Preparing for your appointment

Make an appointment with your usual eye care provider if you notice changes in your vision. If your doctor determines that you have cataracts, then you may be referred to an eye specialist who can perform cataract surgery.

Because appointments can be brief, and because there's often a lot to talk about, it's a good idea to be well-prepared for your appointment. Here's some information to help you get ready.

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.
  • Make a list of all medications, vitamins or supplements that you're taking.
  • Take a family member or friend along. Sometimes it can be difficult to absorb all the information provided during an appointment. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
  • List questions to ask your doctor.

For cataracts, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:

  • Are cataracts causing my vision problems?
  • What kinds of tests do I need?
  • Will cataract surgery correct my vision problems?
  • What are the potential risks of cataract surgery? Are there risks in delaying surgery?
  • What will cataract surgery cost, and will my insurance cover it?
  • How much time will I need to recover from cataract surgery?
  • Will any usual activities be restricted after cataract surgery? For how long?
  • After cataract surgery, how long should I wait before getting new glasses?
  • If I use Medicare, will it cover the cost of cataract surgery? Does Medicare cover the cost of new glasses after surgery?
  • If I don't want surgery right now, what else can I do to cope with my vision changes?
  • How will I know if my cataracts are getting worse?
  • I have these other health conditions. How can I best manage these conditions together?
  • Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?

In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask questions at any time that you don't understand something.

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may allow more time later to cover other points you want to address. Your doctor may ask:

  • When did you begin experiencing symptoms?
  • Do you have your symptoms all the time or do they come and go?
  • Do you experience vision problems in bright light?
  • Have your symptoms gotten worse?
  • Do your vision problems make it difficult for you to drive?
  • Do your vision problems make it difficult to read?
  • Do your vision problems make it difficult to do your job?
  • Have you ever had an eye injury or eye surgery?
  • Have you ever been diagnosed with an eye problem, such as inflammation of your iris (iritis)?
  • Have you ever received radiation therapy to your head or neck?