What to Expect With a Telehealth Appointment for Wet AMD
There are two forms of the chronic eye disorder known as age-related macular degeneration: dry and wet. Dry AMD causes blurred vision because the central part of your retina, the macula, begins to thin out. Wet AMD causes central vision loss because extra blood vessels grow in the retina and leak fluid that distorts the macula.
While in-person doctor’s appointments are necessary for many aspects of wet AMD management, telehealth can offer a convenient way to stay connected with your doctor from the comfort of your home. Whether over video call, phone call, or even a messaging app, a telehealth appointment can be a good option for patients with wet AMD who want to stay on top of their condition and prevent vision loss.
If you have wet AMD, receiving some of your care at home may already be part of your treatment plan. You might be using a tool like an Amsler grid to detect changes to your vision on a regular basis. The grid is a type of chart that can help you figure out if you’re perceiving distortions in straight lines, which may be evidence of changes to your macula.
Telehealth takes it one step further and connects you with your doctor to discuss your vision and any changes you might be noticing, as well as your treatment plan; you’ll talk about the same things you would at an in-person visit. Talking to your doctor more frequently and sticking with your treatment will give you the best chance of preserving your vision.
And telehealth can also save you time and money. You don’t have to spend time traveling to your eye doctor’s office, which means you also won’t incur any travel-related costs (or headaches).
Before your telehealth visit, make sure to get your technology set up. Contact your doctor’s office and ask for the all the details, including what telecommunications platform you’ll need to use. If you’re going to be participating in a video chat, be sure that you have:
- Computer, laptop, or smartphone
- Web camera with microphone
- High-speed internet connection
Once you download the appropriate app or register for the required platform, go ahead and test it out to make sure you know how to use it. Scout out a quiet place where you can sit and have your telehealth appointment without any distractions. You’ll want to make sure you’re ready to go when it’s time for your appointment, and testing out your technology in advance is one way to avoid last-minute snafus. And write a list of questions you have so you don’t forget to ask them. You might also want to keep a pen and paper handy to take notes.
Obviously, telehealth has some limits, especially when it comes to eye tests. Your doctor can’t dilate your eyes from afar, perform a fluorescein angiography test, or do anything else that requires you to be physically present. But your doctor can discuss the results of any self-monitoring you’ve been doing and answer any questions you have about symptoms or your treatments. It’s a great opportunity for you to share any changes to your vision that you have noticed.
A telehealth appointment for wet AMD will be very similar to an in-person appointment, but it offers convenience that can encourage you to meet more frequently with your physician to better manage your wet AMD.