History Lesson: OD Passes the Test
The patient questionnaire gave her eyecare practitioner important clues to this librarian's contact lens intolerance.
By Karen Erb, Waterloo, Ill.
I've worn eyeglasses since the first grade,
and I've always hated them. When I was 17, my doctor prescribed hard
contact lenses to correct my nearsightedness and pronounced astigmatism. He told me I'd never be able to wear soft lenses successfully. Twenty-five years later, Dr. Kelly Kerksick proved him wrong.
CHANGING WITH THE TIMES
Eventually, I switched to gas permeable lenses and wore them for many years, but they became very uncomfortable when I became pregnant. Then my doctor prescribed soft lenses, which corrected my vision, but I wasn't completely satisfied with them. I couldn't wear them for long, and my eyes got very tired in the evening. It seemed my previous doctor's prediction was coming true.
Dr. Kerksick found a medication I was taking was causing my dry eye problems. She even went beyond the normal testing and ordered a CT scan to make sure the medication, not something more serious, was the cause.
During my first visit to Dr. Kerksick, she took a very thorough history, asked some specific questions and then performed her examination. She found a medication I was taking was causing my dry eye problems. She even went beyond the normal testing and ordered a CT scan to make sure the medication, not something more serious, was the cause.
Dr. Kerksick wrote a letter to my primary care physician, explaining the problem the medication was causing and he changed my prescription. Then Dr. Kerksick had me try 3-month disposable contact lenses. My new lenses are much more comfortable than my old ones. I can wear them all day long. I appreciate that Dr. Kerksick took the extra time to help me see better and more comfortably.
Dr. Kerksick's Perspective
When I was a freshman in college, my father suffered a massive stroke. Fortunately, he's made a full recovery, but that experience not only changed my outlook on the importance of family, but also set an exceptionally high standard for me as a healthcare practitioner.
I'll never forget the endless hours waiting in the hospital critical care unit for the attending physician or resident to arrive and give us information, hope, solutions or the opportunity to ask questions. Over the course of several weeks, we quickly learned which doctors to seek out with questions or concerns. It was these physicians who gained my family's trust and respect. Were they better than the other physicians who tended to my father's needs? Probably not. But the extra time and information these physicians gave my family truly made a difference. I am eternally grateful to them. They taught me a very important lesson: To provide patients with the highest level of care, you must listen to them and communicate with them.
Taking the extra time to listen to patients before initiating treatment is the path I've chosen to gain the respect and trust of my patients and achieve the highest level of success for my practice.
The four patients who told their stories all share two things in common. First, these patients recognize and appreciate the extra time I spent with them to address their needs and concerns. Second, the total extra doctor time each patient received was about 90 seconds yes, a miniscule 90 seconds.
With Chris Morford, I picked up the retinoscope when the autorefractor wouldn't read his injured eye. I learned he had almost seven diopters of astigmatism in that eye.
With Dana Buhs, I performed a lissamine green test to diagnose the dryness.
With Ken Buss, I took the time to evert his eyelids and note that he suffered from allergic conjunctivitis.
And with Karen Erb, I paid attention to her medical history.
To me, there's no greater gift than having my patients' trust and respect. What a difference 90 seconds can make!
Kelly K. Kerksick, OD