The perfect patient
What are the virtues of the perfect patient who comes to see us at an early stage and allows us to undertake the most effective ophthalmic treatment?
In our opinion and based on more than 25 years' experience in ophthalmic diseases and ophthalmic patients, we can definitely say that two simple measures are the key to finding the perfect patient: self-examination and preventive check-ups that allow us to carry out certain recommended examinations.
Self-examination is vitally important, especially because visual impairment in one eye may go unnoticed due to the fact that the other eye has good sight.
It is recommended that you:
- analyse both long and short sight in both eyes separately,
- note any distortion in the shape or size of images,
- analyse any differences in colour perception, brightness or object contours with both eyes,
- discover loss of visual field by analysing not just those objects we can look at directly but also objects we can see out of the corner of our eye.
Self-examination has another huge practical implication: the patient arrives at the clinic with quality information. A small detail that seems insignificant to the patient can often help us reach a diagnosis more quickly. However, this doesn't apply to expressions like “everything looks strange, doctor”. The doctor will be interested in information such as how long you have had the symptom, how it has changed (gotten worse, improved or remained stable), associated symptoms, whether you have relatives with ophthalmic problems, drugs you are taking, non-eye diseases you have had, etc. A small detail that seems insignificant to the patient often helps us reach a diagnosis more quickly.
The second virtue involves carrying out the examinations recommended by preventive medicine. Let's take a look at the most important examples:
- A full health check after the age of 40.
- An eye test for all children from at least the age of 3-4 years, when their answers can help us understand the quality of their sight more accurately.
- An annual check-up for all diabetics, especially when a form of diabetic retinopathy has been diagnosed.
- An annual check-up with special attention to the eye fundus for all patients with moderate and high-degree myopia.
- An annual assessment for all patients over the age of 65 years, especially if there are signs of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
- A check-up for all family members when there are signs of a disease with a hereditary risk factor, such as glaucoma.
Eye health organisations worldwide agree that ophthalmic disease control would improve significantly if the recommended examinations/tests were carried out for the general population.