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Overheard Optometry

12 Eyecare ‘Emergencies’ That Weren’t Emergencies At All

That’s what happens when you put two contacts in one eye.

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AN UNDERAPPRECIATED ASPECT of the eyecare profession is that we handle our share of emergencies. A practice might see anything from a swollen eye courtesy of a soccer ball to a mosquito bite on the eyelid to a visible curtain overtaking the patient’s vision.

And then there are the patients who take the whole thing too far, demanding urgent attention for situations that could, in fact, wait.

Below, we bring you 12 stories of patients whose supposed “emergencies” turned out not to be emergencies at all.

1. “A lady comes in saying she is seeing bubbles bursting all over her vision. We thought ‘flashing lights possibly?’ Fit her into the clinic [schedule], holding the rest of the day back by 40 minutes. Turns out her new glasses had an AR coating and she’d simply smudged the lens.” — Christine Mckeown, optical assistant, Belfast, Ireland

2. “I work in a hospital setting and am on call one week a month. I once had to go in on a Sunday morning because a kid felt like there was an ‘ice pick’ stabbing him in the eye and the ER doctor couldn’t figure out why. Turned out to just be a bit of dry eye/irritation in the nasal canthus.” — Anonymous

3. “Long-time customer comes into the store in absolute panic that her vision was compromised in both eyes and that her contact lenses were making no difference. Fit her into an already full clinic, resulting in the rest of the day running behind, where the optometrist finds she’s inserted two contacts into one eye and none in the other.” — Kerryn Roberts, optical dispenser, Lake Haven, Australia

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4. “6-year-old girl’s mum insisting on an eye test (diary was completely booked out) as the girl was complaining of ‘sudden onset’ diplopia, headaches and blurry vision after school. Turns out she’d forgotten to take her glasses to school that day, Rx was about +3.00/-4.50×180 in both eyes.” — Flora Lo, optometrist, Sydney, Australia

5. “A young woman called hysterically because she had suddenly lost her vision. Even with her contact lenses on, everything was terribly blurred. She had to find a ride to the clinic. It turned out she had switched her R/L contacts. Since her Rx was OD -0.50 and OS -4.00, switching them made her pretty blurry. She was quite embarrassed that she hadn’t thought of that.” — Susan Haney, optometrist, Anaheim, CA

6. “Had a new patient come in insisting that she was in pain due to a foreign body sensation. Called her back early (because she said she was in pain), and she kept saying, ‘This is an emergency! I have an appointment in an hour, I need to see the doctor NOW!’ After determining that she was not, in fact, in pain, I set about documenting her medical history which she complained endlessly about because this was an ‘emergency’. The doctor had two patients in front of this one, so she probably waited about 10-15 minutes. She got impatient, came out of the room, grabbed the doctor as she was going into another room, and declared that she was having an emergency and needed to be seen right away! The doctor calmly told her to return to her room. When she did [examine] her, she found a mild case of dry eye.” — Hannah Leigh Jenkins, optometric technician, North Carolina

7. “Monday, I had a patient come in needing to be seen as an emergency. … On her new patient paperwork she stated ‘poked my eye, think there may be a cut in eye.’ In the exam room I ask, ‘When did you poke your eye?’ She replied, ‘6 months ago.’” — Vanessa Michelle Findley, optometric technician, Hart Family Eyecare, West Plains, MO

8. “Patient calls with a decrease in vision with painful eyes. We squeeze him in. Every time I would try to check his vision he would tell me to put the occluder down. I will never forget him because right before the exam started he said ‘Are you ready for the most stressful exam of your life?’ All he wanted was for us to look at a bump on his arm since dermatology was booked for 2 weeks.” —Danielle E. Mercer, certified ophthalmic assistant, Tulane Medical Center, New Orleans, LA

9. “One of our [optometrists] was telling us about a patient who said he’d eaten a piece of fruit that had some kind of parasitic worm in it that somehow made its way into his eye and was causing his vision loss … He had cataracts.” — Dylan Shield, optical assistant, Dunedin, New Zealand

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10. “Someone booked an emergency patient in for flasher and floaters. When they got to the office I started testing on them and asked them ‘So you’ve been experiencing flashing lights and floaters?’ Their response was, ‘Oh. Yeah, last night when I turned the light off to go to bed I thought I saw a flash for a second. I mostly just want to update my prescription so is all this testing necessary?” — Brooklyn, optometric technician, Vancouver Island, Canada

11. “When I was on an extern rotation during fourth year, we got a call that a patient would be walking in after stabbing himself in the eye with a screwdriver. After winning the rock/paper/scissors with the other intern, I prepared to see my patient. The man walked in and did not appear to be in excruciating pain, but reported to the tech that he could ‘see a muscle popping out.’ After carefully examining him, he had a small abrasion on his superior lid but missed the globe altogether. The ‘pink muscle’ turned out to be his caruncle, and he was shocked when I pointed out the one on the other eye.” — Lindsay Rose, optometrist

