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A patient of optometrist Kenton McWilliams booked her eye exam in the nick of time.
At first the fog came on so slowly that Lisa* hardly noticed her blurred vision. But suddenly the 40-year-old woman from St. Peters, Mo., could hardly see what was right in front of her face.
“She hadn’t been to an eye doctor in years,” recalls optometrist Kenton McWilliams, O.D., who practices at the America’s Best Contacts & Eyeglasses in St. Peters. “When she came in for her eye exam, she had a couple of vague complaints. She said her vision was blurry and that her eyes were bothering her. She came in that day because she had a feeling something was wrong. It’s a good thing she did.”
Dr. McWilliams got right to work. Turns out, Lisa had very high pressure inside her eye, caused by too much optical fluid.
“It isn’t always easy to tell just what the problem is—high fluid pressure can have lots of possible causes. Plus, she didn’t seem to be having a whole lot of discomfort,” he says.
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But testing revealed that her IOP—the measure of fluid pressure—was in the 50s. Her numbers were dangerously high.
“You can go blind very quickly with pressures like that,” says Dr. McWilliams. “Normal readings are in the 20s.”
As it turns out, she had a serious condition called acute angle closure glaucoma, and she needed emergency surgery to drain the fluid.
Luckily, Dr. McWilliams always makes a point of nurturing working relationships with local specialists, and he got on the phone right away to set up an appointment with a glaucoma specialist. Lisa had surgery the very next day, and when she returned to Dr. McWilliams for a follow-up a week later, her IOP readings were a healthy—and perfectly normal—20.
It’s the kind of outcome that Dr. McWilliams strives for with each patient. “We’re proud of what we do,” says Dr. McWilliams. “It’s great that we can offer convenience and good value—people tell me that they’ve paid twice as much for the same product. But the best thing we offer is excellent care. If there’s an unusual problem that we can’t take care of, we send the patient right out to a specialist.”
Without that top-notch care, this patient’s foggy day would have turned to permanent blindness.
“If there hadn’t been any intervention,” Dr. McWilliams says, “she was at risk for losing her vision forever—very quickly and very surely. So in essence, we saved her sight!”
*Name changed to protect patient privacy.