An accurate history and examination are essential for correct diagnosis and treatment.
The failure to take a history and perform a simple examination can lead to conditions being missed that pose a threat to sight, or even to life.
The rate of onset of visual symptoms gives an indication of the cause. E.g. a sudden deterioration in vision tends to be vascular in origin, whereas a gradual onset suggests a cause such as cataract, the loss of visual field may be characteristic, such as the central field loss of macular degeneration.
Difficulties with work, reading, watching T.V, and managing in the house should be identified.
The patient should also be asked exactly what is worrying them, as visual symptoms often cause great anxiety. Appropriate reassurance then can be given.