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Old 02-01-2013, 02:15 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Posts: 26,627
Optometrist vs Opthamologist for a specific issue

I have no medical insurance and not much money at the moment. The county here lets you use their medical system to a limited degree at a heavy discount - so basically I can see a GP, get some basic prescriptions, and get basic labwork done. Anything that requires a specialist is on my own.

I've been having an issue with my right eye. You know how when you rub your eyes, it can take a few seconds to clear again? Well, my right eye now takes upwards of 30-60 seconds to clear after that. And in general, it seems that the acuity is down - my right eye used to be my better eye, and now it isn't.

Anyway, I mentioned this to my GP, and he asked me when the last time I had an eye pressure test was. It was about a year and a half ago, during a thorough optometry exam/prescription update. Then he asked me if I'd experienced any bright spots in my vision - and I do have a dark circle with a bright spot in the center in the outside corner of both eyes in certain circumstances like if I'm leaning forward or if you apply even very light pressure of the eye.

So we talked about my inability to get a specialist referral, and financial situation, and he told me just to go see an optometrist at walmart for cheap. But we got sidetracked in a conversation about something and I moved onto the next item on my list of concerns for the visit. It seemed like he knew what he thought my condition was, but I somehow managed not to ask him what he was thinking.

So two questions. Does anyone know what it was that he was getting at with his questions? He seemed to clearly suspect something. I'm 31, by the way, so from what I understand glacoma isn't terribly likely.

And two - could I trust an optometrist to diagnose whatever it is he was getting at? He seemed to think so, but I wonder if it's a serious condition if I'd just be referred by the optometrist for an opthamologist anyway. The obvious advantage to the optometrist of course is cost - I can get a detailed exam at my regular guy for about $100. I don't know what an opthamologist would cost. Of course, this is for just the exam - if it turns out I have some serious condition, I may just be fucked.

What does a new patient exam for an opthamologist cost? Any chance they might have some sort of low income/no insurance patience some sort of sliding scale fee?

Actually, 3 questions - are we at the stage of the ACA where if I do discover I have a condition, and I manage to find a decent job with insurance in the near future, would I still be disqualified from that insurance due to a pre-existing condition? Do I actually want to avoid getting diagnosed?

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