A Letter to My Retina Specialist

There are things I would like to tell my retina specialist face-to-face. He’s too busy to hear most of these things, so I’ve written him this letter.

I know you gave up a lot

Dear Doctor,

Thank you for looking after my eyes and my dry macular degeneration.

I know you gave up a lot to become a doctor. You probably became an ophthalmologist first, then went on to become a retina specialist.

I appreciate all the training you’ve done. I know you have possibly completed more than 1 university degree and further postgraduate studies. I understand that you have worked at various eye hospitals, sometimes with very long, late shifts, and for not much pay in the beginning. You’ve possibly dragged your family around the world to get international experience. And keeping up with the latest research is time-consuming.

Some things you should know about me

Your time is valuable – I recognize that. I know you want to see as many patients as possible in a day, and I think you really want to help people.

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

But there are some things I’d like you to know about me, too.

Because I know you are busy, I try to arrive early and never keep you waiting. I’d rather be an hour early than 5 minutes late (I think this is a genetic trait I inherited from my mother, but it has stood me in good stead over the years!).

I would like you to realise that I am nervous. I know today I will eventually leave your office with good news or bad news. All the time I am waiting, I am wondering how I will feel as I leave. By the time I get to see you, I’m often scared. I may have been scared and worried for weeks.

Travel to a doctor's office can be difficult

Please realise that it takes me nearly all day to get here and to get home again on public transport. If I seem a bit stressed, it’s not only because I’m seeing you today. It’s because I had to walk, catch a train, change trains, catch a tram, and then walk again to get to you. And, obviously, I’ll have to do the same in reverse to get home.

I’m not complaining. It’s even more difficult for other people. Some people have come from out of town, and they may need to stay overnight somewhere. I see people in your waiting room in wheelchairs or on walking frames, and I realise I’m not too badly off. But please understand if I look a little flustered after my journey.

Please don't short-change me on time

I changed doctors to come to you, so I have high hopes.

And this is what I hope for from you:

Please don’t overbook, and please give me the time I need when it’s my turn. Don’t roll your eyes when you spy my list of questions. I’ve thought about these questions carefully and researched what I could. I know I’m not here for a chat – I really want to know the answers to these questions. Sometimes you will have emergencies to attend to, but please don’t short-change me on time.

I would like you to listen and respect my opinion when I tell you I have seen changes in my vision, even if you can’t see them on the OCT. I want you to know about my squiggles and blank spots.

You may know there is nothing more you can do for me at that particular visit, but I would still like a few moments of your time. I don’t just want to see your assistant doctor.

Inform me of new research and treatments

I would like you to mention to me if you are aware of any new and upcoming treatments. Even though you may not be using them yet, it gives me a chance to research and think about what might be available in the future.

I would like you to be aware of some complementary supplements and possible treatments such as saffron, curcumin, or red light therapy, which may be of benefit. I would appreciate a comment from you, and for you not to dismiss them out of hand.

I hope we can form a partnership that works on respect and understanding that goes both ways.

Your patient,


Treatment results and side effects can vary from person to person. This treatment information is not meant to replace professional medical advice. Talk to your doctor about what to expect before starting and while taking any treatment.
This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The MacularDegeneration.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

Please read our rules before commenting.