Preparing for your appointment

Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment.

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.
  • List any symptoms you're experiencing, including those that seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
  • List key personal information, including major stresses and recent life changes.
  • List all medications, vitamins and supplements that you're taking, including doses.
  • Ask a family member or friend to come with you. You may wish to ask someone who could drive you home if your eyes are dilated as a part of your exam. Or this person could write down information from your doctor or other clinic staff during the appointment.
  • List questions to ask your doctor.

For retinal detachment, some basic questions include:

  • What's the most likely cause of my symptoms?
  • What are other possible causes of my symptoms?
  • What tests do I need? Do they require any special preparation?
  • Is my condition likely temporary or ongoing?
  • What are my treatment options, and which do you recommend?
  • What are the alternatives to the first approach that you're suggesting?
  • I have another medical condition. How can I best manage them together?
  • Do I need to restrict my activities in any way?
  • Do I need to see another specialist?
  • Do you have any brochures or other printed material I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?
  • What will determine whether I should plan for a follow-up visit?
  • If I need surgery, how long will recovery take?
  • Will I be able to travel after surgery? Will it be safe to travel by plane?

What to expect from your doctor

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

  • When did you first start having symptoms?
  • Do you have your symptoms all the time, or do they come and go?
  • How severe are your symptoms?
  • Have you had any symptoms in your other eye?
  • Have you ever had an eye injury?
  • Have you ever experienced eye inflammation?
  • Have you ever had eye surgery?
  • Do you have any other medical conditions, such as diabetes?
  • Have any of your family members ever had a retinal detachment?
April 12, 2016
  1. AskMayoExpert. Retinal detachment. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2015.
  2. Lumi Xhevat, et al. Ageing of the vitreous: From acute onset floaters and flashes to retinal detachment. Ageing Research Reviews. 2015;21:71.
  3. Posterior vitreous detachment, retinal breaks, and lattice degeneration PPP. San Francisco, Calif.: American Academy of Ophthalmology. Accessed Jan. 15, 2016.
  4. Arroyo JG. Retinal detachment. Accessed Feb. 3, 2016.
  5. Gilca M, et al. Factors associated with outcomes of pneumatic retinopexy for rhegmatogenous retinal detachments: A retrospective review of 422 cases. Retina. 2014;34:693.
  6. Information for healthy vision. National Eye Institute. Accessed Jan. 15, 2016.
  7. Barbara Woodward Lips Patient Education Center. Retinal surgery and care after. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2013.
  8. Yanoff M, et al., eds. Rhegmatogenous retinal detachment. In: Ophthalmology. 4th ed. Edinburgh, U.K.: Mosby Elsevier; 2014. Accessed Jan. 15, 2016.
  9. Creating a comfortable environment for people with low vision. American Foundation for the Blind. Accessed Jan. 22, 2016.
  10. Tintinalli JE, et al. Eye emergencies. Tintinalli's Emergency Medicine: A Comprehensive Study Guide. 8th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2016. Accessed Jan. 22, 2016.
  11. Robertson DM (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Feb. 2, 2016.