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Maintaining healthy vision: Talking to your doctor

Aug. 30, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

Being diagnosed with an eye disease or disorder can be upsetting and you may leave the doctor's office without asking the questions you'll think of later. An important part of any patient/physician relationship is good communication. The National Eye Institute (NEI) recommends asking questions like the following if you're diagnosed with an eye problem:

About my disease or disorder

What is my diagnosis?

What caused my condition?

Can my condition be treated?

How will this condition affect my vision now and in the future?

Should I watch for any particular symptoms and notify you if they occur?

Should I make any lifestyle changes?

About my treatment

What is the treatment for my condition?

When will the treatment start, and how long will it last?

What are the benefits of this treatment, and how successful is it?

What are the risks and side effects associated with this treatment?

Are there foods, drugs, or activities I should avoid while I'm on this treatment?

If my treatment includes taking a medication, what should I do if I miss a dose?

Are other treatments available?

About my tests

What kinds of tests will I have and are there any side effects?

What do you expect to find out from these tests?

When will I know the results?

Understanding your doctor's responses is essential to good communication. Here are a few more tips:

If you don't understand your doctor's responses, ask questions.

Take notes, or get a friend or family member to take notes for you.

Ask your doctor to write down his or her instructions to you.

Ask your doctor for printed material about your condition.

Other members of your health care team, such as nurses and pharmacists, can be good sources of information. Talk to them, too.

For more information, visit http://www.nei.nih.gov/healthyeyes/talktodoctor.asp.

Healthy Habits 2013 is a partnership among Cabell Huntington Hospital, Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine and St. Mary's Medical Center. We are a community working together to improve our health. Our goal is a simple one; to inform and encourage area residents on ways to improve their health. Join our conversation and "like" us on Facebook at www.facebook. com/healthyhabits2013.

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