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  • Choosing Wisely When It Comes to Eye Care, Part 2

    Published Jun. 10, 2013

    Part 2 of Our 5-Part Series: Imaging Tests Without Signs of Eye Disease

    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 have identified five specific tests and treatments that could benefit from doctor-patient conversations. They include:

    This is the second of a series of articles that will discuss each item in detail.

    Imaging Tests With No Symptoms or Signs of Significant Eye Disease

    Imaging tests are probably not necessary if you don't have symptoms of eye disease and your eye exam does not reveal significant signs of disease. The physical examination of your eyes and the questions your ophthalmologist asks you during a comprehensive history usually reveal if eye disease is present or getting worse. Examples of routine imaging tests include:

    • Visual field testing;
    • OCT testing;
    • Photography of the retina and inner lining of the eye; and
    • Various brain imaging techniques, such as MRIs, CT scans and PET scans.

    If symptoms or signs of disease are present, then imaging tests may be needed to evaluate further and to help in treatment planning. EyeSmart and the American Academy of Ophthalmology urge you to have a conversation with your ophthalmologist to discuss if imaging tests are important for you based on your particular history, physical examination and symptoms.

    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 why patients and their ophthalmologists should question and discuss the use of antibiotics for pink eye.