Can an Eye Doctor Be Wrong?

Updated on November 25, 2011
M.M. asks from Parkersburg, WV
18 answers

I took my son to an eye doctor here in town because of a slight lazy eye he had developed. She did a full eye exam and told me that his eyes looked fine and he may end up needing glasses in the future because he's a little near-sighted like I am, but nothing that needs glasses yet. Regarding the lazy eye she gave us an eye patch and told us to strengthen the lazy eye by covering up his other eye and force him to use the lazy eye. She went ahead and got us an appointment at a pediatric eye doctor in a bigger town just to double check her.

We just went to the pediatric eye doctor and he said my son is far-sighted and that is causing the lazy eye, so he needs glasses to correct the far-sightedness, which in turn will correct the lazy eye. I believed him, we went and got the glasses, and they look so strong!! How can a kid go from not needing glasses at all to like +2.5 strength? He is 4 and has never had a problem that I could tell of seeing. He said the glasses make things look bigger and he said I look the same up close but I look different from far away. I asked him if it's blurry or clear and showed him pictures of what blurry and clear looks like and he said it was blurry with his glasses and pointed at the blurry picture.

My question is why would one doctor say he is near sighted like me, which would make sense, and that he doesn't need glasses yet and then the other doctor say he is far sighted and put him in these strong glasses? He has been wearing the glasses all day and hasn't complained much. I don't know what to do, if I should make him wear them until he gets rechecked or if I should just let him keep them off?? Has anyone ever had an eye doctor be wrong?? I don't know what to do and I'm letting it worry me!!

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answers from Minneapolis on

I would have gotten another opinion before spending money on the glasses. One of the doctors is wrong.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Can you get a second opinion? I'm all for that in most cases. You can't be near and far sighted both.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Jacksonville on

Call the pediatric office back, and tell them that being a worried mom overwhelmed with information, that at the time you did not realize that what he was saying was in direct contradiction to the information given by his referring doctor. And ASK them if there is ANY possibility that a mistake was made, and if you can bring him back in to double check what the findings were. See what they say.

You have to also realize, I think, that a large part of diagnosing vision is based upon what the patient tells the doctor. You would think a pediatric doctor would be able to tease that information out very well, but you never know. Maybe he got really lucky on his eye chart readings.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Call both doctors back and ask if there's a possibility he could have an astigmatism. It's hard to diagnose in young children, but can cause a lot of the "lazy eye" and both nearsighted and farsighted symptoms. (I have an astigmatism, so I had my daughter checked, and the pedi ophthalmologist said she wouldn't have caught it if I hadn't said something.

Also, eye patches are really NOT how lazy eyes are treated anymore. I had an eye patch as a kid - it didn't work - and my daughter's ophthalmologist said this is not the current best practice. Rather, they would make one lens of the glasses blurry to force the other eye to work. But if your son has an astigmatism, the right prescription lenses will correct it. Call the doctor back and ask again.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

i would get at least one other opinion, from a pediatric opthomologist. of course a doctor can be wrong, any doctor can be wrong, they are people. and there are eye conditions that can be corrected early on, and not so much later on, and i know that about 4 years old is kind of a tipping point for at least some things. my son is 4 and wears glasses for about a year and a half now, i had absolutely no idea, no clues that i noticed at all. he is crazy active, so he doesnt sit much, watches tv here and there as he bounces around, and doesnt read yet, no school yet. he falls a lot, i didnt think of that till after, but he is always climbing up something ridiculous anyway, so it didnt seem unlikely anyway. i just brought him for a regular check up, and got a "HMMMMM, interesting...." during the exam :( i couldnt have been more surprised. anyway, he is doing so much better now, and he almost always is happy to wear them (also couldnt be more surprised) which tells me that they help him. and one eye even got a little better since last year, though he will likely always need glasses. whatever, hey , if thats the worst thing, ill take it.....

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on

I'd get a 3rd opinion, to be honest. Do you have a children's hospital in your vicinity? I'd go to their ped opthamologist, I have to admit. Even if I had to drive 2 hours to get there.

Don't mess around with this - the diagnoses are too different. Tell this new doc that you have these two diagnoses and you are worried.


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Savannah on

Yes, eye doctors can be wrong, but so can young children. It will be hard to figure out which is happening. I was given reading glasses in first grade, and I stopped wearing them because something was wrong, but I did not know what. In fourth grade, I was given glasses for distance, and it made a world of difference. I was originally given glasses for farsightedness, when I really needed glasses for nearsightedness!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I suggest that the first step is to talk with both doctors and ask about the differences. Then based on whether or not they can reassure you, go for a third opinion. I believe it's good policy to always clarify the first information before seeking more information.

