When I was in optometry school, they drummed it into our heads to ask the patient the reason for coming to see us. This item—the “chief complaint” or “CC”—has been found on countless records in every doctor’s office since the first doctor eviscerated a patient to make sure she wasn’t a witch.

So, in that grand tradition of demon hunting, I’ve always tried to get to the root of the chief complaint. You might find signs of diabetes and save a patient’s life, but if you forget to address their “itchy eyes,” you’re a lousy eye doctor.

My Favorite Complaints
After 34 years in practice, here’s a collection of my favorite answers from patients to that age-old question: “What is your chief complaint about your vision and eyes?”

• “I can’t see well enough to text when I’m driving.”

• “My wife’s glasses don’t work any more.”

• “My left eye really bothers me all day.” (Note that this patient was pointing to her right eye the whole time and, to the end of the exam, still called it her left eye.)

• “My glasses won’t stay in my pocket.”

• “Your contact lens is stuck in my eye.”

• “My reading went bad as soon as I met you.”

• “Feels like I have a bug in my eye.” (He did.)

• “I need a new TV.”

• “My dog licked my glasses.”

• “My left eye went blind six months ago.”

• “I see the moon on your face.”

• “There a dip in my back.”

• “I have a new invention to keep glasses from sliding and want you to invest in it.” (It involved a surgeon implanting a magnet under the skin between the eyes.)

• “I can’t hear anything.”

• “I got fingernail polish remover in my eye and, when I went to wash it out with eyedrops, I put fingernail polish remover in it again.”

• “My blind eye is my good eye now.”

• “You tell me. You’re supposed to be the doctor.”

• “All eye doctors are idiots.”

• “Good comas run in my family.”

• “I need you to remove my eye.”

• “I saw my shadow behind my house.”

• “I cannot afford a new phone.”

• “My regular eye doctor is too old, so he died.”

• “My bank is closing.”

• “I lost three teeth after I got my last glasses.”

• “I wanted to ask you if you have life insurance.”

• “When I get turned on, my ¶#^!$ bends.” (I swear this actually happened. I was an intern at Dr. Walter Ramsey’s office at the time.)

• “When I stare at my husband, I get sick.”

• “I only wear my glasses when I want to see something.”

• “I drove over so you could fill out these papers that say I’m legally blind.”

• “I haven’t had a check-up since prison.”

• “I dreamed about this.”

• “When I open my eyes, I see better.”

• “My chief complaint? He’s in the car.”

Oh, yes, there are more. How do your favorite chief complaints stack up?