Who do I turn to for a Red Eye: the ER, my PCP, the Pharmacy or…an Eye Doctor?

Red, irritated, swollen, aching eyes can occur at any time of day or night. Infections, viruses, allergies, foreign substances, injuries, and yes, even dry eye can be the cause. But when these events happen, who and where do you turn?

Recently, a patient found her way to our office after having been seen by a physician at the local ER who prescribed a typical antibiotic drop for what was presumed a bacterial eye infection. After 2 weeks of not getting better, she then sought out the help of her primary physician who prescribed a different antibiotic drop. When another 2 weeks went by with no complete resolution, she was told by her doctor to “go see an eye doctor about it”!

Luckily, her visit to our office at EyeXcel resulted in a different approach to the problem and a better outcome…no red-eye! What was initially considered an “infection”, really turned out to be a case of severe dry eye. The treatment was certainly different and required some investigation into the possible causes to help narrow the diagnosis. In the end, the patient is better which is the ultimate goal, no matter who made the call.

This case begs the question of who do you turn to for “eye” related problems in a pinch? While the ER at most hospitals is a great place to turn to when you truly have an emergent life-or-death physical need, it may not be the most cost-efficient place to turn for a “red” eye problem. The physicians and nurses are well trained to assist with just about any emergent need, including eye conditions, however, some are not equipped with on-staff eye doctors who are available for more serious sight-threatening conditions.

Your primary care physician is also well trained in diagnosing and treating most conditions of the human body, including those affecting the head and neck. However, when it comes to the eyes, some will honestly tell you their expertise is somewhat limited in this area. Red-eye conditions can be difficult to diagnose and just as difficult to treat even for the best of eye physicians. Since most primary care physicians don’t typically have equipment in-office to highly magnify the eye, it can be more difficult for them to diagnose some eye conditions.

Therefore, when you feel you have a red, irritated, itchy, burning, dry, swollen, puffy, watery (you get the idea) eye(s), don’t hesitate to call EyeXcel for help. We have the equipment to best look at the eye as well as the expertise to make a solid diagnosis and treatment plan that will get you looking and feeling much better. This assures a more efficient and cost-effective way of caring for your eyes!