Sudden development of “floaters” or “flashers” in the eye can mean you are starting to experience a detachment of the retina. Time is of the essence in getting treatment.
An ophthalmologist is the only specialist who can tell with certainty whether or not visual disturbances mean that a retina is in the process of detaching. That is because the ophthalmologist has special equipment, an indirect ophthalmoscope, that lets him or her see the entire retina. Non-eye doctors can look at the retina with a regular ophthalmoscope but can only see the central part of the retina. Thus they can often miss a detachment that is starting on the edge of the retina.
When an emergency medicine doctor, an internist, or some other generalist doctor fails to send a patient with sudden visual changes to an ophthalmologist for a thorough check, that can be medical malpractice if the patient loses vision in that eye.
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