A woman talking to her doctor with a giant speech bubble between them listing all her questions and concerns.

Preparing for a Visit to the Eye Doctor

I know many of us are well past that first, scary diagnosis of macular degeneration and some already know much more than they ever wanted to about it. But for those of you earlier on that journey, here are some ideas on optimizing your time with the doctor.

Your first doctor's appointment

We all want to find out as much as we can from our doctor. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just absorb all his or her knowledge having to do with our particular condition? But since that isn’t possible, we need to know what questions to ask; whether that is from the nurse, or from the few minutes we get with our doctor. Here are a few ways we can prepare ahead of time.

Do some research

To begin, do your research. This is much easier now that we have all the relevant information available to us on the internet. The time with our doctor is better spent when they know we’ve done our homework. But always question the source of the sites that you use. Make sure they are reputable sources of knowledge and information. The more we understand, the easier it is to discern how it may impact us. I know personally if I can see how things fall into place logically, it’s much clearer and easier to accept.

Make a list

Make a list of any and all things that come to mind, including what may or may not be a symptom, no matter how small. You can always delete the insignificant things later. But this helps us not forget something that may turn out to be important. Then investigate each item, knowing some will just lead to more questions. If something makes you question it along the way, add it to the list. And don’t forget to take that list with you every time!

When I come across aword or phrase of which I’m not completely sure, I quickly copy and paste it onto a new page. Then when I’m finished reading I can check that my understanding of it is correct. If it’s a new word or idea, it gets a dictionary visit immediately. Perhaps because this old brain can only absorb so much at a time. :)

Keep track of your medications

Remember to take your list of medications with you, including over-the-counter ones, and update it whenever there’s a change. It could make a difference. Don’t forget to include the strength of a prescription. At my last visit, I asked about the cortisone cream that had just been prescribed for my face. My face! For eczema. Too close to my eyes! Online I had found mixed responses to my query regarding the impact of cortisone on macular degeneration. But yes, I was told it was safe to use.

Looking back

I wish I had thought of these things earlier, before my first visits. It probably would have made me less anxious. But as I’ve gone farther down this AMD path, I’ve learned how much I can control as well as how much I need to just accept.

This is what’s worked for me. Do you have any suggestions that would be helpful to someone newly diagnosed? Let us know. As patients, we need all the help we can get.

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