Preparing for Your Next Visit to the Doctor
“Be Prepared” is not only a great motto for the Boy Scouts but a terrific idea to get the most from your next appointment with your ophthalmologist or retina specialist. How many times have you left an appointment with unanswered questions? Could it be that the right questions weren’t asked? Here’s what I’m talking about . . .
Save Articles to Discuss
Many of us are avid readers on MacularDegeneration.net but often discover that it’s unclear what actually applies to us or we have unanswered questions about what we can expect. The more knowledgeable we are, the more intelligent questions we can ask, giving us a much better idea of our specific condition and treatment options or trials available to us. When we come across information - either from an article, the internet, or speaking with another person - it’s important to discuss that information with our doctor. Before your next appointment, make sure you collect and save anything you want to discuss - put it in a file for your next visit or note any questions you may have on your Smart Phone in the Notes or calendar section. There are many options. Pick what’s most comfortable for you!
Write Down What’s On Your Mind
When questions or concerns arise between visits, WRITE THEM DOWN! I like to add them to my Notes where I have scheduled the next appointment with my Retina Specialist on my iPhone calendar. That way, everything is there with me on the day of my appointment. I simply pull up the notes I want to discuss. If an electronic calendar doesn’t work for you, simply find a central place to keep your personal notes and take them with you to the next office visit. Don’t trust your memory! It’s far too easy to get distracted or forget so be sure to WRITE IT DOWN.
Your Doctor Wants to Know About You
Doctor appointments should not be one-sided with the doctor doing all the talking. Help your doctor help you by asking questions and sharing concerns. It’s not all about the mechanics of the exam. It’s just as important to eliminate or reduce anxiety by establishing a comfortable relationship with your doctor and addressing any concerns or questions you may have. Then be sure to note your doctor’s responses for future reference.
Assessing Your Eye Care Options
Our medical care needs change over time, sometimes requiring a reassessment. With a macular degeneration diagnosis, you may be considering a change.
Ask yourself: Are you confident that you are getting the best possible care? Do you have a comfortable relationship with your doctor? Is a fresh, new perspective needed? Would it be less complicated to have one doctor oversee your vision care? If you’re happy with the way things are, no need to look further. However, if there is any doubt or concern about your treatment, it may be time to make a change.
For example, I recently made the decision to change my two bi-annual exams: one to my retina specialist and another to my regular ophthalmologist, scheduled six months apart. It occurred to me that it might be better to have all my records at the same place so now I am seeing only my retina specialist, twice a year. For me, that made more sense. The key point is to do what makes sense to you. Trust your instincts because what works for someone else might not work for you. You are the expert on YOU!
In summary - Be a good Boy (or Girl) Scout - Be Prepared! When you are prepared, every appointment will be productive and you will leave feeling informed and empowered!
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