That little area on patient check-in forms about family history is more important than you may realize.
Usually, when patients reach this part of the check-in form they do their best and write something, but fail to write a complete family eye history because they just don’t know. Many eye diseases are hereditary and so knowing your full family eye history helps your optometrist identify potential high-risk areas.
“You can’t know where you are going until you know where you have been…”
For instance, if someone in your family has age-related macular degeneration (AMD), your risk of developing this eye condition increases. Knowing that and communicating it with your optometrist allows for a proactive eye care approach.
Know Your Eye Health Family History
Ask questions: Talk with immediate family members and become aware of any eye conditions they may have. Ask elders about their knowledge of family members’ eye history who have passed.
Write it down: Now that you are aware of your family eye history, take the time to write it down. You may forget all that you have uncovered by the time you get to your eye exam.
Educate yourself: You’ve learned your sister has glaucoma, so what? If you don’t know what glaucoma is, you won’t be aware of the symptoms and treatments. Speak with your optometrist to understand eye conditions you may have a higher risk of developing, so you can spot the symptoms and take action immediately.
Things can change in-between your regular eye health assessments. So it’s important to at the very least make a call to your optometrist about any symptoms you’re are experiencing, even though you have had your regular annual or bi-annual checkup.
The next time you’re filling in a patient form that asks about family history, make sure it’s accurate and complete! It could help save your eyes.
Questions? Comments? Leave us some feedback below!