I had a weird consultation this week. The case wasn’t weird but the dynamics were. A young person came in for a Pterygium surgery evaluation. He was in his early 20s and was a great candidate for surgery with a significant growth that was plaguing him. He had gone down to Big University eye hospital in Los Angeles the last few years and every time he went in he was told to wait for surgery as his case was high risk. Then he comes to visit little old me in Ventura County and I turned his world upside down when I said he would do great.
He was accompanied by a relative who was clearly stressed out that I would dare contradict the so-called ‘best of the best’ at Big U. The fact that I saw no good reason to make this silently tortured young man wait blew this persons mind. In fact, they were so flustered I was waiting for this person’s head to explode during the visit! They simply refused to believe that better options were available.
When it comes to Pterygium cases, the Ophthalmic community is full of dogmatic myths, some of which I’ve addressed and debunked. The excuses to avoid Pterygium surgery that they are not comfortable performing fly like snow in a blizzard: ‘It will just come back, so wait.’ ‘You are too young.’ ‘You are too old.’ ‘The surgery will hurt a lot.’
Then little old me, the Ventura County community doc comes along saying, “Yeah sure, go ahead. You’ll do great.” I secretly think it’s funny to see people’s look of disbelief when I disagree with every other eye doc they’ve ever seen. Usually that look is accompanied with a smile as they have found the specialist they have been looking for, but every once in a while they can’t believe that I would differ so much from the Ophthalmic establishment.
I will continue to preach my heresy of smooth Pterygium surgeries with minimal pain, easy recovery without sutures and a very low rate of recurrence of 1 in 1000. Hopefully they won’t burn me at the stake!
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