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Talking to Your Doctor

Lighthouse International has given these helpful tips about when to see and how to talk to your doctor.

When to See a Doctor

Even if a person has not experienced any eye problems in the past, he/she needs to see an ophthalmologist for the scenarios stated below:

  • Experience a change in vision in one or both eyes, such as blurring, double vision, blind spots, flashing lights or floaters
  • Experience pain, persistent irritation, itching, discharge or the sensation of a foreign body
  • Recurrent conjunctivitis or red eyes
  • Experience problems with too many or too few tears
  • Currently taking steroids orally for any other condition
  • Growth on the eyelid or the eyelid is incorrectly positioned
  • Diabetic

Questions You Can Ask

Today, patients take an active role in their health care.  A close partnership between the patient and the doctor helps achieve the best possible level of health. The first and most important part of such partnership is good communication. Here are some questions you can ask the doctor to get things started:

 About the Disease/Disorder

  • What is my diagnosis?
  • What caused my condition?
  • Can my condition be treated?
  • How will this condition affect my vision now and in the future?
  • Should I watch for any particular symptoms and notify you if they occur?
  • Should I make any lifestyle changes?

About My Treatment

  • What is the treatment available for my condition?
  • When will the treatment start and how long will it last/take?
  • What are the identified benefits of this treatment and how successful is it?
  • What are the identified risks and side effects associated with this treatment?
  • Are there any foods, drugs or activities that I should avoid while I’m on this treatment?
  • If my treatment includes medication, what should I do if and when I miss a dose?
  • Are there any other treatments available?

About My Tests

  • What kind of tests will I have to undergo?
  • What do you expect to find out from these tests?
  • When will I know the results of these tests?
  • Do I have to do anything special to prepare for any of the tests?
  • Do these tests have any side effects or risks?
  • Will I need more tests later on?



Here are a few more tips when consulting with a doctor:

  • Ask questions until everything is clear and understandable
  • Take notes (or have a friend or a family member take notes for you) and bring a tape recorder to assist in the recollection of the discussion
  • Ask the doctor to write down the instructions he/she has given
  • Ask the doctor for printed material about the disease/condition you are experiencing
  • Ask for available materials and resources that can supplement the doctor’s responses
  • Talk to other health care members, such as nurses and pharmacists, who can provide  more information