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Working with your Eye M.D.
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Working with your Eye M.D.

Treatment for any eye condition requires teamwork between you and your ophthalmologist (Eye M.D.). Your ophthalmologist can prescribe treatment but only you can make sure that you follow your doctor's instructions.

Clear, open communication is the foundation of this relationship.  Here are some questions that you can ask and some tips for partnering with your Eye M.D.

Understand Your Condition and Treatment Options

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

Also:

  • Ask your doctor how to spell any unfamiliar medical terms.
  • Take notes during your visit, or bring along a friend to take notes for you.
  • Ask for written materials.
  • If you think of any other questions between visits write them down so you can discuss them at your next visit.

Follow Your Doctor's Instructions

If is very important that you follow all of your Eye M.D.'s instructions closely.  Take any prescribed medication as directed and follow other recommendations about diet, exercise, and travel.  Your actions have a very important part to play in the success of your treatment.

If you can think of any reason why following instructions may be challenging for you, bring it up immediately.  Whether it's cost, or lifestyle, or any other conflict, your Eye M.D. can help you find a solution.

Don't automatically trust information you find on the Internet or in other literature.  Check the source of the information.  If you see or hear anything that raises questions, continue to follow treatment instructions and discuss your concerns with your Eye M.D.

Be Open with your Doctor

Tell your Eye M.D. about any other medical problems you have, even if they are not related to your eyes.  This will help your doctor recommend appropriate treatment for you.

Examples of some conditions you should mention are:

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Heart Problems
  • Asthma or trouble breathing

Also, mention any vitamins, supplements, or medications you are already taking.

If you are having trouble following your Eye M.D.'s orders, don't feel embarrassed or worry about hurting your doctor's feelings.  The more information your doctor has, the better he or she can help you.

If a prescription medication is too expensive, talk to your doctor.  There are programs to help people pay for medications.  There might also be a less expensive alternative.

If you notice bothersome side-effects, let your doctor know.  There may be something you can do to reduce, or better cope with the side-effects, and still get the benefits from the medication.

This information used/adapted with permission from the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, www.eyecareamerica.org.  Accessed June 18, 2009.

 

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