10 Questions to Ask Your Eye Doctor

by Melissa Chichester

For most people, vision is the sense they rely on the most.

Your eyes help protect you from danger and allow you to learn more about your environment. That’s just one reason it is so important to take care of your eyes. 

Regardless of age and whether or not you have eye issues, it is important to get an annual eye exam. These exams are an essential step in preventative care and help you and your eye doctor manage your eye health for years to come. Asking your eye doctor questions can help you better understand what is happening in your eyes and also help you stay on top of your eye health all year long! 

What tests are you running during my eye exam?

Most eye exams start by evaluating basic eye health. This includes scanning your eyes and looking for conditions such as astigmatism. If you are confused about what these tests are and the results, it is important to ask your eye doctor about them during the appointment. 

Will these tests have any side effects?

Some tests impact your eyes for a short period of time afterward. You may experience sensitivity, blurred vision, or other side effects. For example, dilation causes sensitivity, especially to sunlight. 

Is my eye condition stable?

For many people, small eyesight shifts are normal and are even a result of aging. But if you have an eye condition, it is important to ask if it is progressing or changing so you know what to expect. 

How can I protect my vision?

If you are unsure of how to take action and protect your eyes, your eye doctor will be able to share many ideas. This might include wearing prescription sunglasses, making specific lifestyle changes like quitting smoking or wearing protective goggles during hobbies or recreational activities. It might also include different times of the day to avoid the sun.

Senior couple wearing sunglasses to protect their eye health.

What does this eye term mean?

At any appointment, you are likely to hear a term that you do not understand. At an eye doctor, that might include:

  • Astigmatism
  • Low vision
  • Visual acuity 
  • Confocal scanning microscopy
  • Conjunctiva
  • Gonioscopy 
  • Ophthalmoscopy
  • Ocular hypertension
  • Iridotomy

This a small selection of terms you might hear from the eye doctor. If you do not know a word or phrase your practitioner mentions, always ask. 

Can family history play a role in eye health?

If you have a family history of eye health issues, you might wonder if this is something that can be passed down to you. Share your family eye health history with your practitioner along with your concerns, so you can work together to create a plan for healthy eyes. 

How can my vision change with age?

Most people experience eye health changes as they get older. An eye doctor will be able to answer questions about your vision and how it might shift depending on your age. 

How can I properly clean and store my contact lenses?

Wearing dirty contact lenses not only makes it more difficult to see, but it’s also unhealthy for your eyes. Contact lenses require care and deep cleaning to avoid getting debris (including allergens) into your eyes and keep them from causing problems. Your eye doctor will be able to show you how to properly clean and store your contact lenses to keep your vision clear!

>>The Beginner’s Guide to Eye Health

How can I support my eye health at home?

Taking care of your eyes is like any other part of your health. You should take steps daily to protect your vision. Your eye doctor will be able to recommend nutritious foods, eye health supplements, and lifestyle habits that support healthy eyes. This might include steps such as wearing sunglasses, making recommendations for eye drops, or suggesting blue-blocking glasses if you work at a computer frequently or experience eye strain from devices.

When should I schedule my next appointment?

You might need more frequent eye exams depending on your age, tests you need, or any eye conditions that are present. Make sure you communicate with your eye doctor to stay up-to-date on eye health tests year-round. 

When you head into your appointment with questions already prepared, you are more empowered to take care of your well-being and the health of your eyes for the year ahead. Having questions prepared also improves the relationship you have with your eye doctor and makes it easier for them to understand what you need. Finally, this healthy habit will make you a better advocate for your wellness and more confident in getting the answers you are looking for during your health journey.