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Talking to Your Healthcare Provider About Cataracts

En Español (Spanish Version)

Main Page | Risk Factors | Symptoms | Diagnosis | Treatment | Screening | Reducing Your Risk | Talking to Your Doctor | Living With Cataracts | Resource Guide

You have a unique medical history. Therefore, it is essential to talk with your doctor or healthcare provider about your personal risk factors and/or experience with cataracts. By talking openly and regularly with your healthcare provider, you can take an active role in your care.

General Tips for Gathering Information

Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to talk to your healthcare provider:

  • Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and ask questions you may not have thought of.
  • Write out your questions ahead of time, so you don't forget them.
  • Write down the answers you get, and make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for clarification, if necessary.
  • Don't be afraid to ask questions or ask where you can find more information about what you are discussing. You have a right to know.

Specific Questions to Ask Your Healthcare Provider

About Cataracts

  • How do I know if I have a cataract?

About Your Risk of Developing Cataracts

  • Are there specific factors that put me at greater risk of getting cataracts?
    • For example, a particular disease, smoking, or specific medications?
  • How often should I have my eyes examined for cataracts or other eye problems?
  • If I develop a cataract in one eye, does that mean I will develop a cataract in the other eye?

About Treatment Options

  • If I develop cataracts, should I have surgery immediately?
  • Are there any steps I can take to control the symptoms of cataracts?

About Lifestyle Changes

  • What measures can I take to help prevent developing cataracts?

About Surgery and Outlook

  • Will eye surgery return my vision to normal?
  • Is my cataract surgery an emergency?
  • What is the success rate for cataract surgery?
  • How much experience do you have with this procedure?
  • How soon after surgery will I be able to see well enough to go back to work? Drive a car? Return to full activity?
  • Do you recommend I have surgery now, or can I wait?
  • What type of intraocular lens is best for me?
 

References:

  • American Academy of Ophthalmology website. Available at: http://www.aao.org.
  • Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research website. Available at: http://www.mayo.edu.
  • The Merck Manual of Medical Information. 17th ed. Simon and Schuster, Inc; 2000.
  • National Eye Institute website. Available at: http://www.nei.nih.gov.

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