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Tips to Maximize Your Doctor Visit

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Michael Allingham, MD, PhD

The guest speaker is Michael Allingham, MD, PhD, who is an ophthalmologist at Duke University.

  • BrightFocus Foundation
    "Tips to Maximize Your Doctor Visit"
    Transcript of Teleconference with Michael Allingham, MD, PhD
    February 24, 2016
    1:00 – 2:00 p.m. EST

    Please note: This Chat was edited for clarity and brevity.

    MICHAEL BUCKLEY: Good afternoon, welcome to the BrightFocus Chat. I’m Michael Buckley with BrightFocus Foundation. Today’s topic is how to make the most out of your eye doctor visit. This is the 25th episode of the BrightFocus chat, so for those who have been a part of previous chats, welcome back; for those who are new, I want to tell you a little bit about BrightFocus and the format of today’s chat.

    BrightFocus is based in Maryland, and we support research around the world to try to find cures and treatments for glaucoma, macular degeneration, and Alzheimer’s, and we share—free of charge—findings of this research with families affected by these diseases. Part of that is the BrightFocus Chat. What we are going to do over the next 40 minutes is we’re going to have an opportunity to hear from a leading expert in the field of vision and have an opportunity for you to ask questions.

    Today we are going to talk about your eye doctor’s visit and how to make the most out of it. We are going to look at what you should do before the visit, during the visit, and afterwards. We are very fortunate to have with us today Dr. Michael Allingham. Dr. Allingham is an ophthalmologist at Duke University and, Dr. Allingham, would you mind starting to tell us a little bit about your background?

    MICHAEL ALLINGHAM: Sure. First off, thank you for the opportunity to speak and to answer questions. It’s always a pleasure to have these chances to help folks that I may not get to meet in person.

    I’m a retina-trained clinician scientist over at Duke. What that means is, in addition to my medical training, I also did a PhD in cell biology, and I spend about three fourths of my time doing research trying to better understand diseases like macular degeneration and other retina problems. And then, in my other time, I spend time in clinics seeing patients. My passion is a crossover between those two areas. Is there a clinical trial that I can offer to my patients that may help them? Are there insights that I get from the clinic that can drive my research and back and forth? Because, at the end of the day, the reason that I’m here at Duke is pretty much to find new medicines or treatments for diseases that are not adequately treated, and certainly macular degeneration is at the top of that list.

    MICHAEL BUCKLEY: Well, great, thank you very much for that background and for your dedication to helping people’s vision health. I want to start with a big picture question, Dr. Allingham—in your opinion, what are the keys to the best doctor visit?

    MICHAEL ALLINGHAM: I think it makes sense to start at the beginning in some ways. It may be counterintuitive, but preparation is an important first step. It’s easy when you come into the doctor’s office, and there’s people hustling and bustling, the technicians are going to ask you questions about your health, and they are going to check your vision, and then you’re off to get some pictures of your eye, and then you finally land in your doctor’s office, and it’s a dark room, and they’re examining you with a slit-lamp—which is a bright light that can be challenging to tolerate—and things like that. And then they say, “What questions do you have for me?” I think a lot of people tend to blank, and I think that’s very understandable.

    I think one thing you can do at the outset is do your reading. There are a lot of great resources out there like BrightFocus that offer helpful patient-centered information about various diseases, and use that to formulate your questions and write them down. I think recognizing that you probably have 5 to 10 minutes to chat with your doctor during your visit—they are going to give you their spiel about what’s going on, but if you have specific things that you really want to get covered, then that’s your chance to drive things. I think writing them down really helps you remember in the heat of the moment, when you blank, where you want the visit to go. Be an active participant that’s prepared.

    MICHAEL BUCKLEY: That’s great. Any advice on how to prioritize the questions? Because people have some nerves and anxiety, any tips on helping people pick the top question or some sort of priority ranking?

    MICHAEL ALLINGHAM: I think it can vary a great deal. If there’s a burning question, then that’s the most important one to you. I think some of the questions that are frequently overlooked or neglected in the face of all of this new information are, “Whom do I call if I’m having a problem?” Very practical things. “How often do I take these vitamins?” or pragmatic things like the “what ifs” if you’re having an issue, just to be prepared down the line. I think prognosis questions, a lot of times those are uncomfortable—and by prognosis I mean, “how am I going to be doing 5 years down the line? Are there things I need to prepare for in case I end up having worse vision than I do now?” or things like that. Those are difficult questions to answer as a physician, but I think they are also important to lay out: the expectations, and what we can and can’t fix, and things like that. I think that’s not an obvious question sometimes.

