Glaucoma is a complicated disease that damages optic nerves, usually due to excess fluid increasing the pressure on the eyes. That's why in Texas if an optometrist, who is not a physician, suspects that a patient has glaucoma, he or she must send that patient to the ophthalmologist to confirm diagnose of this disease and start a treatment plan together.
WHAT CAN HAPPEN WHEN GLAUCOMA CARE IS NOT OVERSEEN BY AN OPHTHALMOLOGIST
The lack of a proper diagnosis and treatment can lead to vision loss and even blindness, which unfortunately happened at one veteran’s clinic in Palo Alto, California.
In 2009, hundreds of veterans were under the care of the US Department of Veteran Affairs’ chief of optometry.
That optometrist failed to send patients with suspected glaucoma to an ophthalmologist for a diagnosis confirmation and treatment plan, in violation of the system’s own policy.
23 VETERANS EXPERIENCED PROGRESSIVE VISUAL LOSS DURING OPTOMETRIST'S TREATMENT
Of the 381 cases reviewed, Veteran Affairs determined 23 veterans had experienced progressive visual loss during their optometrist’s treatment. Seven of these patients were told that improper care might have caused their blindness.
IMMEDIATE CARE FROM AN OPHTHALMOLOGIST COULD HAVE PREVENTED THIS DEVASTATING RESULT
A medical degree, residency and years of supervised medical training are critical in accurately diagnosing and managing this devastating disease.