Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
Start by seeing your family doctor or a general practitioner if you have any signs or symptoms that worry you. If your doctor suspects you have an eye problem, you may be referred to an eye specialist (ophthalmologist).
If your doctor suspects you have an eye melanoma, you may be referred to an eye surgeon who specializes in treating eye melanoma. This specialist can explain your treatment options and may refer you to other specialists depending on the treatments you choose.
Because appointments can be brief, and because there's often a lot of ground to cover, it's a good idea to be well prepared. Here's some information to help you get ready, and what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
- Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. At the time you make the appointment, be sure to ask if there's anything you need to do in advance, such as restrict your diet.
- Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
- Write down key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins or supplements that you're taking.
- Consider taking a family member or friend along. Sometimes it can be difficult to remember all the information provided during an appointment. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Your time with your doctor is limited, so preparing a list of questions can help you make the most of your time together. List your questions from most important to least important in case time runs out. For eye melanoma, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- Do I have eye melanoma?
- Where is my eye melanoma located?
- What is the size of my eye melanoma?
- Has my eye melanoma spread beyond my eye?
- Will I need additional tests?
- What are my treatment options?
- Can any treatments cure my eye melanoma?
- What are the potential side effects of each treatment?
- Do I have to have treatment?
- How long can I take to decide on a treatment?
- Is there one treatment you feel is best for me?
- How will treatment affect my daily life? Can I continue working?
- How will treatment affect my vision?
- I have these other health conditions. How can I best manage them during treatment?
- Should I be referred to additional specialists? What will that cost, and will my insurance cover it?
- Are there brochures or other printed material that I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?
- What will determine whether I should plan for a follow-up visit?
In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask other questions that occur to you.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may allow time later to cover other points you want to address. Your doctor may ask:
- When did you first begin experiencing symptoms?
- Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
- Yanoff M, et al. Ophthalmology. 3rd ed. Edinburgh, U.K.: Mosby Elsevier; 2009. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/199400089-5/0/1869/0.html. Accessed June 5, 2012.
- Intraocular (eye) melanoma treatment (PDQ). National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/intraocularmelanoma/patient. Accessed June 5, 2012.
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- Robertson DM (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. June 8, 2012.