Unable to see doctor at eye centre

Recently, I felt a sharp pain in my right eye. It subsequently became swollen and reddish, with constant tearing.

I headed to the Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC) and was able to obtain a walk-in appointment.

A nurse came to assess my condition by asking me questions about my problem, but he did not conduct a physical eye examination. He then told me to wait while he consulted the doctor.

A while later, I was called up to the counter and informed that my appointment to see the doctor would be on Feb 7 next year.

I was taken aback as there was no treatment or medication prescribed to ease my discomfort at that moment.

When I approached the nurse again, I was informed that I should proceed to the accident and emergency department if I felt that I needed to see a doctor urgently.

All I wanted was for a doctor to ascertain that my eye condition was not anything serious, and for her to prescribe treatment or medication that would provide me with immediate relief.

When I made my concerns known to the nurse, he went to speak with the doctor again. He returned shortly and told me that the doctor had said I was probably suffering from dry eyes.

The nurse then directed me to the pharmacy after providing me with the names of two over-the-counter eye lotions.

In my entire time at SNEC, I did not step into the doctor's office once.

I understand that doctors are busy and may not always have time for walk-in appointments. But if SNEC accepts a walk-in appointment, then it is only right that the doctor sees the patient.

Lee Cheow Teck

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 15, 2018, with the headline 'Unable to see doctor at eye centre'. Print Edition | Subscribe