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Local optometrist covers all the bases
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 Located inside Wal-Mart's Vision Center, optometrist Dr. Andrea Washington's general practice has been treating eye patients in the area since July.

According to Washington, the best part of her job is when a patient, after slipping on a pair of eyeglasses or contact lens for the first time, announces they can see again.

"If I can help just one person to see better, then I have done my job," Washington said. "My job overall is to prevent, diagnose, treat and manage diseases and disorders of the eye.

Washington's general practice offers complete eye exams for all ages. An eye exam includes a check for visual acuity with and without eye glasses, an eye pressure check, color vision testing and stereotesting.

Washington is an independent doctor of optometry and her practice is separate from Wal-Mart. Patient prescriptions can be used, not only in the Vision Center, but anywhere in the U.S.

"At this practice we go above and beyond to address the patient's needs," Washington said, "We check for diseases such as glaucoma. We check for vision conditions such as cataracts."

Washington said she also checks for lazy eye, retinopathy, which can occur in patients with diabetes and high blood pressure, and macular degeneration, a disease that affects central vision.

Both appointments and walk-ins are welcome at Washington's practice. Spectera, Davis Vision, Avesis, Blue Cross Blue Shield and many other insurance carriers are all accepted. Free vision screenings - which test whether you need corrected vision - are offered daily. Accommodations for eye exams for the hearing impaired and for Spanish speakers are also offered.

Washington graduated from the University of Missouri-St. Louis College of Optometry in 2004. She completed her residency at the University of Houston College of Optometry in 2005. Washington is a member of the Georgia Optometric Association, the American Optometric Association and the Contact Lens and Cornea section of the American Optometric Association.

According to the AOA, more than 10 million children in the U.S. suffer from undetected vision problems. The AOA recommends at least one eye exam every one to two years.