11 Questions You Should Ask an Ophthalmologist Abroad
Eye problems are fairly common among the general populations. There are various ways of treating those problems. Near- or far-sightedness are usually handled by wearing glasses or contact lenses, but it is also possible to get a laser surgery treatment to (almost) permanently resolve those issues. Other problems, especially those induced by age, require surgery.
When choosing a treatment for your eye problems, you might consider travelling abroad, usually because either the treatments are unavailable in your local area or because it is too expensive to have it in your country. Whatever the reason, when choosing a doctor to treat you, you should ask him the following questions before opting for that particular one.
1. Where and when did you earn your medical degree?
It is important to know about the competences of the doctor that you are speaking to. A qualified ophthalmologist will have a medical specialization in ophthalmology, and, if you are looking for a surgery, they should have a medical degree in the field of surgery that you are looking for (for example, LASIK surgery). Once they give you their medical school, you can research about it to see how renowned it is.
2. Has my vision settled or will it fluctuate?
This is important to know in order to decide your future steps. For example, if the vision hasn’t settled yet, or it has recently started fluctuating again, that might make you ineligible for some kinds of surgeries, or render them useless. Ask this before asking for a recommended treatment, because the doctor will be less inclined to give you wrong information if they don’t know why you had come in the first place.
3. What treatment am I a good candidate for?
While you might have an idea what treatments you might do to solve your eye problems, a doctor is still the one who definitely knows better. Of course, you should ask more than one ophthalmologist about this and compare what they all have said to make a proper decision.
4. How experienced are you with that kind of treatments?
Not all eye doctors do all treatments. Some might be more experienced with a certain type of treatments (for example with medication treatments), but would usually refer patients to another doctor if it is a treatment type that they have not done as often. Experience is very important in all branches of medicine, as the more experienced a doctor is with something, the better their knowledge about it and about possible situations which might arise from a particular treatment.
5. If it’s a LASIK surgery – Have you performed this surgery on your relatives or other colleagues?
This question might show you how confident the doctor is about their skills. If they have done it on their close relatives, then you can feel safe with them, as you would go through the same treatment as people who are close to them. Of course, this should not be the deciding factor, as some might not have simply had the chance to operate on their close relatives or colleagues, but it is certainly a nice bonus to chart for the doctor you are considering.
6. What results can I reasonably expect?
Some doctors will go on and on about how the effects of certain treatments, like LASIK surgery, will last forever, or how they have a small chance of requiring another surgery. However, that is usually not the case. Be sure to insist that the doctor provides you with relevant and reasonable expectations, so that you know whether to consider the treatment at all.
7. Are there any undesirable side effects and when will they resolve?
Almost every procedure or a treatment has certain side effects. Establishing this early, while you are still choosing appropriate treatment will help you towards deciding what to go for. Make sure that the doctor tells you about all the risks, as well as how long the side effects will last, if they occur. If necessary, consult with another doctor about the treatment you are considering and ask them about their opinion of the risks and side effects.
8. Does my overall health condition allow for the treatment to take place?
Certain treatments require that you are completely healthy (other from the eye problems), as the procedure can interfere with certain health conditions and problems. When it comes to surgery, certain medication can affect the surgery, and you might be asked to refrain from taking them in preparation for the surgery, if that is possible. Be sure to hash this out with the doctor on time, so that you wouldn’t be surprised when the time comes for the treatment.
9. If I’m having surgery, what kind of anesthesia will be used?
This depends on the type of surgery. For example, LASIK surgery does not require general anesthesia, not an anesthesia that is applied through the use of needles – it only requires anesthetic eye-drops. On the other hand, cataract surgeries might require local anesthesia that is to be applied via a needle. While there shouldn’t be any problems with this, you should still ask your doctor to compare that to your general health, so that you would minimize the risk of something going wrong.
10. What is the cost of the treatment and what is included in the package?
Since you are considering going abroad, the treatment will not be covered by your medical insurance, which means that it will cost you. Before deciding on a treatment, you have to know what is included in the package for the price that you will pay, as packages vary from one medical center to another. This way, you will know what kind of budget to prepare and help you decide whether you can afford the treatment or not.
11. Can you provide references to previous patients who have gone through the treatment?
There is no better way to find out if the treatment works as promised and whether the doctor is as good as they claim to be than by asking former patients for their opinion on the matter. The very fact that the doctor can provide you some referrals is a good start, as it shows that they are respected, but you actually have to follow up on those references and ask them about their experience. This will prepare you for the treatment and help you know what to expect.
An important organ such as the eye deserves all the medical attention that it needs. Damaged eyesight, or its loss, can create a lot of problems if left untreated. You should seek to exploit the latest advances in the field of ophthalmology and solve your problems before they get worse, but you have to find the appropriate treatment for the condition that you are having. By asking the right questions (as stated above), you will be one step closer towards making the right decision. As always, we are here to help regarding any treatment and booking information that you might need.
If you have any questions or wish to know more about the treatments and packages we offer, feel free to contact us!