By Neda Shamie, MD
Today, patients are taking a more active role in their health care than ever before, but there are areas that still need more emphasis. Though patients want to have a voice and be actively engaged in making decisions about their health, many struggle with the conversation being had — or in some cases, not being had — in the eye doctor’s office.
In fact, a recent online survey by Allergan, makers of Restasis Multidose, and Kelton Global, revealed more than half (53 percent) of respondents are most comfortable talking about their health with a general practitioner, while only 6 percent said the same about their eye care professional.
Many patients may not realize that good communication can be as important as the physical eye exam in identifying symptoms, determining a diagnosis and recommending customized treatment plan. So how can patients get the most out of their next visit with an eye doctor? Knowing what to ask and which changes and symptoms to discuss, can guide the conversation and help an eye doctor spot signs of eye conditions — and even other health conditions that first manifest with eye symptoms.
Even though the majority of those surveyed (82 percent) have visited an eye care professional in the last five years, only a handful have brought up everything they should during that conversation with their doctor. While many raise concerns about a change in vision, respondents were less likely to bring up issues like burning or stinging, redness or watering eyes, which are tell-tale signs of an eye condition called Chronic Dry Eye. Among those with concerns, nearly half (44 percent) of survey respondents don’t openly discuss concerns with their eye doctor because they don’t think it’s a serious issue, hope it will go away on its own or assume it’s a natural consequence of aging. Patients need to know it is a detriment to their long-term eye health to ignore these symptoms. [Read more…]