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Question about ethics of an aspect of an eye exam
davems32000 posted:
Hello. I was at a pediatric ophthalmologist today with my 5-year-old and toddler. The 5-year-old was getting the exam. During the exam, the toddler has a meltdown, which required me to comfort him. The doctor proceeds with the exam. During the exam, the doctor puts drops in my 5-year-olds' eyes to dilate them. At no point did the doctor tell me he was going to dilate my daughter's eyes and at no point did he signal for my attention (I was distracted by the toddler, and the doctor was between me and my daughter, who was getting the exam, so I could not see he was putting in the drops).

My question is: Did the doctor act unethically? Should he have told me that he was going to dilate my daughter's eyes? Does this violate informed consent?

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Alan M Kozarsky, MD responded:
You took your child to a pediatric ophthalmologist and dilation is a requirement for the exam. The doctor can't look at the inside of the eye (retina) or get an accurate refraction (check for glasses) without dilation.

There is no problem. Dilation is part of the standard of care. It would be a problem if the doctor did not dilate the pupils.

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