The eye consultant

Referral

You have the right to be referred by your GP to a hospital and consultant of your choice, dependent on availability of appointments. There are many good ophthalmologists and eye clinics across the country. Ask to be referred to a retinal specialist who has experience of inherited sight loss conditions.

Other factors to take into account:

  • Geography and costs as you will be travelling regularly to the clinic.
  • If other family members are affected, do they use a particular consultant they would recommend?
  • Some consultants are experts in a particular type of patient, condition or syndrome (called sub-specialisms). You may find it helpful seeing someone who is trained and has understanding of something specific to you.

Tests

You may have your near and distance vision checked. Distance vision is checked with a letter chart of the kind used by opticians.

You may have drops in your eyes to dilate your pupils. These will blur your vision, particularly for reading and in bright light. This blurring is only temporary and will last between two to four hours. If you wear contact lenses, these will have to be removed when eye drops are used, so remember to take the container for your lenses with you.

You may also have your eye pressure checked and the consultant will examine your eyes with a microscope or ophthalmoscope.

You may have a blood test and a urine test and how fast your vision adjusts when you move from a bright area to a dark area may be assessed.

When the tests are finished you may see colours, dim spots and some bright lights. This is normal, and will soon disappear. For this reason it is good to have someone to go with you to the hospital.

Diagnosis
questions

  • Are only my eyes affected?
  • How did I come to have this condition?
  • How will my vision be affected in the future?

Visual
concerns

  • How good is my distance and near vision?
  • Is there any difference between my two eyes?
  • Would glasses or contact lenses help?
  • How good is my field of vision?
  • Can I continue driving and if so, do I have to inform the DVLA and my insurer about my eye condition?
  • Are there any visual aids which would help me?
  • Should I be legally registered sight impaired or severely sight impaired? If so, would this help me?

Eye
Condition

  • Are cataracts present and if so, is an operation advisable?
  • Is any other eye condition present apart from inherited sight loss?
  • How often should I get my eyes checked?

Work

  • Are there types of work I should avoid?
  • Is my present job something I will be able to continue with or should I be retrained?
  • Are there any aids which would help me in my job?