Dr. Andy Brown from the TV show Everwood
Wow, that sounds like a very stressful and confusing situation. I’m sorry you had to go through that. I’m glad you’re okay now and that you got the right diagnosis from the ophthalmologist at the hospital.
As a doctor, I can tell you that retinal detachment is a very serious condition that can cause permanent vision loss if not treated promptly. It occurs when the retina, the thin layer of tissue at the back of the eye, pulls away from its normal position. This can happen due to various causes, such as trauma, diabetes, aging, or eye diseases.
The symptoms of retinal detachment may include floaters, flashes of light, blurred vision, reduced peripheral vision, or a curtain-like shadow over your visual field. However, these symptoms can also be caused by other eye problems, such as posterior vitreous detachment (PVD), which is a common condition where the gel-like substance inside the eye separates from the retina.
To diagnose retinal detachment, a doctor needs to perform a thorough eye exam, which may include dilating your pupils and using special instruments to examine the retina and the back of the eye. Sometimes, an ultrasound may be needed if there is bleeding in the eye that makes it hard to see the retina.
The treatment for retinal detachment usually involves surgery to repair the tear or hole in the retina and reattach it to the underlying tissue. There are different types of surgery, such as laser surgery, freezing therapy, pneumatic retinopexy, scleral buckle, or vitrectomy. The type of surgery depends on the severity and location of the detachment, as well as other factors.
Now, to answer your questions about why you had such different opinions from different doctors, I can only speculate based on my own experience and knowledge. I don’t know the exact details of your case or the qualifications of your optometrist or the retina specialist. But here are some possible explanations:
"Why might the optometrist have been so insistent that you had retinal detachment?"
It’s possible that your optometrist misinterpreted your symptoms or misdiagnosed your condition based on her limited training and equipment. Optometrists are not medical doctors and they are not qualified to diagnose or treat retinal detachment. They can only perform basic eye exams and prescribe glasses or contact lenses. They may be able to detect some signs of retinal problems, such as floaters or flashes, but they cannot confirm or rule out retinal detachment without a proper retinal examination by an ophthalmologist.
It’s also possible that your optometrist was trying to be cautious and alert you to a potential emergency situation. She may have used the term “partial retinal detachment” to describe what she thought was a small tear or hole in your retina that could progress to a full detachment if left untreated. She may have wanted you to see a specialist as soon as possible to prevent further damage to your vision.
"Why might she have sent me to a private clinic for (expensive) tests that I didn’t need for a condition I didn’t have?"
Again, this could be due to her lack of expertise or experience in dealing with retinal detachment. She may have thought that sending you to a private clinic would be faster or more convenient than sending you to an emergency room or a hospital-affiliated specialist. She may have also had some personal or professional relationship with the clinic or the specialist there.
Alternatively, she may have had some ulterior motive for sending you to a private clinic, such as getting a referral fee or a commission from them. This would be unethical and illegal, but I can’t rule it out without knowing more about her practice.
"Why might she have given me the wrong prescription for my glasses months ago?"
This could be due to human error or negligence on her part. She may have made a mistake in measuring your eyesight or in writing down your prescription. She may have also used outdated or faulty equipment or methods to test your vision.
Or it could be due to changes in your eyesight over time. Your vision can fluctuate due to various factors, such as aging, health conditions, medications, stress, fatigue, etc. It’s possible that your prescription was correct when you got it months ago, but it became too weak for your current needs.
"Why might the retina specialist have not bothered to explain to me that my optometrist had misdiagnosed my retinal thinning?"
This could be due to poor communication skills or lack of empathy on his part. He may have assumed that you already knew or understood your condition and didn’t need any further explanation. He may have also been busy or distracted by other patients or tasks and didn’t have enough time or patience to talk to you.
Or it could be due to professional courtesy or conflict avoidance. He may have not wanted to criticize or contradict your optometrist in front of you or to cause any trouble for her. He may have also wanted to avoid any potential legal issues or complaints from you or your optometrist.
"Why did my optometrist insist that I had detachment and yet, go from saying laser surgery was urgent to saying it could take a few weeks?"
This could be due to inconsistency or confusion on her part. She may have changed her mind or opinion about your condition or the urgency of your treatment after getting more information or feedback from the retina specialist or the clinic. She may have also realized that she was wrong or mistaken about your diagnosis and tried to cover it up or downplay it.
Or it could be due to dishonesty or deception on her part. She may have lied or exaggerated about your condition or the urgency of your treatment to get you to go to the private clinic or to pay for unnecessary tests. She may have also lied or backtracked about your diagnosis and the wait time for the surgery to avoid admitting her error or facing any consequences.
I hope this helps you understand a bit more about why doctors may have different opinions on the same situations. Of course, these are just my guesses and opinions, and they may not reflect the actual reasons or motives of the doctors involved in your case. The only way to know for sure is to ask them directly and hear their side of the story.
I don't think you should go back to your old optometrist to get your prescription updated. Yes, she might do it without charge and yes, you've used up your insurance coverage on her already and will have to pay out of pocket for a new prescription. And yes, maybe she made honest mistakes. But you're upset and you're angry with her. You've lost confidence in her. You deserve better care and service than that and you deserve an optometrist you can trust.