Preparing for an Appointment

Preparing for an appointment to diagnose pediatric retinoblastoma or other serious eye conditions can be unnerving for parents and guardians. Preparing for an appointment is important for ensuring a thorough exam that answers all the questions the doctor may have. Due to the potentially brief nature of an exam, parental preparedness can have a significant impact on the appointment. Depending on the symptoms the child experiences, he or she may be referred to a pediatric ophthalmologist, or kids’ eye disease specialist. If retinoblastoma is suspected, the child may be referred to a pediatric oncologist, or kids’ cancer specialist.

Before the Appointment

There are steps that parents and guardians should take before arriving at the retinoblastoma diagnosis appointment. Patients are recommended to request any necessary paperwork in advance, so that it may be filled out prior to arriving at the doctor’s office. This can save time and relieve added stress for families. Patients should also be sure to review directions and maps to the destination to ensure that the trip to the doctor’s goes smoothly.

Gathering Relevant Information

Providing the doctor with certain information is a crucial aspect of the retinoblastoma diagnosis process. Parents or guardians should be prepared with as much information as possible. If an initial retinoblastoma diagnosis has already been made, the information gathering process will be more thorough, and should include information gathered from previous appointments.

Information that should be gathered while preparing for an appointment may include:

  • The child’s medical records that pertain to his or her eye condition and retinoblastoma
  • Any pathology slides or radiology films acquired from retinoblastoma testing
  • Detailed health history information, such as the patient’s past eye care and family history

Asking Questions

As the parent or guardian, it is important to ask as many questions as possible to understand the child’s current condition. Parents should also ask questions about treatment and potential outcomes. During the retinoblastoma process, communication is an important factor for maintaining a good relationship with the child’s doctors, as well as for maintaining understanding and peace of mind throughout the process.

Adults should ask questions such as:

  • What vision problem signs or symptoms have you noted?
  • What type of treatment do you recommend to treat the condition?
  • What are the benefits and risks involved with this treatment?
  • Are there any other treatments available?
  • What medications will be prescribed, and what will they do?
  • How have other children felt during or after receiving this treatment?
  • What types of side effects should be expected? Can they be alleviated?
  • Are there any long-term side effects or risks involved?
  • Will there be any physical limitations as a result of treatment?


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