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How you prepare
There are three types of eye specialists. Which specialist you choose might be a matter of preference or will depend on the nature of your eye problem.
Ophthalmologists. These medical doctors provide full eye care, such as performing complete eye exams, prescribing corrective lenses, diagnosing and treating complex eye diseases, and performing eye surgery.
Optometrists. These doctors provide many of the same services as ophthalmologists, such as performing complete eye exams, evaluating your vision, prescribing corrective lenses, diagnosing common eye disorders and treating selected eye diseases with drugs. If you have a complex eye problem or need surgery, your optometrist can refer you to an ophthalmologist.
Opticians. They fill prescriptions for eyeglasses, including assembling, fitting and selling them. Some opticians also sell contact lenses. Opticians do not provide eye health evaluations.
Bring your prescription eyewear
If you wear contact lenses or glasses, bring them to your appointment. Your eye doctor will want to make sure your prescription is the best one for you.
Bring sunglasses to wear after your eye exam. If your eyes are dilated during your exam, sunlight or other bright lights can cause discomfort or blurred vision. Also, consider having someone else drive you home.
What you can expect
Before the exam
If you’re seeing a new eye doctor or if you’re having your first eye exam, expect questions about your vision and general health history. Your answers help your eye doctor understand your risk of eye disease and vision problems. Questions might include:
Are you having eye problems now?
Have you had eye problems in the past?
Do you wear glasses or contacts? If so, are you satisfied with them?
What health problems have you had in recent years?
Were you born prematurely?
What medications do you take?
Do you have allergies to medications, food or other substances?
Have you had eye surgery?
Does anyone in your family have eye problems, such as macular degeneration, glaucoma or retinal detachments?
Do you or does anyone in your family have diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease or any other health problems that can affect the whole body?