Monday, January 20, 2014

Retinal tears at 5:15 (Free eye education for you!)

My last patient of the day (a sixty-ish professional very near-sighted man) had scheduled an appointment for new flashes and floaters. He'd waited on coming in due to an insurance change and ensuing confusion.

After dilation drops were instilled, I discovered he had some changes in the asymptomatic right eye in his retina and a large retinal tear in the superior retina of his symptomatic left eye. It was about 5:15 when I finished with him. I'd told my tech she could go home before I went in with the patient because she'd had a 2-3 hour drive home (and had said she was just happy to have a job). I worried that all the MDs might be gone or almost gone. I spoke with one of the remaining techs and she gave me the name of one of the docs who was on call.

I caught one of the MDs who was still there and asked him if he'd have a look. He looked and looked, and decided he was going to laser treat the tear right then. The techs who were still in the office worked to get everything set up so the patient's retina could be tacked down immediately. It was a joint effort of many to get this man's eye stabilized. After 399 laser shots, he was sent home with instructions of danger symptoms that would warrant an immediate return to the clinic.

I walked him out and wished him well. It was 6:15 when I left. I felt like I had a small part in hopefully preserving his vision, yet it was definitely a joint effort by many and I felt honored to be involved in the process. It is things like this that make me feel my days are worthwhile.

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