12. “I once triaged someone who came in complaining of sudden, painless loss of vision in one eye when they were at work, [saying] they couldn’t see anything. I was worried about a CRAO. When they came in they told me it had happened when they were looking at a VDU, and it was still blurred now. Vision was 6/6 N5 right and left, answer normal, colour vision normal, full threshold fields normal, fundus healthy, no pathology to be seen. Rx was 0.00 one eye and 0.00/-0.25×180 the other eye. Turns out he had just never noticed the fraction of a prescription in one eye and refused point blank to believe me when I told him he had perfect vision.” — Sarah Tickell, England

Elvira Derhovsepian is an ophthalmic scribe and the creator of the social media platform @overheardoptometry, a community of people who share their unique (and sometimes so very common) stories in eyecare. Derhovsepian recently published the first volume of the Overheard Optometry book, now available at Amazon.com, and enjoys freelance writing and editing in her free time.

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Overheard Optometry

10 Mind-Bending Things Overheard at the Eye Doctor’s Office

‘This is worse than a gynecology exam.’

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TO THE ECPS reading this: When you got into this field, did you really know what you were getting into? Sure, you trained for the technical and medical parts of the job. But the daily chit-chat can be quite a different story.

Did you anticipate the double-meanings behind each answer? Did you predict having to work as a psychologist in addition to being an eye doctor? Did you ever think you’d unintentionally dig deep into your patients’ lives and open a Pandora’s box of life stories?

Take a look into the stories our followers have documented and reported to Overheard Optometry over the past few months. See if you can relate to any of your fellow ECPs — or perhaps even the patients.

1. When you need to take a second glance at your life and make sure you are an optometrist, and not an obstetrician.

 

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Madison, Wisconsin, USA #overheardoptometry #dilation #delivery #dilationdrops #optometryinwisconsin

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2. Or a psychologist. Wait, pull that chair back up. No you can’t lie down on it—are you serious?

 

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Anonymous location #overheardoptometry #clearvision #2020 #hindsight

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3. When your optician is equipped with a request in one witty answer.

 

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Port Saint Lucie, Florida, USA #overheardoptometry #optical #optician #glasses #optometryinflorida

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4. Or when you realize this optician and technician can be great friends.

 

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Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA #overheardoptometry #prostheticeye #optometryinmichigan

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5. When the tables have turned and you become your patient’s patient.

 

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Northamptonshire, England, UK #overheardoptometry #opticnerve #fundus #optometryinengland

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6. Have you ever experienced a moment when you can’t say anything to make your patient feel better?

 

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St. Louis, Missouri, USA #overheardoptometry #gynecology #gynecologist #eyeexams #optometryinmissouri

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7. Or thought about perfecting your poker face when you’re hit with statements like this?

 

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Northamptonshire, England, UK #overheardoptometry #varifocals #multifocals #presbyopia #optometryinengland

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8. Sometimes, it may just be better to nod and smile, or pretend you didn’t hear anything.

 

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Anonymous location #overheardoptometry #flask #eyeexamsarerough

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9. Especially with comments like this…

 

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Trinidad #overheardoptometry #presbyopia #aging #optometryintrinidadandtobago

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10. When you’ve heard it all, it’s best to answer it as straightforwardly as this optometrist:

 

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South Africa #overheardoptometry #poorvision #contagious #eyes #optometryinsouthafrica

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Overheard Optometry

12 Overconfident Eyecare Patients Who Thought They Knew More Than the Doctor

‘I’ve always had unisex eyes!’

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WHEN YOU EMBARK on the journey to become an eyecare professional, you endure years of classroom and clinical training to be able to see patients on your own. You proffer your professional advice on eye health, write prescriptions, and generally make it your business to know what you’re doing.

But what about the moments when your patients can teach you a thing or two? It happens sometimes, no doubt. But other times, they come up with some pretty crazy stuff.

What would you do if your patients said the following?

1. Denial ain’t just a river, it’s apparently a drink too.

 

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St. Louis, Missouri, USA #overheardoptometry #blurryvision #dilationdrops #beers #optometryinmissouri

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2. Stay tuned for the androgynous contacts, scheduled to be released next summer.

 

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Kansas, USA #overheardoptometry #unisex #contactlenses #optometryinkansas

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3. Oh, honey…

 

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Darwin, Australia #overheardoptometry #manukahoney #dryeyes #optometryinaustralia

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4. Perhaps it was on the “Popcorn” feature?

 

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Setúbal, Portugal #overheardoptometry #glasses #optical #optometryinportugal

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5. Tap, still or sparkling?

 

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Northamptonshire, England, UK #overheardoptometry #dryeyes #water #optometryinengland

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6. Flipping minds and corneas alike.

 

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Grants Pass, Oregon, USA #overheardoptometry #cornea #cornealinjury #optometryinoregon

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7. Meyend-blowing.

 

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Northhamptonshire, England, UK #overheardoptometry #contactlenses #dryeyes #naturalselection #optometryinengland

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8. Probably had it on “Heavy Wash”.

