Preparing for your appointment

By Mayo Clinic Staff

You're likely to start by seeing your family doctor or a general practitioner. If your doctor suspects you may have an eyelid problem, such as blepharitis, you may be referred to an eye specialist (optometrist or ophthalmologist).

Because appointments can be brief, it's a good idea to be prepared for your appointment. Here's some information to help you get ready.

What you can do

  • Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. At the time you make the appointment, ask if you need to do anything in advance, such as remove your contact lenses.
  • List any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to blepharitis.
  • Make a list of all medications, vitamins or supplements that you're taking.
  • List questions to ask your doctor.

Preparing a list of questions will help you make the most of your time with your doctor. List your questions from most important to least important in case time runs out. For blepharitis, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:

  • What is likely causing my symptoms?
  • What are other possible causes for these symptoms?
  • Are there general medical disorders that can cause this problem?
  • What kinds of tests will I need?
  • What treatments are available, and which do you think would be the best treatment for me?
  • Is this condition usually temporary or long lasting? After treatment, will it come back again?
  • Is my blepharitis contagious?
  • Should I see a specialist?
  • Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing?
  • Do you have any brochures or other printed material that I can take with me?
  • What websites do you recommend visiting for more information?
  • Can I continue to wear contact lenses?
  • Do I need to take special care cleaning my contact lenses and my carrying case?
  • Will I need a follow-up visit? If so, when?

In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask additional questions.

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may reserve time to go over any points you want to spend more time on. Your doctor may ask:

  • When did you first notice your symptoms?
  • Do your symptoms come and go, or do you always have them?
  • Do your symptoms occur at a particular time of day?
  • Have you been wearing contact lenses?
  • Have you changed cosmetic brands recently?
  • Have you changed soap or shampoo brands recently?
  • Does anything seem to improve your symptoms?
  • What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?
  • Has anyone close to you had a recent eye infection?
  • Have you ever had any eye diseases, eye surgeries or eye injuries?
  • Do you have other diseases or conditions?

What you can do in the meantime

As you wait for your appointment, you may find some relief from eye irritation by gently washing your eyelids a few times each day. To wash your eyelids:

  • Apply a warm washcloth to your closed eyelids for up to five minutes.
  • Gently rub your closed eyelids with a diluted solution of baby shampoo. Use a clean washcloth or clean fingers. You may need to hold the lid away from the eye while you are using the wash cloth to rub along the lash margin. This may require several minutes of gentle rubbing to remove the scales.
  • Rinse your eyes thoroughly with warm water.

Avoid anything that irritates your eyes, such as eye makeup and contact lenses.

March 13, 2015