20 years ago when he was just a child, he woke up one day and had a small blind spot in one eye and minor flashing that occurred when entering a dark room. That same day we went to the ER to get medical treatment. He had all sorts of tests done, including extensive eye exams, a CAT scan, an MRI, and a spinal tap and in the weeks that followed, we saw over 20 different doctors, including optometrists and neurologists, who did not find anything. Everything looked "just normal" according to everyone. When we demanded an answer to why he is experiencing the flashing and the blind spot, they sent us to see an eye specialist in a city 5 hours from where we live, and that specialist said there's nothing wrong with my sons eyes. They told us that if anything gets worse to come back for more tests, but that nothing is showing as of now. They then suggested I take my son to a psychiatrist because he might be "imagining" the blind spot and the flashes.
Anyway nothing changed, the blind spot and flashing remained, and we gave up on trying to figure out what the problem was since we saw literally over 20 different doctors who said there's nothing to worry about. He has been seeing an eye doctor for regular eye exams every year since it happened, and he told me that he never mentioned the blind spot or flashing to any eye doctor he has seen because it's so minor that it does not affect his vision, AND because all of those 20+ doctors never found anything and he's afraid they'll tell him to go see a psychiatrist again.
3 months ago during his regular eye exam, his eye doctor said "oh it looks like you have a retina tear. it's small but you need to get it fixed asap or it can lead to retinal detachment which will lead to blindness." He asked the eye doctor if it's possible that he could have missed the retinal tear in previous years during the exam, and the eye doctor said, yes it's possible, it's hard to see small tears. He asked to get images of the tear using digital retina image equipment, but the tear didn't show up in the images. They told him it's not on the images because of it's location and because of it's size. Is this accurate information?
He doesn't seem to worry about this and is anxious to get the laser surgery and move on, but I'm just confused about all this. Is it possible ALL those doctors we saw 20 years ago missed this retinal tear?
Anyone have any suggestions or feedback about our situation? What are the complications that could arise from this procedure? Should we be concerned? Should I talk him out of not getting the treatment?
Although possible to miss a retinal tear and/or detachment, it is not likely. Under the expertise of a vitreo-retinal specialist who performs a dilated pupil exam with indirect ophthalmoscope and contact lens along with a scleral depression and if necessary imaging tests, it's highly unlikely that this would have been missed, even 20 years ago. Plus, if the tear really does date back to 20 years there would probably be signs clinically that would indicate such an occurrence.
Depending on the location and size of the tear will determine whether treatment is necessary. Sometimes, if the tear is located in the far periphery at the bottom of the retina and is very small, it may be ok to delay treatment for a while. Careful monitoring is necessary. However, delaying treatment is not the same as avoiding treatment. If your blind spot correlates with the location of the retinal tear, it is possible that this could have been missed years ago.
Laser carries risks such as increased floaters, noticeable blind spot in affected area, retinal detachment, etc. Generally, the risks of complications from laser photocoagulation is small.
I think in this case a second opinion is warranted.
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