 

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Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada #overheardoptometry #dishwashersafe #glasses #optical #optician #optometryincanada

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9. What kind of insect was that and where can we find it?

 

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Hermitage, Pennsylvania, USA #overheardoptometry #astigmatism #optometryinpennsylvania

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10. Glaucoma…gluten-free…tomato…tomahto.

 

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Melbourne, Victoria, Australia #overheardoptometry #glutenfree #glaucoma #visualfield #optometryinaustralia

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11. Isn’t it easier to pronounce the word with two syllables than the one with four?!

 

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St. Clairsville, Ohio, USA #overheardoptometry #obstetrician #optician #tomatotomato #optometryinohio

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12. No! Then all your logic would flow out of the holes. Don’t do that.

 

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Hampshire, England, UK #overheardoptometry #humphreyvisualfield #visualfield #eyepatch #optometryinengland

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If you’d like to join the fun, subscribe to Overheard Optometry for daily stories like the ones above on Instagram and Facebook. You can also email your submissions here.

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Overheard Optometry

18 Eyecare Patients Who Diagnosed Themselves and Were Incredibly Wrong

‘My eyes just hurt so bad. … It’s my stigmas.’

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THE HUMAN BODY IS complex, but the general public can at least point to the location of the heart, the stomach or the bicep muscles. If not, they at least have an idea of how to say the words.

The world of eyecare, however, presents its own intricate terminology. People don’t usually sprinkle their daily conversation with terms such as glaucoma, astigmatism, macular degeneration or cataracts.

Wouldn’t you rather be talking about guacamole? Stigmata? Molecular generation? Cadillacs?

Learning about the different parts of the eye is challenging, as many of our patients find. So here are our 18 favorite moments captured on Overheard Optometry with patients self-diagnosing themselves using creative ocular terminology.

1. Pretty sure there is no uterus in the eye. A for effort though.

 

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Anonymous location • #overheardoptometry #uterus #eye #bloodvessel

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2. Not sure whether to be amazed or terrified.

 

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Manila, Philippines #overheardoptometry #weatherforecast #eyeweatherdetector #optometryinphilippines

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3. Looks like we’re due for an anti-anti-reflective coating eye drop prescription.

 

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Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Canada #overheardoptometry #allergic #glasses #antireflectivecoating #optometryincanada

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4. Something tells me you probably shouldn’t use hand wipes from KFC for your eyes. Not sure what it is.

 

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Lancaster, England, UK #overheardoptometry #eroticheart #heartbeat #warfarin #arrhythmia #optometryinengland

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5. Unless your eyes are capable of inhaling then by all means, who are we to stop you?!

 

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Paris, France #overheardoptometry #asthma #astigmatism #inhaler #ventolin #optometryinfrance

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6. Hope this optometrist wasn’t trying to cushion the truth.

 

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Portugal #overheardoptometry #pillowmarks #optometryinportugal

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7. That escalated a tad bit too quickly.

 

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Los Angeles, California, USA #overheardoptometry #jaundice #ocular #optometryincalifornia

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8. Sounds like a case of blinker fluid.

 

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Mount Horeb, Wisconsin, USA #overheardoptometry #eyefluid #tears #vitreoushumor #whoknows #optometryinwisconsin

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9. I don’t even know where to begin. Rugby ball? Pupil?

 

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Cape Town, South Africa #overheardoptometry #rugbyball #rugbyballpupil #astigmatism #optometryinsouthafrica

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10. All this stigma about stigmas…makes me wonder why we’re talking about the Crucifixion? It’s just astigmatism!

 

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Texas, USA #overheardoptometry #astigmatism #stigma #optometryintexas

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11. Don’t try this at Japanese gardens. Leave the cod fish alone.

 

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Scotland #overheardoptometry #codliveroil #cataract #herbalremedies #cantmakethisshitup #optometryinscotland

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12. Are you flippin’ kidding?

 

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Madrid, Spain #overheardoptometry #penguins #pinguecula #optometryinspain

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13. Watt are you talking about?

 

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High Point, North Carolina, USA #overheardoptometry #titanium #nickel #frames #lolwut #optometryinnorthcarolina

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14. Sounds pretty flaky if you ask me.

 

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Bend, Oregon, USA #overheardoptometry #oliveoil #potatochips #eyeremedy #dryeyes #optometryinoregon

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15. That could have made a turn for the worst, really quickly.

 

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Richmond, England, UK #overheardoptometry #chlamydia #cataracts #optometryinengland

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16. Almond or soy?

 

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Manchester, New Hampshire, USA #overheardoptometry #coa #boiledmilk #milk #eyeremedy #dryeyes #optometryinnewhampshire

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17. Looks like we’re crossing over a new territory here…

 

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Anonymous location #overheardoptometry #religiouscataracts #catholics #cataracts

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18. Sounds like an eye-land in Greece.

 

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Burbank, California, USA #overheardoptometry #misakostakos #maculardegeneration #optometryincalifornia

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