Know When to Get A Second Opinion

Last updated: September 2022

After being diagnosed with macular degeneration in 2021, Claire made the hard but necessary decision to get a second opinion and is very grateful today that she did. Claire is a retired teacher who lives in a 55 and older community in Indiana.

When I heard her story, I knew it was something that needed to be shared, especially for those who might not be happy with their treatment or doctor. If it doesn’t feel right, it may be a red flag that you need a second opinion. This is what happened to Claire!

How it all started

Claire first noticed blurred vision while reading her morning newspaper and immediately scheduled an appointment with her optometrist who informed her that she had macular degeneration (wet) in the right eye. Her doctor then referred her to a retina specialist. When she called for an appointment, she couldn’t get in for 2 months - The first red flag! 

The second red flag

A few months later when she arrived for her appointment, they ran several tests and sat her in a chair in the examining room. There was no consultation but Claire had done her research and knew she may be getting an injection.

When the doctor met Claire, he informed her that he would be giving her an injection in her right eye. Claire had questions but they were unwelcome. He replied, “What would you say if you wanted someone to stop talking?” REALLY? Unbelievable – The second BIG red flag! 

The third red flag

It was a very disappointing and difficult first visit and Claire left with more questions than she had from the start. Another appointment was scheduled 4 weeks later. When she arrived, she was told she would need an injection in both eyes that day. She was unaware she had macular degeneration in both eyes. Nothing was said before – The third red flag!

The last straw

Following the second visit, the very next day, Claire noticed everything looking distorted and scheduled a return appointment. They discovered there was a retina rip in her second eye after the injection. She was also having problems with the Avastin that was injected so she asked him about trying another medication that might work better.

He told her that everything was fine that they were doing and she needs to keep doing it. Claire stated, “He had the world’s worse bedside manner.”

A much-needed second opinion

After this bad experience, Claire listened to advise she got from caring friends about getting a second opinion. She scheduled with her friend’s retina specialist and was amazed at the difference!

Not only did the second office schedule a consultation, they also ran tests the other office neglected. And, even more importantly, they listened to her. She was started on Eylea which worked far better for her. She has seen remarkable improvements.

Happily, Claire now drives again and LOVES her new retina specialist. What a difference! Instead of 4 weeks apart, her injections with the new med are now 8 weeks apart. She is so glad she got a second opinion. It’s hard for her to imagine what it might be like had she stayed with the first doctor.

Stand up for yourself

Claire encourages everyone to, “Be your own advocate. A good doctor won’t be offended if you get a second opinion.”

Are you feeling uncomfortable with the care or treatment you’re getting? Is your intuition telling you something you need to hear? It just might pay to get a second opinion – Just ask Claire!

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