What to expect at your appointment

Make sure you have booked off enough time

If you have received your new patient appointment information, you will note that you have been given an appointment time for the visit with your doctor which may include several tests. These tests may take 10-20 minutes each (depending on the test). Your visit with the doctor will take a variable amount of time, depending on the problem, and includes a thorough examination of your eyes and an explanation of the results of your tests and examination. Any treatment options will be explained and arranged for you after discussion with you. The entire appointment including waiting time between tests may take up to 2 hours (or longer). Please prepare yourself and your driver or companion for this. Time spent at this appointment is not wasted time, it is an investment in your eye health. If this appointment time is not convenient to you, please call our office and we will try to reschedule. However, as we are a very busy clinic, we cannot guarantee that your rescheduled appointment will be within the same time-frame; that is, you may be rescheduled farther into the future.

Escort/ Drivers/ Family members/ Friends

If you have an escort, driver, family member or friend, who is accompanying you to this appointment, please make sure they have prepared to stay for up to 2 hours. Please note: we cannot cater to requests made by people accompanying patients to speed the appointments based on need of the escort. If you want your escort to join you while the doctor examines you and explains your findings, please note that only one person per patient is allowed into the examination rooms due to space considerations, (except in the case of children accompanied by both parents, or special needs patients). This person may not be invited inside the patient testing area until you are ready to see the doctor. This person will have to register their name and relationship to you at the reception in order to maintain confidentiality.

Children

Due to the length of the appointment, we discourage bringing your children or grandchildren to this appointment. It is not possible to look after them while you are taking these tests since we do not provide childcare at the office. We recommend that you arrange for someone to take care of your children during this appointment instead of bringing them with you.

Check Location

If you are not familiar with the area where we are located, you can find our location here.

Registration

Please assist us by filling out the patient questionnaire provided to you (For new patients only). By providing this information ahead of time, we are able to ensure that we record your most current medical information for our records and any reports go back to your own doctor(s). Please have your provincial health card ready for presentation. If you wish a companion (family member or friend) to be present during your visit with the doctor, this person will have to provide his/her name and relationship to you, to ensure that your confidentiality is respected. We are only able to allow one extra person with each patient (or a maximum of 2 people for paediatric patients and those with special needs). Notify reception if you have a specified time for Handi-Transit pick-up.

Waiting Area

After registering, you may be asked to sit down for a few minutes. There is a wheelchair accessible public washroom available in the waiting area, along with video entertainment. You may choose to bring reading material or paperwork to pass the time. Usually, you do not have long to wait in this area before the technician calls you for your testing. Please note that smoking is prohibited on the premises.

Testing

Your tests will be indicated on your appointment letter or follow-up note. Please see the section on "Tests" to get specific information about how these tests are conducted and whether there are any fees (most are covered by your provincial health insurance). In general, these tests will be run by the technicians and may take 30-40 minutes in total, prior to seeing the doctor. You will be instructed on how to perform these tests. In addition, one of the technician's will test your vision, and do a preliminary work-up that may require application of eye drops (“freezing” drops – that last 10 mins and possibly “dilating” drops that last several hours). The results of these tests will be explained by the doctor after (s)he examines you.

Interim Waiting Area

Just before being called into the Doctor's examining room, you will be asked to sit for a few minutes (sometimes 20-30 minutes, especially if your eyes are being dilated). Since this is a smaller seating area, we may request your escort(s) to sit in the outside waiting area to ensure that there is enough seating for patients. We also ask that people refrain from loud talking in this area since testing is proceeding in the adjacent rooms. Cell phones are not permitted in this area or inside any of the testing rooms.

Consultation with the doctor

Once the doctor is ready for you, you (and your registered escort if any) will be taken to one of the examination rooms and seated. It is important for you and your escort to switch off your cell phones while in the doctor's examination room. Your doctor will examine your eyes thoroughly and explain the process as (s)he examines you.

Freezing or numbing eyes drops (effect lasts 10 mins) will be applied to your eyes to make sure the examination is comfortable for you. The examination only takes a few minutes and will not hurt. The doctor will look into your eyes with an upright microscope and various other instruments. (See details of testing under "Tests and Fees"). The doctor will then turn to the computer and review all your test results and chart information. After this, your doctor will discuss the results with you (and your escort if present) and be able to answer your questions. The time with the doctor is the most important part of the visit and can take a variable amount of time depending on the problem. If you are being offered surgery for either cataract or glaucoma, this will be discussed with you as thoroughly as time permits. A detailed information sheet will be given to you explaining some of the things that there may not be enough time to discuss during the appointment. You can also check this website for more information.

Regarding cell phones

Since your face time with the doctor is limited, do not waste it by taking cell phone calls while in front of the doctor. Switch off your cell phone while in the doctor's examination room. If you or your escort takes a cell phone call during your time with the doctor, (s)he may choose to see another patient while you are on the phone, or reschedule the appointment.

After seeing the doctor

Your doctor will give your any relevant prescriptions and instructions. You will then be directed to the reception area to make your follow-up appointment (if necessary) and pay any fees. We endeavour to make your experience as efficient and as meaningful as possible and hope that your visit at GEM Clinic is worthwhile.

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