BTW The blurriness now may be because his eyes need to adjust to the correction. Often, when I get a new prescription my vision is blurry until my eyes get used to it.




answers from Houston on

When our oldest was 4 we thought he had a lazy eye. Turns our he was very far sighted, so the second Doctors diagnosis makes sense to me. I think it is hard to get accurate "readings" on kids that young. It does take a little bit of time to get use to new glasses, even for me. Give him a little time. And to ease your mind, our son is now almost 17 and, although he should wear his contacts, his vision has improved to the point that he can get away with no correction at all. :-)



answers from Atlanta on

I don't know, but I think I'd take the glasses off of him and just keep an eye on him and test him again a few times and see how things are. I know the patch does work for lazy eye. One of them is wrong and it's probably the pediatric. You can get another opinion. If he's never had problems except for the lazy eye he probably doesn't have problems now. Hate to say it but sometimes these dr just looking for the money. Then again he could've just made a mistake.



answers from Louisville on

if its blurry with the glasses leave them off....



answers from Charlotte on

Yes, eye doctors can be wrong. We had a similar experience when my daughter was 5, and after a couple doctors that had conflicting info, we ended up with a wonderful pediatric opthamolgist. She was far-sighted and had a slight lazy eye, and we patched for an hour every night for a while, and she wore glasses for about a year and a half. Both problems were corrected, and now, at age eleven, she has no vision problems and no sign of ever having a lazy eye.



answers from Philadelphia on

any doctor can be wrong..they are human..get a 2nd opinion..get a 3rd opinion..always..with any



answers from Chicago on

Please do some research on a lazy eye - this condition is not caused by far-sightedness. Amblyopia is a condition in which one eye has poorer vision than the other. Therefore this can contribute to near or far-sightedness, but neither would "cause" the other.

Sometimes a lazy eye can be treated with just glasses, because each will have an individual prescription therefore "balancing" the vision. As long as YOUR CHILD isn't over-compensating and has trained himself to only look out of one eye, the glasses should help.

I would get another opinion.


answers from Houston on

Well, the first Dr is right in that he needs the eye patch. As for who is right with the prescription, I would say whichever your child thrives with the most. My nephew had to have an eye patch and went to a crazy high strength as well, but he needed it. There is always another opinion.



answers from Denver on

Get another opinion. Except that is soooooo hard because there are so few pediatric opthamologists. I live in a large metropolitan area and we have exactly 2 practices to choose from that deal specifically in pediatrics.

you could try an optometrist - they're usually not specifically trained in peds, but I've found they can provide a useful opinion and I used them (my personal one plus a couple of friends) as a sounding board when we had concerns over my youngest and her exotropia (eye wandering out).

the other option is to call the first or second doctor and get another visit and explain your concerns.

as to the first doc - my understanding is that it is normal to be slightly nearsighted until about school age - remember that newborns can't see past about 12-inches - our vision develops from there....

lastly - you need GOOD advice on that lazy eye. yes, patching can help but they should have done a full evaluation - one that includes measuring the deviation and forcing the deviation (if it doesn't occur all the time). you should have seen them using a big prism stick with one eye covered up. if you didn't, you don't have a full, complete diagnosis and work-up that justifies the patching - it could be something besides the muscle issues that the patching would help (don't mean to make you more paranoid here...). plus, you can't measure if the patching is working if you don't have a starting point.

for your own piece of mind, you need to take him in again - someone new, one of the two you've been to.....go in with all your questions written down and that should help clear things up for you.

Lastly, doctors are wrong. particularly when their patients are young children who can't or won't cooperate during exams.

good luck.



answers from Jacksonville on

I had an eye doctor who gave me glasses in 2nd grade. The glasses broke within weeks...I hated them and didn't take care of them. We went back and I was seen by someone else who said I didn't need glasses at all and that was that. I am 28 and do not wear any glasses or contacts. I have seen many other doctors, have moved, etc. and not once was told to wear glasses again. I also have a lazy eye and was told that the BEST thing is to NOT wear glasses because it trains the eye to focus whereas glasses do not. Just my experience. Hope it helps!



answers from Johnson City on

Definitely get another opinion.
I took my daughter to an opthalmologist prior to entering kindergarten.
He told me that a child doesn't have perfect 20/20 vision until they are around six years old. Her vision wasn't perfect then but is now... she's 14.

I had an eye exam myself at a place that actually sold glasses... they told me I needed them. So, I bought glasses, of course. Later I began having headaches all the time and my Mother said I needed to see an opthalmologist... he told me I had 20/20 in one eye and 20/35 in the other. I have an estigmatism in my left eye... and you can tell that if you look at me when I'm tired. Anyway, the eye doctor told me I did not need glasses... so I stopped wearing them and my headaches stopped.

Could it be that your son has an estigmatism and not a lazy eye?

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