Visiting an optometrist can be an intimidating and stressful experience for many. Everyone has concerns regarding visiting an eye doctor, especially if they are suffering from eye problems, pain or irritation. Nevertheless, by knowing how to prepare for the visit, you can ease the stress and tension of the process. In fact, after reading the suggestions below, you will be more prepared to get through the eye test. (Tip: If you are visiting an optometrist for the first time, take someone along who can listen and ask questions. Sometimes the diagnosis can be distressing, which can lead to you not listening to the doctor).
What to Think About Before Your Visit:
- Do you have a family history of eye problems, like cataracts or glaucoma?
- Did you have any sicknesses, operations, injuries or health issues lately the optometrist may need to know about?
- How well do you take care of your contacts and glasses? Do you take off your contacts every night?
- Are you prepared to follow the optometrist’s advice with regards to your vision problems (if any)?
- Does an eyesight problem make you nervous or cause stress during certain activities?
- Have you noticed any eye problems, like double vision, poor night vision, flashes of light, blurry vision, or eye pain?
What to Bring Along for Optometry Your Visit:
- Prepare a list of questions. Bring them along to ask your optometrist and clear any confusion.
- Eyesight insurance information (if your health insurance package covers eye check-ups, appointments, etc).
- If your appointment includes having your pupils dilated, it is imperative to bring a friend or family member to drive you home.
- The address and name of your primary care doctor (just for affirming you aren’t allergic or sensitive to any medicine, etc).
- A list of all prescribed and non-prescribed medication. An optometrist may be able to look at the list and determine if any medication is causing poor eyesight.
- Your current contacts, glasses, and sunglasses.
What to Ask the Optometrist during Your Visit:
- Should you be doing anything differently to take better care of your eyes?
- How can you protect your eyesight while playing sports, or staring at the computer, laptop, or smartphone screen?
- Should you look out for any food or medication that could harm your overall eye health?
- How many hours per day is it okay for you to wear contacts?
- Do you have any serious eye problem/issue? What treatment would it require?
- Can you schedule your next visit now?
Things to Expect during the Visit:
- You must expect long waits and plan accordingly, as appointments are usually fatiguing and lengthy. You may even require multiple visits for different tests.
- You may feel tense while waiting for your turn. Bring your iPod or an audio book along to manage the wait time and anxiety.
- Your eyes may need to be dilated for a thorough examination. Expect temporary sight impairment, increased glare, and discomfort.
- It may take a while to diagnose your condition, as specialists have to go through numerous reports and tests.
- The staff may not realize you require help to navigate around the office. Don’t hesitate to ask for help to get to the optometrist.
- If you have a degenerative disease, ask for estimated timelines for the progression of the condition and what to expect.
How Often Should You Visit an Optometry?
Different medical organizations have different schedules, but everyone needs an eye exam. Professional optometrists suggest:
- Adults aged 65 or older should visit an eye doctor every 1 to 2 years.
- Adults who reach the age 40 should get their eyes checked regularly.
- Young people should get their eyes checked once in their 20s and twice in their 30s.
- Children may need to have their sight checked at birth, after 6 months, and 3 years (before and after) entering school.
Patients with serious conditions like diabetes, or a family history of eyesight related problems, like corneal diseases, glaucoma, and macular degeneration should visit optometrists for frequent check-ups.