Hopefully you’ll never have cause to need this information, but should you find yourself paying a visit to the eye hospital here’s some hints and tips from someone who knows…
Don’t drive – chances are you’re going to be administered dilating eye drops (in some cases, lots of dilating eye drops). These make your pupil enlarge so it’s easier for the Ophthalmologist to see what’s going on inside your eye. These eyedrops often distort your vision too, so no taking to the roads afterwards!
In the same vein – take someone with you. First up, it’s nice to have someone to chat to whilst you’re waiting for your name to be called. Secondly, if you receive any treatment (or have A LOT of dilating eye drops) you may be a bit disorientated. It’s always nice to have a trusty friend or family member to stop you walking into the life-sized guide dog collection box (or laugh at you when you do in my case!).
Now is not the time for tottering heels. Be sensible, wear flats!
Wear a shirt or cardigan – something that does up at the front. If you do have to have some work done to your eyes, they’re likely to be tender for a while, so you don’t want to be squeezing out of a polo neck afterwards – ouch!
Tie your hair back and pin-up your fringe. It stops it getting in the way when you’re looking up, down, left, right on the slit lamp.
Don’t bother with eye make-up, or much make-up at all for that matter, those darn eye drops have a tendency to roll out of your eye and down your face, smudging any slap that they come into contact with.
For the same reason, don’t wear your best clothing either – those eye drops can go seriously rogue sometimes!
Take snacks and water with you, unless you’ve been told not to eat anything. Sometimes, if they think they’ll need to urgently operate you’ll be told not to eat or drink anything. Otherwise pack the snacks – the waiting time can be very lengthy.
Pack your shades. Another side-effect of those dilating eye drops is that they make you very sensitive to light. Emerging from the eye hospital looking like a celebrity who has just landed at the airport is perfectly acceptable.
Take some money – you’ll need change for the car park (or at least your driver will), or your taxi to and from the hospital and possibly some more snacks depending on how long you’re there for.
Don’t bother with reading material. Once they’ve popped those dilating eye drops in it becomes very difficult to read, not impossible, but difficult. I’d stick with making small talk with your chaperone instead.
Activate the accessibility options on your phone before you go if you can (or get someone to do it for you). The iPhone has some handy features to allow you to increase the font size of your text messages and text in other apps. Handy for when that ‘just can’t wait’ text comes through whilst you’re literally dilated up to your eyeballs.
What other tips would you add to the list?
You can find out why I ended up at the eye hospital here.