At the Eye Clinic. This guide is full of useful tips to help you when visiting the eye clinic.

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1 At the Eye Clinic This guide is full of useful tips to help you when visiting the eye clinic. St Lucy s Sight Centre, The Beeches, Browfort, Bath Road, Devizes, Wiltshire, SN10 2AT Telephone:

2 Before your hospital appointment If your optometrist or GP finds any cause for further investigation in your eyes, they will refer you to an ophthalmologist at an outpatient clinic at your local hospital. You may find the following information useful if you are due for an appointment at the ophthalmology department. Preparing for your visit It is a good idea to do some preparation to ensure that the time you spend with the ophthalmologist is as useful as possible. What to take with you You should take: Your current glasses with you as the staff may need to see them. A list of any medication that you are taking at the moment A list of questions you want to ask

3 You can find out about the hospital you are visiting on the NHS Choices website or by calling the eye clinic directly. Questions to ask The following may be useful questions to ask the ophthalmologist: What is my condition called? What causes the condition? What will happen to my sight in future? Will it get worse? What treatments are available? What, if any, are the complications of treatment? Will treatment make my sight better - or at least stop it getting worse? Would a low vision aid (such as a magnifier) help? Are there any support groups for this condition?

4 You can ask the ophthalmologist to write down the name of the condition they think you may have and also the names of any treatments they recommend. It is often easier to find accurate information if you have a record of the correct medical terms, and get the support you need Getting to the clinic Often ophthalmology clinics use drops to dilate your pupils as these make it easier for the doctor to examine the back of your eye. This will make your vision blurry for some time after the appointment so it is advisable not to drive yourself to the hospital. Arranging alternative transport such as using public transport, getting a lift from a friend or a taxi, may make things easier. If you have difficulties with travel, some hospitals have transport services that take you to and from your appointment. Usually your GP surgery can let you know if this is the case in your area.

5 Transport and Travel The Wiltshire community transport website is a useful source of information for transport. Community Transport Schemes Link Good Neighbour Schemes Link schemes provide a free and confidential support service to enable those without access to transport or support resources to access local services and facilities. Connect2Wiltshire Connect2Wiltshire is the name for flexible demand responsive bus and taxi services in Wiltshire that provide the ideal transport solution for our various rural areas. To travel on these services customers must book their journey in advance

6 Wiltshire Independent Travel Supporters Project Offers initial travel support to individuals who would like to travel independently on public transport for work, to meet friends, for college or training wsun.co.uk/wits At the clinic Ophthalmology clinics are usually busy places and you might feel nervous or unsure when attending for the first time but there is no need to be concerned. When you arrive you should let the receptionist know that you are there and they will tell you where to wait. You may find there are periods of waiting in between seeing different people. If you have any special needs let the receptionist know so that the clinic staff are aware that you may need extra help. For example, if you are hard of hearing it may mean that someone has to come and get you rather than calling your name out.

7 If you need anything to support with your mobility, then you should also let the staff know so they can take this into consideration. If you are diabetic you may need to take a snack and drink in case you are waiting at a time when you would usually have a meal. Clinic staff You may find that you see a number of different people for different tests. Usually your visual acuity will be measured by a nurse - this means reading down a letter chart as best you can. You may also have to take other tests to measure your vision, given by different people before you are seen by the ophthalmologist. Seeing the ophthalmologist Ophthalmology is a large area of medicine with ophthalmologists specialising in different conditions of the eye. For example some specialise in conditions of the retina, cornea and others in cataracts or optic nerve diseases.

8 Your GP will have referred you to the most appropriate consultant's clinic for your problem. If you have two different eye conditions, you may see a different ophthalmologist in different clinics for each of your conditions. Usually there will be one consultant in the clinic that you visit although you may not see them personally, as often their registrars and senior house officers do most of the examinations. Registrars are experienced in examinations and are confident in diagnosing eye conditions. Senior house officers are more junior posts but are always under supervision from a more senior ophthalmologist. Although you may not see the consultant themselves, they will be aware of your condition because of the reports they receive from the registrars and house officers.

