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Questions to ask at your appointment

An ECLO guides a person through an information booklet

This page has questions and tips to help you make the most of your time with the eye specialist and get answers about your eye health.

It’s natural to have questions when you’re worried about your eye health. Asking questions at your appointments can help you understand what’s happening, feel more confident about the future, and help reduce any anxiety you might be feeling.

It can be hard to remember everything you want to ask the eye specialist, especially if you’re feeling worried or nervous about your appointment. This page has ideas and helpful questions you can ask them.

Before your appointment, we also recommend writing down your list of questions, so you don’t forget anything. It’s also worth taking a pen and paper with you to your appointment, so you can write down information the specialist gives you.

Finding out more about your eye condition:

  • What is my condition called?
  • What causes my condition?
  • Can it be cured or treated?
  • What will happen to my sight in the future?
  • Where can I get more information?
  • Who can I talk to if I have more questions later?
  • What happens next?
  • Do I need to tell the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)?
  • Are there any lifestyle changes I could make that will help?

You can also look up your eye condition and get easy-to-read information about it, including symptoms and treatments, on our online eye conditions guide.

If you need treatment:

  • What, if any, are the complications of treatment?
  • Will treatment make my sight better - or at least stop it getting worse?
  • What would happen to my sight if I chose not to get treatment?
  • Who can help me if I struggle with the treatment? For example, what to do if you can’t put eye drops in.

If you need surgery: 

  • What will happen during the procedure?
  • Who will carry out the surgery?
  • How long will it take?
  • Is it going to hurt?
  • Will I be awake for it? And do I have a choice?
  • Will I be able to see anything during the procedure?
  • Will I need to stay at the hospital overnight?
  • What’s the recovery process like, and how long will it take?
  • What will my sight be like afterwards?
  • Will I need more treatment later?
  • Are there any risks?

If you live alone or are a carer, it’s worth asking about any support that’s available while recovering from surgery.

If you’re told that you do not have a problem with your eyes, you can ask:

  • When should I have my next eye test?
  • Will I need to come back to the hospital or specialist clinic?
  • What eye condition has been checked for or ruled out?
  • If no eye condition has been found, what are the next steps to explain the reason I am having problems with my sight?

If you are told that your tests were inconclusive, it means there was no clear positive or negative result. If this happens to you, you can ask:

  • What eye condition do they suspect?
  • What happens next, will I need more tests?
  • How soon should more tests be done?

Getting the most out of your appointment

If you find it hard to take in all the information during your appointment, we’ve prepared some quick tips to help:

  • If you’re not sure about something your eye specialist says, ask them to explain
  • Ask for any information to be sent in your preferred format (such as large print or audio) so you can refer to it later
  • Ask your eye specialist to write down the names of the eye condition they think you might have or any treatments they may recommend, so you have a record of the correct medical terms
  • If possible, take someone that you trust to your appointment. You can ask them to write down important information, and they may remember to ask questions if you forget something.

Whatever you’re thinking or feeling after your appointment, we’re here to help.

You can contact the RNIB Helpline if you need to talk after your appointment, for more information about your eye condition as well as practical and emotional support.

To get in touch, call our Helpline on 0303 123 9999, email [email protected] or say “Alexa, call RNIB Helpline”.