Preparing for your appointment

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Start by seeing your family doctor if you have any eye-related signs or symptoms that worry you. If your signs and symptoms persist or get worse, despite treatment, your doctor may refer you to an eye specialist (ophthalmologist). If your condition is caused by allergens, you may need to see an allergy specialist.

Because appointments can be brief, it's a good idea to be well-prepared. 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 stop wearing contact lenses or refrain from using eyedrops.
  • 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 and supplements that you're taking.
  • List questions to ask your doctor.

For pink eye, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:

  • What's the most likely cause of my symptoms?
  • What kinds of tests do I need?
  • What treatments are available?
  • How long will I be contagious after starting treatment?
  • Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing me?
  • Do you have any brochures or other printed material that I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?
  • Do I need to come back for a follow-up visit?
  • Is this a threat to my vision?

What to expect from your doctor

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

  • When did you begin experiencing symptoms?
  • Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
  • How severe are your symptoms?
  • Does anything improve your symptoms?
  • What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?
  • Do your symptoms affect one eye or both eyes?
  • Do you use contact lenses?
  • How do you clean your contact lenses?
  • How often do you replace your contact lens storage case?
  • Have you had close contact with anyone who has pink eye or cold or flu symptoms?
  • Has your vision been affected?

What you can do in the meantime

If you use contact lenses, remove them until you can see your doctor. Wash your hands frequently to lessen the chance of infecting other people. Don't share towels with other people for the same reason.

You could try artificial tears. Or apply warm or cold compresses to your eyes for a few minutes several times a day. These steps may ease your discomfort until you see your doctor.

July 16, 2015