • Scratch-resistant coating – Helps protect lenses from everyday wear and tear.
  • Anti-reflective (AR) treatment – Helps cut glare and distracting reflections (important if you drive at night or use a computer). AR treatment also helps reduce eye fatigue and makes your eyes appear more visible behind the lenses.
  • Photochromic lenses – Light-sensitive, UV ray-blocking lenses that are clear indoors and darken in the sunlight.

Contact Lenses

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Re-Order Contacts Online

Ordering contacts online is easy and convenient

You can easily re-order your contact lenses online through this vision essentials site.

Your new lenses are just a few clicks away.

Re-Order Your Contact Lenses Now

If you need vision correction and want an option to wearing glasses you might consider contact lenses.

Vision Essentials by Kaiser Permanente offers contact lenses that can correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and challenging prescriptions. There are even multifocal contacts that can improve both near and distant vision.


Soft Lenses are a great choice for people who are active. They are available in different "replacement schedules", the length of time a single pair of lenses can be used. They can be replaced every month or daily.

  • Daily disposable lenses are designed to be discarded every day so you don't have to clean and disinfect them.
  • Soft multifocal contacts can work like a bifocal eyeglasses for both distance and near vision.
  • Tinted contact enhance or even change your eye color. They come in a variety of colors and are a fun way to change your look.
  • Silicone hydrogels and like materials will allow more oxygen to the eye, making the lenses more comfortable to wear.

Gas-Permeable (GP) Lenses are made of a lightly flexible plastic and are more durable than soft lenses. Multifocal GP lenses are also available for most prescriptions, including astigmatism correction.

Specialty Lenses are used to correct vision in certain medical conditions and prescriptions.

Use of contact lenses requires appropriate fitting and instruction on proper care. Our teams of vision specialists are qualified and readily available to assist you in the care and adaptation to wearing contact lenses. Your Kaiser Permanente eye care provider will recommend your wearing schedule and required follow-up care. Kaiser Permanente Eye Department reserved the right to discontinue prescribing and dispensing contact lenses if the follow-up schedule, cleaning, disinfecton, replacement and wearing schedule are not adhered to. Proper care and regular eye exams are essential to continued success with contact lenses. Expired prescriptions will not be accepted.

How to put on and take off contact lenses

Left your contacts in too long? Not a good idea