First opinion short-sighted
By ROXANNE MILLAR
A POTTSVILLE mother has urged parents to never underestimate the value of a second opinion when it comes to medical problems with their children.
Sharon Wilks took her son Ben, 6, for a simple eye test recently to try find the cause of ongoing headaches he was suffering.
An optometrist told her Ben required glasses because he suffered a stigmatism and was longsighted.
"So I ordered glasses costing $240, but my instinct told me the optometrist may have been wrong," she said.
"He was quite rude. So I took Ben somewhere else to get a second opinion.
"The second optometrist told me Ben's eyes were perfect."
Left with two conflicting reports and a child still suffering headaches, Ms Wilks sought a third opinion.
"That person said his eyes were fine as well. I was left so annoyed that I was prepared to pay for glasses Ben didn't need and that could actually affect his vision," she said.
"I want people to be aware and careful when it comes to their children.
"A second opinion is so important.
"If I had followed the first person's advice I could have harmed my son's eyes."
Able to rule out a problem with his eyesight, Ms Wilks now believes Ben's headaches were caused by an earlier football injury.
"I was just trying to find out what was wrong and I learnt to go for a second opinion, even a third sometimes."
Tweed Valley Division of General Practice spokesperson and practising doctor Graeme Burger said getting a second opinion was wise whenever in doubt.
But he said that parents should persist with finding a practitioner whose opinion they trust.
"We are fortunate to have good optometrists in this area, but sometimes if you are in the least bit unsure it is wise to get a second opinion," he said.
"And that is across the board with anything. It is also important to find a practitioner you feel comfortable with."
Dr Burger said it was folklore that bad vision was caused by headaches, but that was actually a rarer cause sometimes.