Preparing for your appointment

By Mayo Clinic Staff

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 — who can perform a complete eye exam.

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

What you can do

  • Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions, and ask if there's anything you need to do in advance.
  • Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to your vision problem.
  • Make a list of all medications, as well as any vitamins or supplements that you're taking.
  • 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.

Questions to ask your eye doctor

Your time with your doctor is limited, so preparing a list of questions will help you make the most of your time together. For wet macular degeneration, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:

  • What kind of macular degeneration do I have?
  • What is the visual acuity in my central vision?
  • How advanced is my macular degeneration?
  • Will I experience further vision loss?
  • 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 low vision aids or adaptive devices might be helpful to me?
  • Is it safe for me to drive?

In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask questions during your appointment 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 reserve time to go over any points you want to spend more time on. Your doctor may ask:

  • When did you first notice your vision problem?
  • Does the condition affect one or both eyes?
  • Do you have trouble seeing things near you, at a distance or both?
  • Do you smoke?
  • Do you take any vitamins or supplements?
  • What medications do you take?
  • What types of foods do you eat?
  • Do you have a family history of macular degeneration?
  • Do you have diabetes, hypertension or high cholesterol?
Dec. 01, 2012

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