Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
If you have signs and symptoms of optic neuritis, you may first see your family doctor or a general practitioner. However, when you call for an appointment, you may be referred immediately to a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating eye diseases (ophthalmologist).
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
- Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, and for how long. Be as specific as possible in describing your symptoms, including how you would rate the severity of your vision loss and whether your visual perception of colors has changed.
- Write down key personal information, including any recent stresses or major life changes.
- Make a list of your key medical information. Your doctor will want to know about any recent infectious illnesses you've had, as well as any other health conditions with which you've been diagnosed or treated. Also write down the names of all prescription and over-the-counter medications and supplements that you're taking.
- Take a family member or friend along. Sometimes it can be difficult to absorb all the information provided to you 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 may be limited, so preparing a list of questions will help you make the most of your time together. List your questions from most important to least important in case time runs out.
For optic neuritis, important questions to ask your doctor include:
- What is likely causing my symptoms?
- Are there any other possible causes?
- What kinds of tests do I need?
- What treatments do you recommend, if any?
- If you're recommending medications, what are the possible side effects?
- How fully do you expect I will recover, and how long will that take?
- How will you monitor my progress?
- Does this condition put me at risk of other medical conditions?
- How will you evaluate my risk of related conditions?
- If tests indicate that I'm at increased risk of other medical conditions, are there treatments that can help reduce my risk?
- Are genetic factors associated with my condition? Are my relatives at risk?
- Do you recommend genetic testing for my close family members?
- I have other health conditions. How can I best manage these conditions together?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may reserve time to go over points you want to talk more about. Your doctor may ask:
- When did you first begin experiencing symptoms?
- How would you describe your symptoms?
- How significantly has your vision decreased?
- Do your symptoms include seeing colors less vividly?
- Have your symptoms changed or gotten worse over time?
- Does anything seem to make your symptoms better, or worse, such as strenuous exercise or a hot shower?
- Have you noticed problems with movement and coordination?
- Have you noticed any numbness or weakness in your arms or legs?
- Have you recently had any infections?
- Have you been diagnosed or treated for any other medical conditions?
- Have any close relatives been diagnosed with optic neuritis?
- Have any close relatives been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis?
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