Vision saved by reading a web site? Yes, my patient saved his own vision after reading about retinal detachments on this blog. Learning from a credible health information source (this blog) about his condition initiated a cascade of events leading to saving his vision.
A retinal tear or retinal hole can cause a retinal detachment. Flashes and floaters sometimes precede the formation of a retinal tear, or, there may not be any symptoms at all. Retinal holes are usually associated with a condition called lattice degeneration, a natural thinning of the retina.
Web Site Saves Vision
Last week a patient came to the office with decreased vision in the right eye. He lost most of his vision in the right eye. I diagnosed a retinal detachment and scheduled him for surgery. His visual prognosis, despite successful surgery, is not great as the retinal detachment is of unknown duration and the macula is also detached.
I suggested he read this blog specifically about retinal detachment and “PVD and Floaters.”
Several days later, floaters developed in the left eye (the “good” eye). Now educated about retinal detachments, he emailed, concerned about a possible retinal detachment developing in the remaining eye.
I was able to successfully laser the tear and thereby prevent a retinal detachment!
What Does This Mean?
I will be operating on his “bad” in the next week or so. Due to the length of time of the detachment, there is an urgency, but no real emergency. Still, he has learned the significance of a long standing retinal detachment.
Using this web site as a tool for patient education, he was able to learn much more about retinal detachments, especially warning signs of a retinal tear!
Another advantage of learning through a web site is you can go at your own pace. You can re-read and research. This is a huge advantage over a doctor visit or reading a printed flyer.
“Unlearning” something takes more time and energy than initial “learning.” Clearly, since the original cause of vision loss was “missed,” it took additional time for my patient to “unlearn” and then “relearn.”
A web site affords time to “unlearn.”
Lastly, armed with new information, specifically warning signs of a retinal detachment, my patient emailed me about his new “learned” concerns.
Email is easier than a phone call. No answering machines, recordings and leaving messages. Email is a form of communication that is convenient and less intimidating than a phone call.
Regardless, this new “system” worked well and in favor of my patient last weekend.
The Internet can work for improving health care!