Macular Degeneration Research

Macular Degeneration: Your First Appointment

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Being prepared for your first visit with your eye care provider helps you get the best possible care. We have recommendations for what to ask, what to bring, and how to answer your doctor’s questions.

The Top Five Questions to Ask Your Eye Doctor

Preparing ahead of your doctor visits can help you best manage your vision health. Take these questions with you when you visit the doctor.

  • Am I at risk for developing an eye disease?
  • What tests will we be doing today, and do they include a dilated eye exam to check for diseases such as glaucoma and macular degeneration?
  • How should I best monitor my eye health?
  • How often do you recommend that I return for a comprehensive eye exam?
  • Are there lifestyle changes that I can make to prevent or reduce my risk of eye disease?

What to Bring to Your Appointment

When you make your appointment, ask if you need to do anything in advance. You should also ask what you need to bring. Here are some suggestions:

  • Your health insurance information and a photo ID
  • Eyeglasses or contact lenses you currently wear
  • Information on any history of eye disease in your family
  • A list of the medications, vitamins, and supplements you take or the bottles themselves, if it’s easier
  • Details about any allergies or other medical conditions
  • Any symptoms you’re experiencing, even if they don’t seem related to your vision
  • A notepad and pen or pencil to write down key points
  • A friend or relative to accompany you, if possible

Questions Your Doctor May Ask You

During your first appointment, your doctor will ask you questions to learn more about your vision and your overall health. Be prepared to answer questions such as:

  • When did you first notice your vision problem?
  • Does the condition affect one or both eyes?
  • Do you have trouble seeing things near to you, at a distance, or both?
  • Do you smoke?
  • Do you have other medical problems such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes?
  • Do you take any vitamins or supplements?
  • What medications do you take?
  • What types of foods do you eat?
  • Do you have a family history of macular degeneration?

If You Are Diagnosed with an Eye Disease

Take an active role in the understanding and treatment of your condition. Here are some questions to ask your doctor when you discuss your diagnosis.

  • What kind of macular degeneration do I have?
  • How advanced is my macular degeneration?
  • What is the visual acuity (the clarity or sharpness of vision) in my central vision?
  • Will I experience further vision loss?
  • Will taking a vitamin or mineral supplement help prevent further vision loss?
  • Am I likely to need medications or surgery, now or in the future?
  • Do these medications have any side effects?
  • Will insurance cover these treatments, or is financial assistance available?
  • How often will you check my eyes to make sure they are not getting worse?
  • What's the best way to monitor my vision for any changes?
  • What symptoms should I be watching for?
  • Could I benefit from low vision services—such as occupational therapy or technological aids—to help me best use my remaining vision?
  • Do you have any materials or other suggestions on how I can learn more about this disease?
  • Is it safe for me to drive?

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