Questions to take to your next appointment
Doctor’s Orders is the first in our Doctor Speak series. Sometimes when you go to the doctor it seems that the doctor is speaking a completely different language; I call it “doctor speak.” Doctor speak is what we learn in medical school. But, I find myself reminding the residents I teach that it is not the language that patients speak. Doctor speak is technical and specific. So when you go to the doctor, he or she, will likely give you a very technical diagnosis and treatment plan. A lot of this plan is complicated and not always in plain english (or your first language). Because it is so important to understand your health and eye conditions I have a few tips and questions to bring to your next visit.
- What is the name of my diagnosis? Can you write it down for me?
- How severe is my condition?
- Is this condition treatable?
- If so, what is the treatment?
- Will the treatment stabilize or improve my vision?
- What is my current best corrected visual acuity? (How well can I see?)
- Do I qualify for low vision rehabilitation? (Vision less than 20/40, decreased peripheral vision, scotoma?)
These questions should help you to understand the doctor’s diagnosis. With these answers you will understand your vision better and be able to seek more information if necessary.
Dr. Erin Seefeldt is a board certified ophthalmologist and residency program director who has published and presented nationally. She is committed to improving vision care and vision rehabilitation services.