obsess about making sure I cover all the bases when communicating with patients. Due to my controlling and paranoid personality, I am always trying to get patients to understand their eyes and my treatment plans.  

Big deal, right? I don’t think you understand; I try way too hard to cover my, uh, assets. 

Example 1:

Contact lenses can be, sometimes, pretty often in fact, a way to be less dependent, mostly, on glasses, at least for most people. But not everyone who tries them will like them because we are all different, and even your right and left eye may have differing opinions about contact lenses, but what is success anyway? Any questions?

The number one question after I say this has always been, “Huh?”

Example 2:

What is astigmatism? Well, I have been explaining it for 37 years now and I really don’t think I have ever done a good job because it’s hard to explain. I can show it to you and you might say, “Oh, I get it!” or maybe not. So, do you really want me to try to explain it?

The response after this? “Huh?”

Example 3:

We don’t really know whether myopia control actually will work for your child. It might or it might not, and he might get more myopic or he might not; he might change a little or he might change a lot. Research has taught us we don’t really know, and if I could predict the future I would live in Vegas, and I don’t. Wanna try it?”

I know what they’re thinking. “Huh?”

Example 4:

Glaucoma glaucoma glaucoma. Ancient Greeks thought it meant you had a cataract and your eye shined. Hope that helps. Here’s your prescription.

I think this one really helps, don’t you? “Huh?”

Example 5:

Do we accept your insurance? I think it would be better if my staff explained the insurance and I saved my brain for important matters such as that horrible bump on your eye that may lead to enucleation and possible death if it’s not removed in time, although it’s probably just a freckle on your eye and shouldn’t be a concern, but hard to tell, OK?

“Huh? What bump? OMG!”

Example 6:

What about LASIK? According to our testing, you are, on paper, probably, a decent candidate for any number of refractive surgical techniques, contact lenses or glasses. So you are a good, or at least fairly good, person to get a second opinion regarding your options; each could be beneficial or lead to blindness, or something in between, and LASIK is irreversible. Totally your call.


Oh, did I mention that I am thinking about recording every conversation with every patient so I can, with authority, say “See! I never explained astigmatism after all, so how could I be wrong?” Unfortunately, no storage system is large enough to handle my explanation of every possible scenario to every single patient. Now, could you sign and date this column and send it back to me so I’ll know you understand?