    MICHAEL BUCKLEY: I appreciate that. When people are scheduling a doctor’s appointment, is there a better time of day that patients should try to get?

    MICHAEL ALLINGHAM: That’s a great question. I end up offering a lot of advice about that. I would first say that if you know as a patient that you’re at your best in the morning and that you tend to get tired by the afternoon, or you’re hungry if you miss lunch, or things like that, then morning is probably a great time for you. The advantage of an appointment that’s first thing is that most physicians—myself unfortunately included—tend to run a little bit behind, and if you’re one of the first couple patients, I can’t get behind, because you’re the first in line, so there is an advantage there. All that said, if you’re grumpy in the morning, and it’s hard to get out of bed, and there are other issues, then sometimes you know the afternoon is a better time.

    You want to pick a time when you’ve had a chance to eat, and when you’re at your best to absorb information and tolerate the rigors of the exam, because it does take about an hour, and there’s pictures that we will talk about more in the future and everything. It’s an ordeal sometimes, and if you’re exhausted then it’s tough to do.  

    MICHAEL BUCKLEY: That is great advice. You hear about people who want to bring along a friend or a relative, what is sort of the protocol or etiquette or best practice to go about bringing someone along? Do I have to ask the doctor’s office, or how or what should I ask, or how would I go about that?

    MICHAEL ALLINGHAM: I think I speak for most of us—we love having one or maybe two family members or friends along for a variety of reasons, so it would be unusual for someone to have objections. I have had a circumstance where someone wanted to bring seven family members into the room—more than three is a crowd—and that can get distracting and challenging and things like that. Most docs would love having somebody along.

    I would choose somebody whom you’re comfortable sharing your medical history with, in case someone asks questions about your past history like, “Were you a smoker?” or “What’s your other medical history?” and you obviously want to be able to have that discussion in front of the person. Someone who is medically literate or aware of how the system works can also be helpful.

    I really think the advantage of having someone with you is it really offers you another set of eyes and ears that isn’t involved in the one-on-one between you and the doctor. So they are a great person to take notes so that, when you walk out and you immediately forget 50 percent of what you heard, you have another set of ears that can help you remember. They may prompt you for questions that you had thought you wanted to ask, but then you forget in the moment. It’s a wonderful thing. Most of my patients have someone with them—most of my AMD patients anyway.   

    MICHAEL BUCKLEY: Great. So to follow up on your point, Dr. Allingham, about bringing someone along and taking notes, is there a preferred method of taking notes? For example, a lot of people now like to record things on a smartphone. How does that note-taking process interact with your work and what you’re trying to do?

    MICHAEL ALLINGHAM: I will say that I think that for my part I don’t mind if people record our conversation. Usually I think it is good etiquette to ask the doctor’s permission, because there are some facilities with rules about videotaping. I think it’s polite that, if you’re going to record somebody, that you let them know that. I personally think it’s a very efficient thing to do. You have a recorder in the room, and you have the whole visit encapsulated. In terms of taking paper notes, I think that’s always fine. It can be a challenge in that sometimes the exam room is dark because we are doing the examination in the dark, so that’s something to be aware of. I’ve had family members bring a little pen light to help them scribble things down. It is really what works for you. I think both things are good and I encourage them.

    MICHAEL BUCKLEY: Great, thank you; that was helpful. Related to that, I want to let our audience know that BrightFocus has resources that are free of charge at our website and also on the telephone at BrightFocus’ phone number, 800-437-2423. We have a number of materials that are very similar to what we are talking about today in terms of questions to ask your eye doctor, essential facts about macular degeneration or glaucoma, different treatments that are involved, and support for caregivers—we have publications for caring. That can be very helpful.

    Our first question comes in from Maryland—how does a patient find the right doctor and determine if they have the right qualifications for their concern?  

    MICHAEL ALLINGHAM: This is a really common question that I see. I think a lot of it really depends on what your goals are and what the stage of your disease is. So if the question is, “My mother had macular degeneration, I’m now into my 60’s, I’m curious whether this is something that I need to worry about?” I think that a qualified, comprehensive ophthalmologist or a general ophthalmologist is typically more than capable of rendering that judgment and screening to say, “Oh no, you don’t have any findings to go with macular degeneration, why don’t I just check on you each year?”

