Article Date: 10/1/2007

When Comedy Imitates Optometry
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When Comedy Imitates Optometry

A few good-natured jokes can provide insights into your patients' needs.

FROM THE EXECUTIVE EDITOR Jim Thomas

Comedian Brian Regan performs a very funny bit about visiting "the eye doctor." The audience laughs because Mr. Regan is talented and because they often share his same fears, perceptions, misconceptions and experiences when they visit the office. So for our benefit, a few of Mr. Regan's comments can provide a quick and informal dose of market research on the psyche of the typical patient.

True words spoken in jest …

Mr. Regan starts by admitting that it's been six years since his last eye examination.

I just had my prescription changed after six years … Man, I can see! How can instantly-improved vision not be at the top of your to-do list? "Ah, I'll see tomorrow. I've got a sock drawer I've got to sort out today."

Unfortunately, a fair number of patients avoid eye exams unless they experience pain or significant vision loss. And many, including those most at risk for sight-threatening diseases, don't understand the importance of regularly scheduled exams. This message is echoed in research supported by the Vision Council of America, the American Optometric Association, and the American Academy of Ophthalmology, to name but a few.

I don't know if there's one silver bullet for all eye exam truants, but patient education and effective recall systems can increase the number of patients who return to your office on a regular basis.

Patients see "things" not tests

I'm sitting in the chair and they slide that big giant thing up to my face — are these my glasses?

While few patients mistake the phoropter for a pair of glasses, they may not understand the purpose of the "one or two" machine, or other instruments in your office. A simple explanation before each procedure ("We'll use this test to determine your lens prescription …") can transform a reluctant patient into a willing participant in the exam.

Give patients a clue

He asked if I wanted trifocals … I didn't know what he was talking about…

A prescription won't cure the confused look on a patient's face when he doesn't understand the product. In such cases, it helps to clearly explain benefits and solutions (a lens that allows you to see well at all distances) rather than discuss product descriptions (trifocal or progressive lenses).

O.K., so the rantings of a comedian may have no effect on how you practice. If that's the case, then at least consider this: Isn't it nice to see a patient with a sense of humor? OM

OPTOMETRIC Management®
www.optometric.com
EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Jim Thomas
MANAGING EDITOR Michelle Boyles
SENIOR ASSOCIATE EDITOR Jennifer Kirby

SPECIAL PROJECTS
EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Virginia Pickles
SENIOR EDITOR Judith Springer Riddle
SENIOR ASSOCIATE EDITOR Angela Jackson

OPTOMETRY
CHIEF OPTOMETRIC EDITOR Walter D. West, O.D., F.A.A.O.
CLINICAL DIRECTOR James Thimons, O.D., F.A.A.O.
PRACTICE MANAGEMENT EDITOR Richard S. Kattouf, O.D., D.O.S.
CONSULTING EDITOR Jack Runninger, O.D., F.A.A.O.
PHARMACEUTICAL EDITOR Bobby Christensen, O.D., F.A.A.O.
CE COORDINATOR Neil A. Pence, O.D., F.A.A.O.
CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Marilee Blackwell, M.B.A., Gary Gerber, O.D., Jerry Hayes, O.D., Richard Hom, O.D., F.A.A.O., Sheldon Kreda, O.D., F.A.A.O., Bob Levoy, O.D., Gregg Ossip, O.D., Jay D. Petersma, O.D., Eric Schmidt, O.D., Jerry Sherman, O.D., Donna Suter, Gil Weber, M.B.A.

EDITORIAL BOARD
Edward S. Bennett, O.D., M.S., F.A.A.O
Irving Bennett, O.D., F.A.A.O.
Ernest Bowling, O.D., M.S., F.A.A.O.
Norma Bowyer, O.D., M.P.H., M.S., F.A.A.O.
Charlotte Burns, O.D., M.S., F.A.A.O.
Shelley Cutler, O.D., F.A.A.O.
Robert L. Davis, O.D., F.A.A.O.
Eric D. Donnenfeld, M.D.
Elmer Eger, O.D., F.A.A.O.
Neil B. Gailmard, O.D., M.B.A., F.A.A.O.
Alan Glazier, O.D., F.A.A.O.
Deepak Gupta, O.D.
Andrew Gurwood, O.D., F.A.A.O.
Terry Hawks, O.D.
Janice M. Jurkus, O.D., M.B.A., F.A.A.O.
Paul Karpecki, O.D.
Kelly Kerksick, O.D.
John Lahr, O.D., F.A.A.O.
Bob Levoy, O.D.
R. Whitman Lord, O.D.
Carla Mack, O.D.
Dominick Maino, O.D., M.Ed., F.A.A.O.
Pamela Miller, O.D., J.D., F.A.A.O.
Scot Morris, O.D.
Gary Oliver, O.D.
Robert E. Prouty, O.D.
Frank Puzio, O.D., F.A.A.O.
Kim Reed, O.D.
Rhonda Robinson, O.D.
Bruce Rosenthal, O.D., F.A.A.O.
Julie Ryan, O.D., M.S.Ed., F.A.A.O.
David B. Seibel, O.D., F.A.A.O.
Leo Semes, O.D.
Donald R. Smith, O.D.
Rene Soltis
Gale Stoner
Loretta Szczotka, O.D., M.S.


The opinions expressed in Optometric Management are those of its contributors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Optometric Management staff or its publisher, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins VisionCare Group.
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Optometric Management, Issue: October 2007