During an online education seminar, Ophthalmologist Dr. Divya Perumal discussed how to prepare for your ophthalmology appointment to know what to expect, reduce anxiety & feel empowered to make decisions with your eye specialist. She highlighted the importance of the relationship with your eye health providers and encouraged asking questions to understand your diagnosis and treatment plan. Professor Danesh-Meyer, Chair of Glaucoma New Zealand, describes your relationship with your glaucoma specialist as “like a marriage.” You’ll be together for the rest of your life; you’ll experience ups and downs, and the need for trust cannot be understated.
Some information that may be helpful to bring to your first appointment include:
- Copy of your referral letter
- Copy of your medical history – ask your GP for this. New Zealand privacy laws restrict medical practitioners from sharing your records, so don’t assume your eye specialist knows your medical history.
- List your medications or herbal remedies you are taking.
- Knowledge of family or inherited diseases. Do other family members have glaucoma, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, or any other disease?
- any other allergies?
For this and following appointments, she recommends the following:
Always take your medication/treatment as scheduled up to and on the day of your appointment.
Keep a record of your appointment date and time, and make sure you have enough time planned for travelling to and attending the appointment.
Bring a written list of questions about your eyes, vision, or medications, and write down your doctor’s answers.
Bringing a friend or family member to your appointment as a second set of ears can help you capture all the details from your visit. This can be especially helpful early in your diagnosis. Let the eye clinic know if you need an interpreter for your visit.
Let your doctor know if, for any reason, your medications are not working for you or if your daily routine has changed.
Report any new symptoms to your doctor, such as redness, irritation, itching, tearing, or decreased vision. Symptoms may be related to the disease, side effects, or complications of medication or surgery.
Bring an updated list of medications to your appointment. Be honest about how regularly you have been taking your eye drops, which may influence treatment decisions. Any new medication added by other doctors should be mentioned to your glaucoma doctor.
If for any reason you are not feeling comfortable or lack confidence in your eye health provider, remember you can ask for a referral to someone else. Talk to your General Practitioner.