Rapidly responding to his third page for acute onset vision loss from the ED, third year ophthalmology resident Dr Wobleski stepped into the eye lane, picked up Ms Johnson’s glasses from a nearby table, and placed them comfortably on her head.
“Sometimes it can take awhile…digging around in a purse for example,” Dr Wobleski explained. “I once spent thirty minutes searching, but I am willing to do whatever it takes. I just wish I had known how hard it would be prior to residency.”
Dr Wobleski isn’t the only one feeling the pressure. Other ophthalmology residents expressed their disapproval of visual acuity measurements from the ED.
According to the department spokeswoman, it’s policy that any visual acuity of ‘I can’t see” triggers an automatic ophthalmology consult. We reached out to the ED director Dr Childress, for comment, to which his response was “A snellen what?”
When asked if he sometimes gets annoyed with the consults, Dr Wobleski opened up. “You know, the ED physicians are too busy to ask if the patient wears glasses. That’s what we are here for. It may not be a glamorous job, but it’s the job I signed up to do. And quite frankly it’s more rewarding than wearing a headlamp and waving a lens in front of a patient for fifteen minutes to make it look like I know what I am doing.”
Dr Wobleski said he would be happy to chat more, but had to go assist an elderly patient remove her contacts on the floor.