Annual eye exams are a critical part of caring for your vision. But before you run out the door to your next appointment, you’ll want to make sure you have everything you need for the visit! Bringing the right information and tools to an eye exam will make your appointment run much more smoothly, and will help both you and your eye doctor get the most out of the time you spend in the exam room. So the next time you head out to visit your ophthalmologist, be sure that you don’t forget these five important things:
A current set of glasses or contacts. If you wear glasses or contacts full-time, then this step won’t be hard to remember. But even if you only wear a vision aid part of the time and to carry out certain tasks, you should bring your glasses or contacts to your appointment. Doing so will help your ophthalmologist test whether or not your current vision prescription is helping you see as clearly as possible. This will also give your eye doctor a chance to make sure your vision aid of choice fits properly; this is especially important if you wear contacts, which can irritate your eyes and lead to problems when they don’t quite fit.
A list of the medications you take. You might not think your eye doctor cares about your medications, but this is actually a crucial piece of information for them. Every medication has side effects – and certain medications can actually increase your chances of developing different vision problems. Because of this, your ophthalmologist needs to know what sorts of medicines you regularly use; this will allow them to check for relevant possible problems and could even lead to an updated recommended eye exam schedule, depending on your individualized vision needs. (By the way: don’t just mention your prescription meds, either – over-the-counter medications and natural supplements should also go on any list you make for your ophthalmologist.)
Sunglasses (or a driving buddy). Yearly eye exams often include tests that can only be run when your pupils are dilated. To make this happen, your ophthalmologist will use eye drops to enlarge your pupils. Until the eye drops wear off, however, your eyes will be extremely sensitive to light, and it will be difficult to see clearly. Some patients find that sunglasses are all they need after getting their eyes dilated. If you know that you’ll still have trouble seeing even if you wear shades, though, be sure to arrange a ride home so that you’ll be able to travel safely after your appointment. Remember, better safe than sorry!
Vision insurance information. One of the most common questions we receive is whether a patient should use their vision or medical insurance at an appointment. The answer to this will depend on the purpose of your exam. For example, patients with medical problems, such as glaucoma or dry eyes, will typically use their medical insurance. People seeking new glasses, on the other hand, will use their vision plan. Because of this, you should always bring a copy of your vision insurance card and your regular medical insurance information to your appointment, so that you’re prepared to use either.
Questions, concerns or information for your doctor. As you would during any medical appointment, it’s a good idea to review a few things you may wish to discuss or share with your eye doctor before the appointment. Things you should review and consider mentioning during the exam include:
Your family history, as some eye issues have a genetic component.
Recent health issues, injuries or operations that could impact your vision
Observations of changes in your vision, including difficulty judging distances, a harder time distinguishing colors, blurry vision, flashes of light, poor night vision, or double vision.
Any general questions or information you have about your eyes
If you have an eye exam coming up, now is the time to make a reminder to bring these five items to your next appointment. Each of these five things can play an important role in making your eye exam run more quickly, and they will also help make the appointment as beneficial and informational as possible for both you and your eye doctor. Still have questions about your upcoming appointment? We encourage you to call Everett And Hurite today at (412) 288-0885 so that we can address them.