Starting the conversation on conversations: Preparing for your next eye doctor visit

(BPT) - Good conversations are critical in any doctor-patient relationship, including the one you have with your eye care professional. Knowing what to ask, and which changes and symptoms to discuss, can help make the most of your time with your eye doctor. What’s more, good communication not only helps your eye doctor take care of your eyes, it may help him or her spot signs of other health conditions that first manifest with eye symptoms.

“Most people see their eye doctors just once a year for a routine eye exam,” says Dr. Neda Shamie, of Advanced Vision Care, in Los Angeles, California. “You can begin to prepare for that conversation with your eye care professional by making yourself aware of any symptoms or eye-related changes in your routine before your visit. Don’t dismiss shifts in eye health to a natural consequence of aging, or assume issues are minor or temporary and will go away on their own.”

Dr. Shamie suggests patients start keeping a mental log in the weeks leading up to their appointment so they can accurately share symptoms with their doctor, including those that might be a result of the common, but often overlooked, condition Chronic Dry Eye. For example, you might note if your eyes are red in the morning versus the afternoon, or if the contact lenses you used to wear all day are now only comfortable for a few hours at a time.

Be open in discussing all symptoms or changes in your eyes or vision with your eye doctor, even if you don’t think there is an underlying condition. Patient-doctor dialogue often helps lead to diagnosis, and your eye care professional can help you understand what is considered normal as well as identify any chronic conditions that might benefit from treatment. For example, Chronic Dry Eye is a disease that tends to occur somewhat more frequently in women than in men, and is associated more with advanced age, contact lens wear, certain medications, other medical conditions or environmental factors.

“The conversation you have with your eye doctor is just as important as the physical eye exam, as it may quite literally reveal more than meets the eye,” Dr. Shamie says. “The more engaged you are as a patient during that conversation, the more comfortable your eye doctor will be in putting together a customized treatment plan that works for you.”

Dr. Shamie suggests some helpful questions that can help guide your conversation:

* Does this diagnosis address the core of your problem?

* Is there an underlying cause for your condition?

* What will help your condition or make it worse?

* Which lifestyle changes can you make?

Also consider taking the brief Dry Eye quiz on Restasis.com prior to your visit and discussing the results with your eye doctor.

“As a patient, having a thorough conversation with your eye doctor is essential in receiving the right diagnosis, especially when it comes to recognizing a type of Chronic Dry Eye. Many people may not realize they have a type of Chronic Dry Eye and assume their issues are routine or short-lived, when in actuality, they could be something more,” Dr. Shamie says. “Talking to your doctor about what you’re experiencing and treatment options like RESTASIS MULTIDOSE(TM) (cyclosporine ophthalmic emulsion) 0.05% — which helps increase your eyes' natural ability to produce tears, which may be reduced by inflammation due to Chronic Dry Eye — are key parts of the conversation.”

Approved Use

RESTASIS(R) (cyclosporine ophthalmic emulsion) 0.05% and RESTASIS MULTIDOSE(TM) help increase your eyes’ natural ability to produce tears, which may be reduced by inflammation due to Chronic Dry Eye. RESTASIS(R) and RESTASIS MULTIDOSE(TM) did not increase tear production in patients using anti-inflammatory eye drops or tear duct plugs.

Important Safety Information

Do not use RESTASIS(R) and RESTASIS MULTIDOSE(TM) Ophthalmic Emulsion if you are allergic to any of the ingredients. Be careful not to touch the container tip to your eye or other surfaces, to help avoid eye injury and contamination. RESTASIS(R) and RESTASIS MULTIDOSE(TM) should not be used while wearing contact lenses. If contact lenses are worn, they should be removed prior to use of RESTASIS(R) and RESTASIS MULTIDOSE(TM) and may be reinserted after 15 minutes.

The most common side effect is a temporary burning sensation. Other side effects include eye redness, discharge, watery eyes, eye pain, foreign body sensation, itching, stinging, and blurred vision.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Please see full Product Information for RESTASIS(R) and RESTASIS MULTIDOSE(TM).

To learn more about RESTASIS MULTIDOSE(TM), the first and only FDA-approved, preservative-free, prescription eye drop in the U.S. to be available in a multidose bottle, visit www.restasis.com.

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