Getting the Most From Appointments with your Eye Doctor
What you can do to help your doctor to help you
Making the most of your eye doctor’s help and advice can allow you to manage the health of your eyes, but the time you get to spend with your doctor is limited and there’s often a lot to get through. We’ve complied a few hints and tips to help you make the most of this precious time.
Before Your Appointment
Write a few notes and bring them along with you. If your condition varies, it’s useful to keep a diary tracking your symptoms. Bring a list of your current medications (information like name, dose and frequency) along with any new developments.
A list of key questions you want to ask is also a useful memory jogger. But try and keep things clear. A barrage of paperwork can get in the way.
Remember to bring along your current glasses and sunglasses
Consider arranging to bring someone with you, a friend or family member who can help to remember details and keep track of everything that’s said.
Be as clear and concise as you can. Stick to relevant information and don’t be afraid to ask for something to be explained again, or for information you don’t understand to be clarified.
If your doctor has the results of some tests, ask to see them and ask for an explanation of what they mean.
Don’t exaggerate your symptoms, but don’t play them down either. It’s vital to explain everything that is happening as clearly as you can, even if the implications feel scary. Be realistic, too, about your smoking, drinking, diet and exercise and taking your medication. The more accurate the information your doctor has the better the treatment they will be able to offer you.
Be sure to ask for an interpreter or other help with communication if you need it.
Keep Your Own Records
You’d expect your doctor to be making notes during or directly after an appointment, why not consider doing the same yourself, or asking a friend or relative accompanying you to do so? These can be useful for keeping track of appointments and referring to later when you get home or before your next appointment.
What Happens Next
It’s great to come away from a medical appointment knowing what’s happening next, whether another appointment is needed or whether you are going to be referred elsewhere. If this isn’t clear, ask before you leave.
If you are waiting for test results ask when you can expect them. If you need more tests ask when will these happen and how you will receive the appointment information.
It’s also useful find out what you should do if your symptoms worsen between appointments and what to look out for.
Living with retinal disease isn’t easy so it can help to connect with people who know what you’re going through. Ask your doctor whether there are support groups or other services available in your area.