Optometrist prevents patient from losing time, money, and peace of mind by treating their emergency outside of an Emergency Room

December 10, 2018 - 08:30am EST

Dr. Jeffery Whittington is an optomestrist from West Virginia enrolled with the Southern New England Practice Transformation Network.

Joe showed up at our office on a Monday morning, he was wearing an expensive tailored suit and was holding a wash cloth over his right eye.  It was obvious that he was in a lot of discomfort and pain from whatever had occurred to his eye.  We quickly worked him up for an emergency visit and I introduced myself.  Turns out that Joe had never been to our office before, but lived in the area and drove by it many times.   I began questioning him about what had happened to his eye.   He told me that the day before he was outside his house doing some yard work and spring cleaning.  Turns out he had been pulling on some vines growing on his home and one of them had whiplashed back and hit him in his right eye.   Initially, he thought that it was going to be okay, but as the day went on,  the pain and foreign body sensation grew increasing worse as his eye began to water profusely and the his eye became very light sensitive.  He decided to not go to the emergency room in hopes that he could go to sleep and it would feel better in the morning.   Unfortunately, trying to sleep was proving to be nearly impossible with the continual scratching and watering of his eye every time he closed it.

As I talked to him I realized there was more to this story….Joe told me that this was the worse possible thing that could have happened to him right now, because he was a top executive at one of the largest banks in our state and he had scheduled an important meeting that day with many other  executives who were being flown in for the meeting.   The bank was spending a lot of money on this meeting and he was responsible for leading and conducting  it.   He was convinced that his injury was going to ruin the meeting and he was going to have to wear a patch.   He was sure his eye would be bothering him for the day and be a constant distraction.   So I told him maybe not!

I examined his right eye and sure enough he had a large corneal abrasion from the vine.   After I reassured him that everything was going to be okay….I explained to Joe that we seldom have to resort to patching an eye for this type of injury, because we have therapeutic bandage contact lenses which allow patients to be comfortable and see through their eyes while we treat the abrasion with medications.  These new contacts transmit so much oxygen through to the eye, that even an injured eye will heal properly when they are used in place of a patch.   At this point I instilled the proper medications to reduce infection and promote healing and inserted the bandage contact lens.   I instructed Joe to leave the contact lens in  for the day and the night and prescribed the eye medications to promote healing and told Joe to go to his meeting and I would see him tomorrow for follow up exam and to remove the therapeutic bandage contact.

We scheduled Joe to come in the first thing in the morning the next day.   When I saw Joe he was smiling and anxious to speak with me.   “How did it go”, I said.   “You won’t believe it, no one even knew I had injured my eye….the watering stopped and I was in no real pain so I was able to conduct the meeting as planned without any problems”…..needless to say he never stopped thanking me for the amazing results which saved his day.   Because he had made the decision to come to our office he saved  hundreds of dollars, compared with the cost if he had went to the ER, but the real savings was his ability to function normally after an eye injury that could have ruined his whole day.