Informed patients get more out of their healthcare. There’s nothing wrong with having trust in your doctor, but sometimes it’s advantageous to ask a few questions. Be proactive in your healthcare. Next time you visit the eye doctor, ask some of the following questions.
Am I at risk for any eye conditions?
This question is pretty open-ended, and your eye doctor may not be able to give you an exact answer. However, based on family history, age and lifestyle, your doctor may be able to make an educated guess. Which diseases you are at a higher risk for may inform dietary and lifestyle choices you make. A high risk of certain diseases may also change how frequently you need a full eye exam. Discuss these risks with your eye doctor to make sure you’re getting appropriate care.
What’s changed since my last visit?
Ask your doctor to update you on any changes to your eye health or prescription.
Your doctor probably won’t bring up every minor change in your prescription, unprompted. So if you want a general idea of how your eyesight is progressing, you may have to ask. Generally speaking, your vision will probably fluctuate when you are young and then again as you progress through middle age. It shouldn’t change as much during your adult years.
Am I a candidate for LASIK?
If you are waiting for your eye doctor to suggest laser eye surgery to you, then you’ll be waiting for awhile. Most eye doctors won’t bring it up unless you do. Don’t assume that you aren’t a candidate just because your eye doctor has never mentioned it. Go ahead and ask them if you’re at all interested.
Whether or not you are eligible for laser corrective surgeries like LASIK will depend on a few factors like your current prescription, your age, and your overall eye health. You will also have to be committed to following pre- and post-op procedures.
What can I do to protect my eyes?
Some suggestions may surprise you. (Did you know that raking leaves puts you at risk of eye infections from harmful bacteria and fungi that lurk in the leaves?) Talk with your eye doctor about your work and habits. They may have some advice on how to keep your eyes safe. For example, if you work with computers, they may suggest you purchase anti-glare glasses, and if you spend ample time outdoors, they may urge you to invest in some 100 percent UV-resistant sunglasses.
Your annual eye exam is also a good opportunity to talk about your diet. Eating a balanced diet is vital to maintaining good vision and overall eye health. Your doctor may have food or supplement suggestions tailored to your specific needs.
Am I wearing the right contacts?
This seems like a foolish question, but starting this dialog with your eye doctor often leads to multiple revelations. Asking about contact options will prompt your doctor to follow up with questions about contact lens wear and comfort. Then they can use this information to gauge whether or not a different type of contact lens is a good option for you. One of the most common mistakes patients make is assuming that the first brand of contact lens they were prescribed is the only option, and your eye doctor may not suggest others unless you broach the subject first.
Once you have an updated contact prescription, you are also free to shop around for lenses. You don’t have to buy them from your eye doctor. Online glasses and contact lenses can often be found at a large discount. 39DollarGlasses.com has multiple contact lens options and eyeglass frames for you to browse, all at a fraction of the price from a clinic.
Am I cleaning my contacts correctly?
If you wear contact lenses, then hygiene is crucial. If you don’t take perfect care of your contact lenses, then you run the risk of developing eye infections, some of which can be very serious. You don’t need to ask this every time you go to the eye doctor, but if it’s been a few years, go ahead and ask for a brief refresher. Many people slip into bad habits without realizing it.
Should I be taking eye drops?
You’re more likely to have dry eye if you’re middle aged or have had eye surgery in the past, but it can affect anyone. Your doctor will be able to see whether or not your eyes are dry, even if you can’t feel it. Yet they don’t always recommend eye drops automatically. Ask your doctor if your eyes could use a little extra lubrication. You may find that daily eye drops help you see more clearly and cut down on any irritation you might feel.
Don’t hesitate to start a conversation
Always be honest with your doctor about any symptoms you may be experiencing. If you don’t mention it, they won’t address it. So make sure your doctor knows about any pain, irritation or vision changes you’ve experienced.
And don’t be shy to ask for further information, like your prescription. Eye doctors are legally required to release your prescription to you, free of charge, so you are free to shop for glasses from other retailers. Confused by your prescription? Check out our handy prescription guide!