I have a tiny lump of scar tissue at the back of my right eye, left over from an eye infection when I was a child. It distorts my - already admittedly poor - vision in the eye, and if I don’t monitor it, could become much worse and possibly lead to the loss of some vision (although it’s unlikely). I also have asthma, which is severe but well-controlled with the help of steroid inhalers. I’ve asthma since I was five years old, a few years before I needed glasses, and I’m now 23.
I noticed recently that I could actually SEE the distortion in my right eye, which doesn’t normally happen. After I spoke to my optician, they ran some checks and said they couldn’t perceive any difference, as my vision was still the same as it had been at my last eye test (five months beforehand), but they were going to send me to the eye clinic at the hospital just to check. Due to the nature of the condition, I got an appointment the same week.
After going through the usual routine of dilating drops and photographs with the nurses, I finally got to see the doctor. At this point, due to the drops, I couldn’t see anything close than three yards away, except as blurry shapes. After taking a look at both my eyes and analysing the photos, and letting his student - another girl about the same age as me - do the same, the doctor went to consult with his colleague. When he came back, he invited me to sit at the computer with him so he could show me the photos.
The lump in my eye HAD grown, just slightly, but he told me both he and the other doctor thought it would go back down soon. He then asked if I was on any other medication, like steroids, as steroids can affect the condition. I explained that yes, I was on inhalers for asthma. I’d actually recently just got it back, as my regular inhaler had been out of stock in the area and I’d been using much less than my regular dosage to try and cope (my asthma’s only well-controlled as long as I take my inhalers and don’t get sick). It made sense to me, given how the timeline of the distortion appearing in my eye and of me getting my inhaler back matched up, for this simply to be a reaction to the increased dosage to my system again.
The doctor hummed for a bit and then said, “Well, maybe you should come off them.” I was a bit surprised, but I just laughed and said, “Yeah, that can’t happen, I’ll end up in hospital.” He went, “Oh, right. Well, you should still come off them, since it can affect this. I know there’s other treatments for asthma.”
Yes. You, an EYE doctor, know there are other treatments when it comes to asthma, and you recommend I use them instead of my inhalers that have kept me alive for 18 years. Without knowing my medical history or how I as a person work with my asthma.
At that point I just said I’d look into it and took my slip for my follow-up. To be fair, I will mention the other treatments to my doctor and talk to her about it (though I doubt they’ll be viable options for me, after so long on inhalers, and considering how bad my asthma is when I can’t get them). But I was enraged by the idea that he just ASSUMED he knew better, even though he didn’t know me, my medical history, or it even being his area of work!