9 You may see a number of different doctors in the same clinic over different appointments. When this happens, the consultant will get to know about each of your appointments as medical teams meet to discuss their cases outside of their time in the clinic. The consultation The ophthalmologist will ask a lot of questions about your eye symptoms. This is called "taking a history" and it is an important step in helping the doctor find out what condition you may have. There are a number of tests that the ophthalmologist may want to perform and there may be different tests for different eye conditions. Most appointments will include an examination of the inside of your eye. This is done using a type of microscope called a "slit lamp". This is a piece of equipment that allows the doctor to get a clear view of the inside of your eye.

10 You will be asked to place your chin on a holder and the ophthalmologist will look down a microscope to the slit lamp. This examination is conducted with the lights in the examining room switched off. When the doctor is looking inside your eye, you will be able to see lights that can seem very bright but they are not strong enough to cause any problems with your sight. The doctor can use different settings on the slit lamp to see different parts of the eye and also to see your eye from different angles. All this information helps your ophthalmologist to diagnose any problem you may have. In some cases this examination is enough for your doctor to be able to tell you what condition they think you have. They should also tell you of any treatments available, what may happen to your condition in the future, and give you time to ask any questions that you may have.

11 In some cases the ophthalmologist may need the results of other tests to help make their decision. If this is the case then you may find that you have to visit the clinic more than once, first, for any tests that may be needed, and second, to get the results from your ophthalmologists. Getting all the information you need Having a hospital appointment can be a difficult experience. Waiting for long periods and the unfamiliar nature of the examination can make you feel nervous and unsure. Because of this, it can be difficult to remember what the doctor has said and the questions you wanted to ask. Preparation can make a big difference. You may also want to ask whether the clinic has any written material about your condition that you can take away and read.

12 There are a number of support groups and organisations for various eye conditions that can give you more information. After your visit to the hospital What happens after your hospital appointment depends on the eye condition the ophthalmologist thinks you have. In most cases you will have to visit the clinic over the next few months for examinations, tests and possible treatments. Starting treatment for an eye condition Any treatment that may be necessary - whether this is surgery, laser procedures or medication - will be explained to you. Any questions you have about them will be addressed. If your eye condition is treated and successfully dealt with then you may be discharged. Most eye conditions will need to be monitored over a long period of time, and you may have to be seen regularly by your ophthalmologist.

13 When the eye specialist thinks everything possible has been done to treat your condition, you will be discharged. If your sight changes once you have been discharged, it is very important to see your GP and ask for a new appointment with the eye specialist. If you need help or advice on coping with a change in your vision then Wiltshire Sight can support you. Drop ins Our Drop ins provide a friendly place in the community to find out more about what support and resources are available to those with sight loss and their families. As well as offer a place to meet others in similar situations and have a chat. The sessions are run by our Community Sight Advisers. For further information see Wiltshire Sight s Our Services booklet or our website.

14 If your sight is poor, in many instances, registering as severely sight impaired (blind) and sight impaired (partially sighted) makes it more likely that you will receive the support you need. It can be useful sometimes to talk to people who have been through similar experiences. Moving On Moving On is a course run by Wiltshire Sight for visually impaired people who require information to continue living independently. The course brings in professionals to demonstrate equipment such as readers, computers and to deliver talks on benefits and much more. The attendees have the opportunity to meet other visually impaired people, and share issues that they have in common. For more information or to book your place please contact us on

15 Useful numbers Local associations Wiltshire Sight Macular Society Glaucoma Society Nastagmas network Hospitals GWH Bath Salisbury Bristol Savernake

16 Who we are and what we do At Wiltshire Sight, we believe that we can make a real difference to your life. We do this by providing you with the opportunity to use various tools, by giving you access to information and support and by enabling you with lifelong learning skills. All of which will support you to continue living independently. Wiltshire Sight receives no Government funding. If you ve found this leaflet useful, please consider making a donation to support our work. Tel: Visit us at: Wiltshire Sight is a trading name of Wiltshire Blind Association. Registered office, St Lucy s Sight Centre, The Beeches, Browfort, Bath Road, Devizes, Wiltshire SN10 2AT Charity number company limited by guarantee

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