Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
Start by making an appointment with your child's doctor or pediatrician if your child has any signs or symptoms that worry you. If your child is thought to have an eye problem, you may be referred to a doctor who specializes in 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 child's 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 child's diet.
- Write down any symptoms your child is 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 changes in your child's life.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins or supplements your child is taking.
- Take a family member or friend along. Sometimes it can be difficult to remember the information provided during an appointment. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
- Write down questions to ask your child's doctor.
Your time with your child's doctor is limited, so preparing a list of questions ahead of time can help you make the most of the time. List your questions from most important to least important in case time runs out. For retinoblastoma, some basic questions to ask your child's doctor include:
- What kinds of tests does my child need?
- What is the best course of action?
- What are the alternatives to the primary approach that you're suggesting?
- Should my child see a specialist? What will that cost, and will my insurance cover it?
In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your child's doctor, don't hesitate to ask other questions during your appointment.
What to expect from your child's doctor
Your child's doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may allow more time to cover other points. Your child's doctor may ask:
- When did your child begin experiencing symptoms?
- Have your child's symptoms been continuous or occasional?
- How severe are your child's symptoms?
- What, if anything, seems to improve your child's symptoms?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen your child's symptoms?
- Retinoblastoma treatment (PDQ). National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/retinoblastoma. Accessed Oct. 2, 2012.
- Yanoff M, ed., et al. Ophthalmology. 3rd ed. Edinburgh, U.K.: Mosby Elsevier; 2009. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/212799885-2/0/1869/0.html. Accessed Oct. 2, 2012.
- Surgical procedures. American Society of Ocularists. http://www.ocularist.org/resources_surgical_procedures.asp. Accessed Oct. 2, 2012.
- Kliegman RM, et al. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2011. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/208746819-6/0/1608/0.html. Accessed Oct. 2, 2012.
- Dimaras H, et al. Retinoblastoma. The Lancet. 2012;379:1436.