Here are a number of tips to help you prepare for your eye exam. Following these recommendations will make your exam go smoother and help your optometrist or ophthalmologist give you the best possible care.
1. Think of any specific questions about your eyes and vision that you want your eye doctor to answer. If necessary, write the questions down so you won’t forget them.
2. Be prepared to let your eye doctor know if you feel your vision has changed or needs improving for specific tasks – such as driving at night, using a computer, or reading.
3. Bring your previous eyeglasses prescription (if you have it) and all eyeglasses you currently wear, including sunglasses. This will help your eye doctor determine which lenses (if any) should be updated.
4. Write down the names and doses of any medications you take. Include any over-the-counter products you take – such as allergy medicines, pain relievers, vitamins, and artificial tears. Drugs of any kind (including non-prescription medications) can potentially affect your eyes and your vision.
5. Be prepared to tell your eye doctor if you have had any injuries to your eyes or head that may affect your vision.
6. If you wear contact lenses, wear them to your exam. If available, bring a copy of your contact lens prescription or the box they came in.
7. If you wear contact lenses, write down the names of the products you use to clean and disinfect your lenses. Also, bring your contact lens case with you so your doctor can determine if it should be replaced. (A worn or dirty contact lens case can increase your risk of eye infection, especially if you aren’t disinfecting your lenses properly.)
8. Find out if you have a family history of glaucoma or other eye diseases. Also, be prepared to tell your doctor if anyone in your immediate family has diabetes or hypertension. A family history of these disorders may increase your risk of developing them, along with eye conditions that are associated with them.
9. Get plenty of rest before your exam. You play a key role in determining the power of the lenses your doctor will prescribe. You will be shown different lenses and asked which provide the clearest vision, so you’ll want to be fresh and alert.
10. Your doctor may dilate your pupils to evaluate the health of your eyes. These drops will make your eyes more sensitive to light and may blur your near vision for a period of time after your exam. You may want to adjust your schedule that day to allow two hours for your pupils to return to normal before attempting to read or do close work. (If this is impossible, ask your eye doctor if he/she can use “reversal drops” to return your pupils to their normal size more quickly.)
Because your eyes will be more sensitive to light after your pupils are dilated, bring your prescription sunglasses to wear after your exam. (If you don’t have prescription sunglasses, your eye doctor will give you disposable shades to wear with your current eyeglasses after the exam.)
11. If you have health insurance or you subscribe to a vision care plan that you believe will pay for all or a portion of your exam fee, call your eye doctor’s office prior to your exam to make sure your doctor is an eligible provider for the plan. Be sure to also bring your insurance or vision plan membership card with you to your exam.
Finally, be courteous to your eye doctor and arrive on time for your appointment. Being late for your eye exam affects not only you, but all patients scheduled after your appointment. Being on time makes the day more pleasant for everyone and ensures your eye doctor will have sufficient time to offer you the care you need.