Eye Matters
January 14, 2014

Why being honest with your doctor can be life saving

As human beings, it is normal that we want to keep some secrets from prying eyes for various reasons: shame, shyness, guilt etc. It is, however, important to be 100 per cent honest with your physician. Why? Even the simplest things that you may be hiding can have a meaningful impact on your treatment and your life.{{more}} For example, I once met a patient who was being treated for glaucoma with an eye drop called timolol. This patient was also suffering from asthma and heart disease. He had not told me this, because he didn’t want to be judged for not complying with his medication. Timolol can aggravate asthma and certain heart diseases. A simple thing like that could have been fatal if I hadn’t contacted his physician to obtain a better picture of his history. The timolol would have been much too strong for the patient and could have induced wheezing and other symptoms. In this case, an alternate drug such as alphagan would have been a better option.

Some people don’t mention an aspect to a doctor but are willing to talk to another one to get a second opinion. While it is okay to look for advice from other MDs, it can become dangerous to shop around if the alternate doctor doesn’t have a clear record or knowledge of your medical history. I am not saying your first physician is flawless, but he has known you for longer or more in depth than others. He might give you a treatment you disagree with, but it might be because he has information that he needs to take into account that others might not understand. Discuss and understand why things are the way they are before shopping around and, then, make a decision.

Dr Kenneth Onu is a resident Consultant Ophthalmologist at the Beachmont Eye Institute/Eyes R Us Send questions to: Beachmont@gmail.com

Tel: 784 456-1210