    If your question is more, “I know I have macular degeneration and I’m having trouble. My vision doesn’t seem normal. Do I have wet or dry macular degeneration?” Things like that, I really think that tends to fall more to a retina specialist, so that’s somebody with ophthalmology training, has an MD after their name and did an additional fellowship for a couple of years specifically looking at retinal diseases, and that’s what they are doing all day. So you’d be looking for someone with those qualifications, especially if you’re talking about injections or things like that for treatment. 

    MICHAEL BUCKLEY: I appreciate that. Do you have any advice for patients that may have some concerns in advance about how they are going to pay for this? Whether it’s insurance coverage or if an office requires payment up front, any tips that you can give patients for how to navigate the before, during, and after financial aspects of a doctor visit?

    MICHAEL ALLINGHAM: Absolutely. I think this is—for doctors and patients—an increasingly challenging thing to navigate, because what I’m seeing is that people’s coverage and what they think is covered is changing on an almost monthly basis. What we are increasingly having to do is—particularly for expensive treatments or procedures—checking with the insurance company ahead of time so that there aren’t surprises.

    So I can say that our office has a financial care counselor who specifically addresses those sorts of questions, so they can talk to people who are coming to see us as new patients and make sure that their insurance does okay with Duke’s claims, and if there’s an expectation that there may be some testing that may be expensive, they can try to help you get a handle on what your expected cost would be.

    I think the number one thing I would say is that—obviously if you’re coming in for an emergency, it’s different, but if it’s a planned visit, coming in prepared—and you can reach out to the doctor’s office, and a lot of us have people whose job it is to help our patients navigate those questions, because they are very difficult.

    I think getting some idea of what’s going on in the front end is important. Along those same lines, during the visit it’s not unreasonable to kind of—if you have cost concerns or you’re paying out of pocket or things like that—tell your doctor, and a lot of times we can try to optimize our approach in light of that information. And we don’t always ask people as much as we should, and then after the visit if you’re having difficulty or there is a surprise, again, that’s when you need to advocate for yourself and reach out to your doctor or their office. A lot of times insurance companies make mistakes, and they don’t pay the first time, and you need to make a phone call and explain why it’s necessary, and then you can get it sorted out. It can be a pain in the neck, but usually a good doctor’s office will have advocates to help you navigate.

    MICHAEL BUCKLEY: I appreciate your candor and your guidance on that topic. Another thing we often hear people find overwhelming is—you’ll be asked to give your current list of medications and, you know, I think once you start getting into multiple prescriptions in your life with some very long complicated names—how should someone best approach that as they prepare for their visit?

    MICHAEL ALLINGHAM: That’s a standard part of the intake for any new patient. It’s required these days. It’s very difficult.

    I’ve found two approaches work well. The first thing you can do is put all of your pill boxes and all of your eye drops into a large baggie and bring it in, all the ones that you’re taking. Typically our technicians can kind of decipher that and get the information, because it’s impossible to remember off the top of your head.

    The second, perhaps even better thing is—a lot of my patients have a little document that essentially has the medicines that they are taking, and sometimes it even has the surgeries they’ve had, and “these are my other known medical conditions,” sort of a brief capsule. Some of that is getting—if you’re not totally new to the office—a lot of that is getting less necessary because most of them are on an electronic medical record and that helps. If your other doctors start you on things, it usually pops up in our records.

    I think a list or just bringing your meds is the easiest way to avoid mix-ups.

    MICHAEL BUCKLEY: Great. We have another question from Maryland, and this person was wondering what type of tests would you perform to see if a person had macular degeneration?

    MICHAEL ALLINGHAM: That is a great question. The diagnosis of macular degeneration is becoming a little bit of a controversial topic. It’s very difficult to do without a dilated eye exam, so if someone is telling you what you have and you didn’t get dilating drops and blurry vision and big pupils, then they probably didn’t get looked at. You have to get a dilated exam. Usually they will get some imaging called an OCT, which is a mouthful, but it stands for optical coherence tomography, and that is essentially a light-based test that uses invisible light to take a cross-section of your retina, which is the tissue in the back of the eye that is affected by macular degeneration and which does the actual seeing of light.

    What I usually insist on for new patients, in addition to that OCT, is a little more invasive—it’s a fluorescein angiogram, which involves the injection of a dye—which is different than what they use for CAT scans or MRIs—into the vein. That lets me image the blood vessels in the retina, and that is really the gold standard way to determine (1) do you have macular degeneration, and (2), more importantly, do you have dry or do you have wet?

    There are some other tests as well, but I think those are the two mainstays. The one that comes as most of a surprise to people is the angiography, because they don’t walk in necessarily thinking that their eye doctor is going to inject a dye into their vein and then take a picture of that.

