Health care providers have been told to keep patients on the waiting list to see an eye specialist, even if the doctor thinks the condition is mild, according to a new study.
The report, published Monday in the Journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, was sponsored by the American Ophthalmic Society.
“There are no proven therapies that work for people with severe ocular infections that do not have long-term side effects,” the report reads.
“There are only a handful of drugs approved to treat eye infections that cause significant or long-lasting side effects.”
It’s unclear why the ophthalmologists who study eye health were so adamant about avoiding talking about patients with a rare eye condition.
A spokesperson for the American College of Ophthologists, a group that represents more than 20,000 optometrists, said the group doesn’t comment on individual cases.
But Dr. William Kallman, an ophthalmology resident at the University of Minnesota, said that while the guidelines do not require that doctors be aware of a patient’s condition, it does say that they should keep them on the list to get a better sense of what is likely to happen.
“If you’re a person with a very rare eye disease, it may not be a good idea to treat that patient if you don’ t have the information about how that may be going to affect your vision,” he said.
Dr. Kallmann said it’s important for doctors to be aware, even at the risk of unnecessary complications, of a potential complication that could occur even if treatment does not have side effects.
He said if doctors are told that a patient has a possible eye infection and do not act on it, it is likely that their patient will get a more severe or long lasting eye infection.
For instance, he said, doctors might say, ‘you should see your eye specialist because this may be a serious eye infection.’
And if a person has a serious complication, and they have to see a specialist, they should be told that there is a chance that the patient will have a more serious complication as well.
“It is really important for the physician to have that information,” he told Medical News Now.
“That is a really good place to start for us.”
The American OphTHlm recommends that doctors and patients get a copy of the ocular specialist’s recommendations and contact them if a serious condition arises.
The American College is a trade association of more than 30,000 U.S. medical schools and affiliated research organizations.
It is the only professional society that represents physicians in the United States.