What to expect when you come in for an eye exam.
A retinal examination takes longer than most medical or general eye examinations. You can expect to be in our office for a minimum of two to three hours. When you first arrive, we’ll ask you to fill out a detailed questionnaire about your medical history. Please remember to bring the names of any medications that you are taking – as well as the name, address and phone number of all physicians involved in your care. This information is essential. It’s the only way we can ensure that we do not prescribe treatment that would conflict with your other medications. It’s also needed to coordinate your care with your medical doctors.
After you complete the questionnaire, a nurse or technician will perform an initial assessment. He or she will obtain the history of your eye problem and check your vision and eye pressure. The next step involves the administration of dilating eye drops to open your pupil. This allows us to see back to your retina. Since it takes about 30 minutes for the dilating drops to take full effect, it will be necessary for you to wait 30 minutes after dilation before you see the doctor.
Examining the retina requires very bright lights – the same kind of lights used by your general eye doctor. While this bright light is uncomfortable, it won’t harm the eye. When the examination is over, the doctor will discuss his/her findings with you. We will also send a report to your medical doctor. Your eyes will remain dilated for several hours so we strongly recommend that you bring someone with you to the appointment so you can be driven safely home.
Most patients who come in for a retinal examination, especially individuals with diabetes and macular degeneration, will need a test called a fluorescein angiogram. For your convenience, we usually perform this test on the day of your retinal exam since your eyes will be dilated.
During this test, a dye is injected into a vein in your arm. We then take rapid sequence photographs of the retina. The dye shows the blood vessels in the retina in clear detail and allows us to identify abnormal or damaged blood vessels.
Schedule Your Next Eye Exam With Us!
Many retinal problems are emergencies – eye trauma, severe eye infections, retinal detachments, retinal tears and other conditions that demand urgent attention – so we try to keep our schedule flexible enough to accommodate these patients. Unfortunately, emergencies are unpredictable and sometimes take more time than we’ve allotted. When this happens, it may mean a longer wait for scheduled patients. If an unusual number of emergencies delay your appointment, we greatly appreciate your understanding.