    MICHAEL BUCKLEY: That’s fascinating. In terms of the tests you might do, kind of a last question about preparing for a visit in advance—I’ve heard a phrase in the last couple of years called Dr. Google, the physician most of us consult with most often. How do you reconcile—and I understand you want people to think ahead and do their research—but how do you in your conversations balance what someone says they learned on the internet versus the doctor visit that you’re conducting? How do you handle that conversation?

    MICHAEL ALLINGHAM: It’s a challenge that we face every day. As a whole, it’s been demonstrated that the patients who do those sorts of searches and are self-educating are patients that over the long haul do better, because they are invested and involved in their own care, so I applaud that. What I will say is one of the wonderful things about organizations like BrightFocus is that they are on the Internet and provide reputable information about the basics of disease, topics like we are discussing today, what research is around the corner.

    Google is wonderful, but there is a lot of misinformation. There are vitamin formulations that have no evidence basis to support them, but people are selling them—to restore vision—on the internet. You have to be careful in terms of validating the information you’re getting, and I think that’s the biggest snag with people. They hear one thing, and I have to say, “That may be, but I don’t think there is evidence to support the use of this, that, or the other thing.”

    MICHAEL BUCKLEY: That’s definitely an interesting balance. One thing we wanted to explore with you—in a doctor’s visit, occasionally people receive disturbing news, and all of us are human, and that can take a while to sink in. Do you have any tips for how people could best process uncomfortable news over the ensuing hours or days after the appointment?

    MICHAEL ALLINGHAM: It’s challenging. The first thing I’ll say is that during the visit, having a sense of prognosis—and so I think when people hear, “I have macular degeneration,” and they think about their parent or grandparent who was legally blind because of it, they immediately jump to the worst-case scenario. I think having a sense of your prognosis is important. So that’s information you have to extract.

    Going beyond the nuts and bolts of that, it just takes some time to handle the shock of hearing that you have a new diagnosis that is vision-threatening, because we are all so dependent on our vision. So I think that talking with somebody is really helpful, and I think what most people end up doing is they sort of repeat the story over again, and it doesn’t seem like—there may not be a purpose to it, but you’re processing it just by saying it, and you’re processing it by putting your fears into words and then getting the support that you need from your friends and family. I think the worst thing that you can do is go home, search for the worst possible outcomes on the internet, and sit there and brood about it by yourself.

    I think the best thing you can do is talk to your friends and family, reach out for help, be open and honest about what you’re afraid of, with your friends and your doctor. Then start taking steps to address the risks of vision loss in the most proactive way that you can.

    MICHAEL BUCKLEY: I appreciate that. That’s very helpful for our listeners today to understand that there is an emotional component as well. And related to that, research that has been supported by BrightFocus and others has shown the impact of lifestyle—day-to-day life and choices—on vision health and other health.

    When you have to recommend to a patient to make some lifestyle changes, maybe stop smoking or not eat as much ice cream or French fries or something, if I’m a patient and that’s pretty difficult news to hear, and I’m not sure I could carry that out, any suggestions to the patient on how to respond to some of your suggestions that might be quite challenging?

    MICHAEL ALLINGHAM: Absolutely. This is hard thing, and particularly dovetailing to the question we just discussed is—if you’re in the process of dealing with the new diagnosis, and you’re afraid and trying to digest all this information, that’s probably not the time to go and make a huge lifestyle change as well. I think you have to deal with the information first, and then a few weeks later, when things are a little bit clearer, then you start figuring out what you’re going to do about it. That is step one.

    I think that the second step is that when someone says that we know that for a fact that smoking makes macular degeneration worse, it makes our treatments not work as well, what people hear is, “I need to quit instantaneously.” What I would want them to hear is—we need to accept that this is a change that is going to be in the best interest of your overall health as well as your visual health. We need to take steps and formulate a plan to attack that problem. Lifestyle changes—whether it’s food or smoking or other things—are very difficult, and it’s always uncomfortable and unpleasant. And I think that if you look at the problem in totality, it is overwhelming, but if you break it up into an action plan with smaller steps, it’s a little bit more doable. I think that’s how people are most successful most of the time.

    MICHAEL BUCKLEY: I appreciate that. In terms of some of the prescriptions that people may be given at appointments by doctors such as yourself, what’s best for the patient in terms of understanding the prescriptions that they may be asked to take, both how and when to take them, and are there alternatives—basically, how does the conversation about prescriptions go?

