Preparing for your appointment

To check for macular degeneration, a dilated eye exam is necessary. Make an appointment with a doctor who specializes in eye care — an optometrist or an ophthalmologist. He or she can perform a complete eye exam.

What you can do

Before your appointment:

  • When you make the appointment, ask if you need to do anything to prepare.
  • List any symptoms you're experiencing, including those that seem unrelated to your vision problem.
  • List all medications, vitamins and supplements you take, including the doses.
  • Ask a family member or friend to accompany you. Having your pupils dilated for the eye exam will affect your vision for a time afterward, so you may need someone to drive or accompany you after your appointment.
  • List questions to ask your doctor.

For macular degeneration, questions to ask your doctor include:

  • Do I have dry or wet macular degeneration?
  • How advanced is my macular degeneration?
  • Is it safe for me to drive?
  • Will I experience further vision loss?
  • Can my condition be treated?
  • I have other health conditions. How can I best manage these conditions together?
  • Will taking a vitamin or mineral supplement help prevent further vision loss?
  • What's the best way to monitor my vision for any changes?
  • What changes in my symptoms warrant calling you?
  • What low vision aids might be helpful to me?
  • What lifestyle changes can I make to protect my vision?

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, such as:

  • When did you first notice your vision problem?
  • Does the condition affect one or both eyes?
  • Do you have trouble seeing things near to you, at a distance or both?
  • Do you smoke or did you used to smoke? If so, how much?
  • What types of foods do you eat?
  • Do you have other medical problems, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure or diabetes?
  • Do you have a family history of macular degeneration?