You’ve made your appointment for your annual eye exam - now what? After you’ve saved the date in your phone or planner, we advise that all of our patients make a secondary note about preparing for their visit. We do this because we know from experience that patients who prepare for their eye exam are more likely to have a simple, straightforward visit, and a better experience at their ophthalmologist’s or optometrist's office overall.
Preparing for an eye exam is a fairly easy process. Patients just need to remember to bring several key items and pieces of information for their - and their doctor’s - benefit:
- Your vision and health insurance information. Insurance information is a must at any doctor’s appointment. It’s particularly important, however, to remember to bring your vision insurance information in addition to your health insurance information - depending on the type of exam you’re undergoing and the reason for your visit, your regular health insurance may not cover your visit.
- Your current glasses or contacts (if applicable). Whether you wear these items full-time or only during certain activities, it’s important to bring any vision aids you wear to your appointment. Doing so will help eye doctors confirm whether or not the prescription in these aids is giving you the best vision possible. Your doctor may also want to confirm that your contacts, if you wear them, still properly fit. If they don’t, your doctor will want to carry out a new fitting to make sure your contacts are less likely to irritate or injure your eyes.
- New information about your eyes and eyesight. If you’ve experienced any changes in your vision since your last appointment, you’ll need to bring these changes up to your doctor so they can look into the matter. While some changes may indicate an ordinary change in vision, others may be symptoms of more serious developing eye problems.
- New information about your health. Think that your ophthalmologist/ optometrist only wants to hear about your eyes? Think again. In addition to examining your eye, your eye doctor is responsible for making sure your overall health isn’t affecting your vision. To help them do this, patients are encouraged to bring:
- A list of any medications you’re taking (not just prescription), as certain medications can affect our vision and eyes
- Updates on any new health issues that have developed, as well as any recent injuries, operations, or illnesses you’ve experienced lately
- Any new information you may have about your family’s history of eye problems, such as cases of glaucoma or cataracts in close relatives
- Sunglasses - and maybe a driving buddy. Eye dilation is a basic component of most eye exams. However, the eye dilation process makes our eyes much more sensitive to light, and often makes it much harder to see clearly. Because of this, it’s important that patients bring sunglasses to ensure they’ll be able to protect their eyes after an appointment. Patients who know they have particularly strong reactions to eye dilation are also advised to bring a friend or family who can drive them home after the procedure to their appointment.