    MICHAEL ALLINGHAM: I think first and foremost is getting written instructions and text that’s large enough for you to easily read and things like that, and just having it written down, because the biggest problem is that I will say to the patient, “Okay, I’m going to start you on an eye drop now. You need to do this one three times a day and do this other one four times a day,” and then you walk out and say, “Wait a minute, what?” and everything gets scrambled. I’m a big believer in paper instructions for medications and things like that.

    The second thing is you have to figure out a game plan to remember, because I think most of us are on a bunch of medications, and planning that is difficult. So with eye drops, a lot of times if they are on it three times a day, for example, I will say, just associate it with breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If it’s something you do once a day, then take it right when you wake up, or take it when you go to bed, or take it when you brush your teeth. There are ways to incorporate the dosing into daily activities, and that helps trigger your recollection to do things like that.

    Unfortunately, a lot of our meds aren’t things that you do once a day—it’s usually drops that are several times a day, so it’s not like you can take all your pills in the morning and then be done. It can be a little bit of a challenge, but I think writing it down and then figuring out what your routine is going to be in terms of trying to make it a habit are the best approaches.

    MICHAEL BUCKLEY: I appreciate that. Also in terms of prescriptions, a few minutes ago you gave some really good advice for people who are trying to figure out who is going to pay for this doctor visit and how. Related to that, when people have concerns or questions about prescriptions, what’s the best way for them to articulate that to you?

    MICHAEL ALLINGHAM: I think that you’ve really got to come right out and say it. Sometimes doctors can get into habits with the medications that we use, and some of our most frequently used medications are finally becoming generic, and so saying, “Is there a generic for that?” or “Is there another medication that could be less expensive?” particularly if you get sticker shock when you go to fill your eye drop prescription, you can always wait a day and call the office and see if there’s another plan.

    I would also say that most of the pharma companies that make these drops and injectables and things have assistance programs, so if you have a lot of out-of-pocket expenses associated with it or insurance that is only partially covering it, or if you have no insurance to help, a good office can find a workaround to help with that. You have to ask or we won’t know that you’re having that struggle.

    MICHAEL BUCKLEY: You’re exactly right. People can be a little too proud. On our website,, we have a list of patient assistance programs, and you can also call our office at 800-437-2423. Sequentially, we are getting to the end of the doctor’s visit and questions afterwards. If you’re like me or many people, you’re the most articulate after the meeting is over, so what should someone do if after the appointment they still have some questions or points they wish they had told you?

    MICHAEL ALLINGHAM: I think there are a few things. One of the benefits of the electronic medical record is that it’s a lot easier to reach out via email or sort of an email equivalent to the doctor’s office and get some of those questions answered, and I find that a lot of those questions are those pragmatic ones that I was mentioning before, which is, “How often do I take this drop?” or “What is the emergency number for your office if I have changes in my Amsler grid?” or things like that.

    So reaching out to us electronically is pretty easy, calling the office—we know that people forget what we say or that we forget to say things that are important sometimes—and for non-urgent things, a lot of times that can set you up for your next group of questions for the next visit. I find that frequently—I see most patients many times over many years—my first visit is explaining the diagnosis and trying to get them up to speed, and then they go home and they realize that they have two or three other questions that they didn’t realize, and they write them down and bring them back when we talk about that the next time. For most eye conditions, most of them are chronic, and you end up having a relationship with your doctor over time, so just remembering those questions if they aren’t critical and bringing them back can also be another way to get around that.

    MICHAEL BUCKLEY: We have time for just a couple more questions. I wanted to ask you about a common concern, which is getting a second opinion. I know some patients find that an awkward topic to broach. Any suggestions on how someone should mention the second opinion if that’s on their mind?

    MICHAEL ALLINGHAM: I think that’s a really common and uncomfortable thing for patients most of the time, more than for doctors. I think patients are afraid that their doctor is going to disown them or be offended if they want another opinion. The vast majority of doctors, or the doctors that I would want to be seeing as a patient myself, would be really comfortable with a second opinion.

    I recognize—I’ve had the talk with my patients that a physician-patient relationship is something like a marriage or a relationship, you know, not everyone gets along. Some people respect me as a doctor but they want a different style, and I’m fine with that. Some people just want to hear a second person confirm a frightening diagnosis before they start shaping their life around what’s going on. At the end of the day, I’m here to do what’s best for my patients, and if I think they would benefit from a second opinion, then I’m always on board to help arrange that, and I will even give them a name. My top line of advice would be don’t be afraid to ask. I think most doctors are used to that, and half of my patients are second opinions from someone else, so it’s not as uncommon as you might think.

