Friday, May 20, 2011

Don't let "Anchors Aweigh" cause "Vision Away"

From Dr. Levy:

I had a patient recently who was complaining that he couldn't read any of the menus on a recent cruise he had been on, nor could he read his books on deck or on the beaches they stopped at on the cruise, despite the fact that he could normally read. His left eye was completely blurred up close, and his right eye somewhat less so. He also noticed that everything was brighter than normal, but he attributed that to being in the Caribbean. When he got back on land, the inability to read continued for several days, although by the time he made it in for his exam, it had returned.

"What happened?", he asked."Let me ask you a question," I responded; "Do you suffer from seasickness when you go on a cruise?" "Yes, why?" "Did your doctor prescribe you a patch?" "Yes." "Did you put it behind your left ear?" "Yes..."

One of the more popular seasickness patches contains scopolamine, a medicine that helps with motion sickness, but is also used in an eyedrop we use to dilate people's pupils.

By putting the scopolamine patch behind the patient's ear, enough scopolamine was absorbed through the skin, that it dilated the patient's pupils, relaxing the patient's focusing system, leaving him unable to focus up close. Because the patch was put behind the left ear, more of the medicine was absorbed on the patient's left side, and affected the patient's left eye more severely.

Although the patient was reassured that the condition was completely subsided by this point, he was still somewhat annoyed that he was inconvenienced on his cruise by something that was supposed to help him.

"Good thing the waiter recited the specials each night..." he quipped.

So any time you are given a new medicine by a doctor, it's always a good idea to read up on, or just ask, what the potential side effects might be!

1 comment:

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