Recently something happened in my practice that reaffirmed why I am proud to be an independent optician, and why I am delighted that I am my own boss.
One of my patients that I have known for many years (let’s call her Janet) phoned me up worried that her cataracts seemed to have got suddenly worse. I questioned her as to what made her think her cataracts had got worse and she told me that her vision had gone blurry and strange. Because she has been coming to see me for many years I know her well and I could tell from her voice that she was really worried.
Janet doesn’t drive; she relies on someone from her family giving her a lift whenever she comes to the practice as she lives about 5 miles away. On this day there was no-one to bring her but I knew that she needed to be seen by us urgently. To make things more complicated, I was running the clinic on my own as Lindsey was off with badly damaged knee ligaments and Cathy was having a well-earned holiday.
However, I knew that I had to get Janet to the practice as I had concerns that something quite serious was going on. Fortunately for Janet, a patient had had to cancel their appointment for their eye examination that morning, so I told Janet that I would pick her up within an hour, giving her time to have her breakfast.
My assistant CJ was working in the practice office so I was able to leave the practice in her capable hands whilst I drove to pick Janet up.
When I got her back to the practice I questioned her a bit more and she seemed to be describing a partial loss of her visual field, where she wasn’t able to see part of what she was looking at clearly, or at all. When Kunal, the optometrist working with me that day, became free I explained what Janet had said, and also that she seemed to be describing the partial visual field loss. As we have the OCT in the practice and Janet had been scanned at her previous test, I knew that we would be able to investigate any changes in her eye health very fully and vigilantly. After chatting to her I realised that she would need more time in the consulting room than I had available, so I contacted the next patient, explained the situation and asked him to come along a little later for his appointment, which he was very happy to do
During the eye examination it became obvious to Kunal that all was not well. Janet’s eyes themselves hadn’t changed significantly, the prescription hadn’t changed and her cataracts hadn’t altered, but the visual field tests showed that there was definitely something wrong. Kunal was not at all happy with this, and he decided that Janet needed to attend the eye casualty department at the Derby Royal Hospital. He phoned the Royal and explained the situation to the eye casualty unit. They decided that Kunal was correct and that Janet needed to be seen at the hospital quickly. They asked if we could send copies of all our scans and tests with Janet, which we were able to print out very easily. Isn’t modern technology brilliant when it works!!
The Royal arranged that she would be picked up by hospital transport in about an hour and a half from her home. I took her back to her house, dropped her off, telling her to make sure that she had something to eat and to let me know what transpired.
At around 5.00pm the practice phone rang, it was Janet and she was back from the hospital. Whilst she was at the eye casualty they had looked after her really well. They had confirmed all of our findings and decided that unfortunately Janet had suffered a slight stroke which caused the visual field loss. They ordered a complete review of her medication to reduce the risk of any repeat occurrence and discharged her back to her General Practitioner.hands putting puzzle together
So why does all of this make me proud to be an Independent Optician? It is because I get to know my patients well, so I can very quickly become aware that something isn’t right. I can take action to look after them without anyone questioning whether it is right to go out and fetch someone if I think that it is needed. I can re-organise the clinic easily to accommodate each patient’s needs. I have no head office looking over my shoulder, so I can do what I believe to be right and care for my patients as they need.
I am Mark Davis, owner and dispensing optician – If this blog raises any questions, or you would like any further information, please call in to chat to our friendly staff, ring us or drop an email. Call 01332 666 760 (Spondon) or 01530 832 769 (Whitwick) or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org