As doctors, optometrists need to address a number of concerns by patients, as well as provide comprehensive care for the health of the eyes and the long-term success of their vision. However, after paying a little attention, we found a few other things that are important for optometrists to know that will help them be successful and beneficial to their patients.
Here’s What Patients Want You to Know:
1. We’re getting lots of mixed messages and most of us really don’t understand your full value. You will have some patients that truly understand the wealth of expertise that optometrists provide. However, with online shops, technology and so many people who think they “see just fine” with their old prescriptions, the overall understood value of what an optometrist brings to the table and the need for an expert has diminished over the years. To establish their level of expertise, optometrists need to explain to patients what they are doing and why.
2. Use a breath mint! We love you, doc, but when you’re looking deep into my eyeball, your mouth is right in front of me and I can smell that garlic and onion soup you had at lunch. Bad breath is a no-no for optometrists and can be solved with a simple breath mint!
3. A & B look exactly the same. We’re sitting in that chair and really trying to tell if combo A or combo B on the phoropter is different, but they look exactly the same. We feel a lot of anxiety that this is some test we are about to fail! Patients know that it’s not really a pass/fail type of thing, but most patients feel some anxiety that they are somehow giving you the wrong answer.
4. We don’t know what a refraction is. Doctors need to remember that patients don’t understand optometric and optical lingo. Most patients need you to spell it all out in plain English. When you take the time to educate your patients, they will be more loyal in the long-term and more likely to spend money on things like coatings, progressives or higher quality frames.
5. Sometimes we’re scared to come to our appointment. Sometimes patients can tell that their vision is slipping. But other times, patients are just plain fearful that something (ie vision changing) will disrupt their life and daily habits. These can be legitimate worries about losing their sight due to macular degeneration, cataracts or other conditions that affect eye sight.
The more you understand where your patients are coming from, the better you can address their concerns and create patients for life. Take a look through this list again and think about your approach to patient care. Do you need to approach your patients in a different way?