An eye question for ER nurses (or anyone)

  1. Hi, I am not an ER nurse, but I have a few questions... I'm a NICU nurse, so this is waayyy out of my knowledge base.

    My mom has been having a problem with one of her eyes. She saw some flashes of light and can see a sort of a webbing across her vision in one eye. Doesn't interfere too much, in fact she has to concentrate to see it if she is not staring at something blank --if that makes any sense. No pain, no eye trauma, no signs of infection/inflammation, etc.

    It started last night at 5pm or so and I encouraged her to call her nurse line. Long story short she ended up on hold for almost an hour waiting for her call to be answered. Didn't seem like there was an Urgent Care of any sort. She wasn't willing to go to the ER and I really didn't encourage it (I probably could have gotten her to go if I had tried). She ended up giving up and just left a message for her doctor to call her in the morning.

    In all likelihood he will call and they will get this figured out. I'm worried because I pulled out one of my nursing texts and this sounds like a symptom of a retinal detachment.

    MY QUESTIONS:
    --Do any of you have any knowledge of retinal detachments and would this maybe sound like it? Something else? Nothing?

    --Would it have been a lame ER visit to have encouraged her to go to the ER last night? I honestly don't know how fast you have to move with retinal detachments. Hours? Days?

    Thanks
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  2. 14 Comments

  3. by   CEN35
    bingo! retinal detatchment. there are no sensory nerves there, and there will not be pain. screw the er, she needs to go see an opthamologist immediately! the problems are way way worse, once it is detached.

    me
  4. by   Scavenger'sWife
    I worked for an ophthalmologist for 6 years. Sure sounds like retinal detachment to me. The sx you describe are the questions I asked in a history! Get her to an ophthalmologist IMMEDIATELY! Or to the ER!!! It is imperative in order to save the vision. Surgery may be needed ASAP.

    Please let us know how she is.
  5. by   AlaskanRN
    I agree with the others. This calls for immediate attention. Don't take no for an answer!
  6. by   neneRN
    Yep, flashes of light are textbook for retinal detachment-she needs seen by a doc NOW!
  7. by   prmenrs
    I am a "high myope", which means I am at risk for retinal detachment, so when I started seeing flashes a few months ago, I got worried. I got in to see the ophthomalogist pretty fast and she checked it out--no retinal detachment, but she said that "as we get older" [hate those words, don't you?] the vitreous shrinks and "pulls" on the retina, and that can cause the flashes. I was getting them in one specific spot, and apparently that was the problem. She did say that if I noticed any more problems, get my keister back in there, so, I hope you can get her in to the ophth MD quick...

    Let us know..
  8. by   CEN35
    hope it all goes well, keep us informed kv..........

    me
  9. by   KRVRN
    Yup, what prmenrs said... that's what she has.

    Made her get a same day appt at the internal med clinic (she's through the military), who took one look at her and sent her over to ophthamology. We were so impressed, this youngish opthamologist spent an hour looking in her eyes with all his gadgets. He told her he was pretty sure what she had before he ever looked at her, just based on sx. Then, after his hour of examining, he was convinced. She goes back in 6 weeks for another checkup.

    Thanks for the concerned responses!
  10. by   Cathy Wilson, RN
    originally posted by cen35
    bingo! retinal detatchment. there are no sensory nerves there, and there will not be pain. screw the er, she needs to go see an opthamologist immediately! the problems are way way worse, once it is detached.

    me
    what rick said.
  11. by   prmenrs
    KRV---I'm gonna start charging for these curbside consults!!! JK!
  12. by   plumrn
    I'm having a slow brain day... what does 'high myope' mean?
  13. by   KKERRN
    I agree with all the above! Make her an appointment with opth. and take her yourself!! Tell her just because there is no pain doesn't mean there isn't a tear on the way to detachment!!
    Just make her go!
    Karen
  14. by   KRVRN
    Myopia is nearsightedness. "High myope" means REALLY nearsighted. My mom is a high myope too.

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