Everything looks a bit blurry. You get headaches even when you wear your glasses. You last eye check was over a year ago. You have a niggling suspicion you need to visit your ophthalmologist. You are right! Whether you’re experiencing vision issues or simply want to check your prescription is up to date, you need to make an appointment with your eye doctor or optometrist who will look over your medical history, check your eye health and test for any underlying medical conditions. Now you’re wondering how can you get the best out of your eye exam? Here’s a checklist to keep in mind as you prepare for an eye examination.
Tips for an Accurate Eye Exam
For starters, try not straining your eyes the day before your eye exam. This will ensure they’re rested and will provide more reliable results for your eye doctor. It’s a good idea beforehand to make a few notes to check in with your doctor.
#1 Write Down Your Symptoms
In an unfamiliar setting it’s all too easy to forget your symptoms if you don’t jot them down. Some of the symptoms (and their frequency) you must make a note of include:
- Blurry vision
- Distorted vision
- Eye pain
- Light flashes
- Floaters in your eye
- Poor depth perception
- Trouble seeing things up close
- Double vision
- Trouble judging distances or distinguishing between reds and greens
This is also a good time to make a mental note of things like how well are you taking care of glasses or contacts, and whether you’re following manufacturer instructions for your contacts. If you’ve had any health issues, injuries, operations, or sicknesses, it’s a good idea to let your doctor know.
#2 Make A Note Of Your Current Over The Counter And Prescription Medications
Your eye doctor needs to be aware of any medication you might be either using in your eyes, whether, it’s a lubricating eye drop or prescription medicine for cataracts or glaucoma. It’s also a good idea to let your doctor know if you are on medication for blood pressure, migraine, diabetes or any chronic ailment because these conditions can affect the eyes. It will also ensure that your optometrist doesn’t send you home with medication that can adversely react with what you’re taking now. It’s also a good idea to understand the exact way to use the medicines the doctor prescribes as well as potential side effects.
#3 Wear Your Existing Contacts Or Glasses To The Appointment
Either that, or take them along when you go for your appointment. This will help your ophthalmologist know your exact prescription and make adjustments if needed. Be prepared or questions like:
- Do you prefer wearing contact lenses or glasses?
- Have you had any issues with your current eyewear?
- Have you noticed any changes in vision?
- How long have you worn prescription eyewear?
- What makes you think you need a new prescription?
#4 What to Take With Your When You Go For Your Eye Exam
It’s a good idea to take along your current glasses, prescription sunglasses, and contact lenses. Also, do take along the list of current medications including over the counter medicines you might be taking.
If your appointment includes having your pupils dilated—and most yearly eye exams do—bring a friend or family member to drive you home or take a cab back. Light sensitivity and blurry vision are common side effects after getting your eyes dilated.
Finally, don’t forget to take along the list of questions you want to ask your doctor, so you don’t forget them.
#5 Ask Family Members About Their History With Eye Diseases
Like other chronic ailments, many eye diseases and conditions also run in families, so it’s important you know your family history. Understanding the medical history of your immediate family, your parents, grandparents and siblings should be enough. Some of the eye related conditions that could be transmitted through the family include:
- Color blindness
- Macular degeneration
- Retinitis pigmentosa
#6 Respond To The Doctors Questions As Accurately As Possible
The more information your eye doctor has, the better chance she has to diagnose and treat you. Be prepared to answer questions such as:
- Are you having problems in one eye or both eyes?
- How often do you experience blurry vision or see floaters?
- How many hours a day do you spend at a computer?
- Does something about your vision bother you?
- Do you have any eye discomfort?
#7 Questions You Should Ask Your Eye Doctor
Here are some of the questions you could be asking your ophthalmologist to ensure your eyes stay healthy:
- Has anything about my eyes changed since my last visit?
- Is there something I can do improve my vision?
- Do you think I should get Lasik vision correction?
- Should I switch to contact lenses or wear both, contacts and glasses?
- How many hours per day can I wear contacts?
- Should I be doing anything to care better for my eyes?
- How can I reduce eye strain?