Saying YES to dilating your eyes can save your life? 15 year old athlete is rushed to the hospital from eye exam

Let’s be honest. No one loves getting their eyes dilated at the eye doctor’s office.

Many patients ask us, “can I do that next time please?” But they continue to put it off.

This blog is not meant to scare you by any means.

This blog is meant to show you why you should say YES to dilating your eyes, what can and cannot be found during an eye exam and most importantly, why you should do these exams once a year!

Nick was a high school athlete who needed a new pair of contact lenses before his soccer tournament.

Nick’s mom was in a rush.

Instead of taking Nick to the optical at Walmart where his contact lenses usually get ordered, his mom called a family friend (an ophthalmologist) to get Nick seen quicker since his tournament was coming up that weekend and he needed to see!

All of these things happened for a reason.

When Dr. Gene Gaddy realized that Nick’s vision was not what it should be for his age, he dilated his eyes and found 2 small pinpoint hemorrhages in his retina.

That’s when he knew, something was not right.

He took a step back, and a very good look at Nick.

Nick looked pale. Dr. Gaddy thought that for a young athlete, Nick may even be anemic.

So he ordered a blood test for that same day.

This blood test confirmed his white blood cell count and hemoglobin levels. Nick had leukemia.

Nick was rushed to the hospital where his diagnosis was confirmed and blood transfusions were started immediately. This was after only 12 hours after his appointment with Dr. Gaddy.

We are happy to report that 3 years later, Nick is cancer-free and in remission.

“When I was in training, the head of my ophthalmology department told me early to realize that there is a patient connected to that eye and to look at the patient first and then look at his eye second. So that’s what I was doing. I was just trying to take care of the patient and his eye along with him.” Dr. Gaddy shared.

Well Dr. Gaddy saved a life and gave us an amazing story to share with you and all of our patients so that they know the importance of yearly DILATED eye exams!

If you have not had a dilated eye exam in over a year, call Slade & Baker Vision Center at 713-626-5544. Our doctors are here to help you with your eye health, take a good look and help as much as they can with your overall wellbeing.

For the rest of the article posted on the American Academy of Ophthalmology website, click here.

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