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Check Yearly, Live Another Year

on October 9th, 2007 | Filed under Optoblog

Here’s another example of why everyone should consider getting a yearly eye exam despite what Canadian studies say. A college student came in for a routine eye exam to get more contacts since the last doctor made her contact prescription expire only after a year. Everything seemed normal except that this year she didn’t pass the FDT screening field with one eye and that same eye had 20/30 vision. The ONH looked a little pale and both were elevated.

If I was still in Indian Health Service, I could have handled this myself- ordering all kinds of fun tests. But what I’ve learned out in the private sector is that insurance companies HATE it when optometrists order tests. Patients get denial letters on labs. Forget about imaging. Besides, I was having a train wreck day, so I just punted to the ophthalmologist.

Turns out that an MRI ordered by the OMD diagnosed a brain tumor that would have killed her if allowed to fester. I know that because she stopped by last week on a day that I wasn’t there to say thank you. When I heard that, I felt ashamed. I should have been the one to piece together the information and order the scans and have the burden to tell her the bad news.

But regardless of my personal shame, the patient is now okay. She is yet another shining example of why Utah state law should not mandate to me that I have to make prescriptions good for two years. I saw her chart from previous years. No VF defects, 20/20 vision in both eyes- no indication that the next year she would be diagnosed with brain cancer.

Hey 1-800 and your lobbiests! Who knows how many people you will kill or blind because you force by law that every eye doctor in the state of Utah has to make their Rx’s for 2 years.

So everyone: check yearly, see clearly, live longer.

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3 Responses to “Check Yearly, Live Another Year”

  1. […] And I don’t hold the prescription over their heads. The Utah law is that I make the expiration date for two years if their eyes are healthy; however, I frequently mention that it is best to have a yearly eye exam, especially if they note even a subtle change in their vision. […]

  2. […] eye exams to ensure good eye health. A refraction is only one piece of a complete eye exam. I’ve already written about the woman who only wanted more contacts, but because she had an eye exam, I saw some worrisome findings and […]