Second opinions serve an important role in patient care. You should consider asking for a second opinion of your eye doctor whenever these situations occur:
1. Any surprise or unexpected eye condition
2. A diagnosis that abruptly reverses or contradicts earlier doctors’ opinions
3. Suspected cancer of the eye or orbit, especially in a child
4. Proposal of life-changing surgery, like removal of the eye!
5. Personal concern regarding the doctor’s skill or experience
6. Inadequate physician communications
Don’t hesitate to ask for a consultant to review your case. Most physicians gladly welcome the opportunity to share their findings with an expert. The consultant should be independent of your personal doctor. If the consultant agrees with your doctor, you can move forward with confidence. Conflicting opinions? More work needs to be done before any important decisions can be made. Either way, second opinions provide helpful information.
Be skeptical of any doctor who attempts to discourage the involvement of another physician in your care. Frankly, I love to receive consultation reports regarding second opinions because it usually verifies my findings and clarifies decision making.
Finally, don’t overdo it. It is rare to need more than one second opinion. Confusion and other problems emerge when too many experts get involved.
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