Part 1 of a 5-Part Series: Preoperative Testing

To protect your vision, it's important to make healthy lifestyle choices to prevent eye diseases, eye infections and eye injuries. But appropriate medical care also plays a role. From screenings to medicines and surgical treatments, care from an ophthalmologist—an eye physician and surgeon—can make the difference between healthy vision and losing your eyesight.  

Sometimes, though, it is difficult to know how much eye care is enough, and which eye treatments are best for you. To help make sure you and your ophthalmologist are choosing wisely when you consider your treatment options, the American Academy of Ophthalmology has joined more than 30 other medical societies in the Choosing Wisely® campaign to encourage conversations between doctors and patients to discuss medical options.

Ophthalmologists are looking at five specific tests and treatments that could benefit from doctor-patient conversations. They include:

This is the first in a series of articles that will discuss each item in detail over the next five weeks.

Preoperative Testing

For many people, preoperative tests are not necessary. In general, patients scheduled for eye surgeries like cataract surgery do not need medical tests unless their medical history or physical examination indicates the need for a test. For example, your doctor should order an EKG before surgery only if you have heart disease, or a blood glucose test only if you have diabetes. Or, if you are on diuretics, they may need to run a potassium test. As in these examples, preoperative testing can be essential, but most patients probably do not need them, so they should not be a matter of routine. It depends on your specific medical history.

Doctor and patient discussion

EyeSmart and the American Academy of Ophthalmology urge you to have a conversation with your ophthalmologist to discuss if preoperative tests are important for you based on your particular history and physical examination.

Ultimately, the best treatment for you will be up to you and your doctor. Choosing Wisely is all about making patient care even better and avoiding too much care that could possibly do harm. Having conversations that help avoid unnecessary tests, medicines, and procedures is one way to help keep you safe as a patient, and safeguard your pocketbook, too.  

More information on the Choosing Wisely campaign is available at Choosing Wisely.

Return next week to learn about the imaging tests that patients and their ophthalmologists should question and discuss together.

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