If you have an appointment for a comprehensive eye and vision exam scheduled, there's a good chance the majority of your exam will be conducted by a vision professional known as an ophthalmologist. If it's been awhile since your last eye exam or if this is the first eye exam you've ever had, there are some important questions you might not think to ask the ophthalmologist that can provide you with valuable insight into your ocular health.
"What Are My Risk Factors?"
When you arrive at the ophthalmologist's office, you'll likely be given a patient history form to fill out before your exam begins. This form will ask for information on your family medical history as well as your age, any symptoms you may be experiencing, and medications you may be taking. All of this is important for your ophthalmologist to know before your exam begins, as your answers to certain questions on this form can reveal unique risk factors for certain eye and vision conditions. It's never a bad idea to be aware of these risk factors, so don't hesitate to ask about them.
"What Screenings Will You Perform?"
Aside from routine eye and vision screening, such as visual acuity and eye function testing, ask your ophthalmologist what other types of screenings may be recommended based on your risk factors and history. For example, if you haven't had a retinal exam in a few years (or have never had one), there is a good chance you'll need to be screened for glaucoma and other optic nerve conditions.
"How Should I Be Protecting My Eyes?"
Depending on your lifestyle, there may also be some special steps you should be taking to protect your eye and vision health in between eye appointments. For example, if you work in front of a computer screen for most of your day, ask your ophthalmologist about the steps you can take to protect your eyes from damage caused by blue light. He or she may recommend a pair of blue-light-blocking lenses, or simple lifestyle changes (such as taking occasional breaks from the screen) that can help.
"How Often Should I Come Back?"
Most patients will benefit from an annual eye exam, though more or less frequent exams may be recommended based on your lifestyle and eye health. Of course, if your insurance covers an annual exam, it's never a bad idea to go once a year regardless.