    MICHAEL BUCKLEY: That’s very reassuring. Another question related to people’s concerns or anxieties is that you’ll hear doctors or see something in the office that mentions clinical trials, and that’s a common phrase, but I don’t think it’s always well-understood. Are you involved with clinical trials, or do you have any suggestions for people who are either interested or concerned or afraid? It’s a big concept that I don’t think people truly understand.

    MICHAEL ALLINGHAM: I am—that’s one of the big things I do as a clinician scientist at an academic institution. It can mean a lot of different things. I have some clinical trials which literally consist of getting the patient’s permission to look at their examination findings and their imaging and then correlate that with how they do over the long term to try to learn more about how we can predict who is going to do well and who is going to need more treatment and things like that. That’s essentially no skin off your back as long as you don’t mind my looking at your pictures.

    At Duke we have phase 1 trials for new drusen drugs that we are going to be rolling out. We have a couple phase 2 trials: one is an injectable for advanced dry macular degeneration, one is a stem-cell therapy for advanced dry macular degeneration, and then there are other new drugs that are for wet macular degeneration. They come in different flavors—some are literally a safety study—is this safe to do in a person with this condition, because we don’t know if it will help you or not. Some of them are trials that are immediately before approval of the drug, saying, is this better than our standard of care—we already know it’s safe and now we are looking to see if it helps. I think for a lot of things—for dry macular degeneration, for example—there isn’t really an FDA-approved therapy to cure it; we have the vitamins to slow it down, so we get a lot of interest in clinical trials there. It’s important to flesh out what exactly you’re getting out of it and what are the risks involved and things like that with your doctor before you sign up, but I think it’s a great option, and obviously it has the potential to help millions of people aside from yourself.

    MICHAEL BUCKLEY: One more question that we got from Martha from Virginia—she is wondering how the eye care doctor communicates back with the primary care doctor. In other words, whose responsibility is it to make that happen? Is it the patient’s responsibility, or does the physician do that? Who communicates with whom to keep everybody fully informed?

    MICHAEL ALLINGHAM: I think this is an area of great change in medicine. It can depend. At Duke and where I practice, both the private practice people and the people at Duke—as well as the people at other universities nearby—are all on the same electronic medical record software, so it’s easy to forward a note, or your doctors can do a search and find your notes from other physicians. We are all interconnected, so to speak. However, there are times when people can’t see that, and I think that I encourage my patients—if that’s a concern of theirs—to get paper copies of their relevant clinical notes and to keep those with them because that’s the most—I find that communication between doctors’ offices frequently either takes a while or gets lost. Having a hard copy is never the wrong answer. I think most doctors will send a note to your primary care doctor if you ask them to. I have people ask me to do that sometimes, and I’m always happy to oblige.

    MICHAEL BUCKLEY: That’s great. I know that’s a big concern.

    We do these chats once a month on the last Wednesday of the month. Our next chat is going to be March 30, 2016 and it’s going to be called “Spring Cleaning: Making Your House Safer for Low Vision.” We encourage you to register for that now, and we also encourage you to submit your questions in advance. For those of you who received information about this chat via email, you’ll receive an email for that.

    Again, at any time you can contact BrightFocus at 1-800-437-2423. And at that number or at, you can find a lot of information free of charge to help families that are affected by vision diseases.

    I just want to conclude by thanking Dr. Michael Allingham of Duke University. Dr. Allingham, I think you gave some clear, candid, and very useful information. And most importantly, I want to thank our listeners. Dr. Allingham, do you have any final words for our audience?

    MICHAEL ALLINGHAM: I appreciate the opportunity to be here and to speak with everyone. I hope it was helpful and that it will bring you more success with your doctor visits in the future.

    MICHAEL BUCKLEY: Well, fantastic, thank you very much and again to our listeners, thank you, and hopefully you’ll be back for March 30, “Spring Cleaning: Making Your House Safer for Low Vision.” Thanks, everyone. 

  • BrightFocus Foundation: 1-800-437-2423 or visit us at Available resources include:

    Clinical trials information:

    The information provided in this transcription is a public service of BrightFocus Foundation and is not intended to constitute medical advice. Please consult your physician for personalized medical, dietary, and/or exercise advice. Any medications or supplements should be taken only under medical supervision. BrightFocus Foundation does not endorse any medical products or therapies.

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