Preparing for your appointment

You may encounter three kinds of specialists as you seek help for various eye conditions:

  • Ophthalmologist. An ophthalmologist is an eye specialist with a doctor of medicine (M.D.) or a doctor of osteopathy (D.O.) degree who provides full eye care. This care includes performing complete eye evaluations, prescribing corrective lenses, diagnosing and treating common and complex eye disorders, and performing eye surgery when it's necessary.
  • Optometrist. An optometrist has a doctor of optometry (O.D.) degree. Optometrists are trained to provide eye health examinations, prescribe corrective lenses, diagnose and treat some eye conditions.
  • Optician. An optician is a specialist who helps fit people for eyeglasses following prescriptions from ophthalmologists and optometrists. Some states require opticians to be licensed. Opticians are not trained to diagnose or treat eye disease.

No matter which type of eye specialist you choose, here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment.

What you can do

  • List any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
  • List key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes.
  • Make a list of all medications, vitamins or supplements that you're taking, including doses.
  • List questions to ask your doctor.

Preparing a list of questions will help you make the most of your visit. For astigmatism, some basic questions to ask include:

  • What is likely causing my symptoms?
  • Other than the most likely cause, what are other possible causes for my symptoms?
  • What kinds of tests do I need?
  • Is my condition likely temporary or chronic?
  • What is the best course of action?
  • What are the alternatives to the primary approach that you're suggesting?
  • I have these other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
  • Are there any restrictions that I need to follow?
  • Should I see a corneal specialist?
  • Will my insurance company pay for surgical procedures or a contact lens fitting?
  • Do you have any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me? What websites do you recommend?

Your doctor may ask:

  • When did you first begin experiencing symptoms?
  • Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
  • How severe are your symptoms?
  • What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?
  • What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?