THE HUMAN SIDE OF OPTOMETRY
O.D. convinced patients the eye really is the window to the soul.
BY L. WOODROW STORY, JR., O.D.
believe in humor to reduce patient stress. To give you an idea, the 20/20 row of
my chart is "T, Z, V, E, C, L," and I ask patients if they know what it would be
if they missed the last letter. "Christmas (pause) because it's no L." Okay, goofy
humor, but my patients seem to appreciate it. Let me tell you about something that
occurred in my office some years back...
The set up
Two young women were seated in the waiting room.
Gloria (not her real name), the patient, had brought a friend with her. They
were talking as they waited for her appointment. I'm not really nosy, but I was
in an adjoining room preparing for the next patient, so I couldn't help but hear
It seems that Gloria had a date the
previous night with a new boyfriend. To hear her talk, he was a Greek god: tall,
muscular, blond hair and blue eyes. She told her friend that he'd picked her up
in his red sports car. They went to dinner at an Italian restaurant and each had
the spaghetti. He then took her to see the new "Star Wars" movie. Afterward, they
drove to a secluded place and...
Too good to resist
By now the exam room was ready and I called Gloria
back. I let her bring her friend back also, as she had never had an eye examination
and was quite interested. When I picked up my ophthalmoscope, her friend asked what
it was. Seeing a chance to educate, I explained that it was a tool I used to look
within the eye. I told her that the first set of lenses let me examine the cornea,
then by changing lenses I could see deeper into the eye, through the lens and all
the way back to the retina. I explained that the retina had visual receptors that
transferred information to the brain.
"But what do you see on the back of
the eye?" she asked. Now, my family has a reputation for teasing and all of a sudden
the "tease gene" kicked in. "I can see lots of things. Let's see; the eye is clear
all the way to the back and the blood vessels look good. The optic nerve has good
color." Then I paused for effect. "Gloria, have you been thinking about a young
man? Tall, muscular? Brown, no, no, blue eyes? Did you have a date last night?"
"Yes!" Gloria was impressed.
see a red car, a sports car?"
Gloria nodded in agreement.
The friend was impressed.
"Okay, I see a restaurant Mexican?
No. I see spaghetti, an Italian restaurant?"
Gloria nodded and the friend was really
"Ah, I see a movie ... hmmm! Science
fiction, space. 'Star Wars!'" I exclaimed.
You know how when someone gets your
attention, your posture gets better? Well, Gloria was sitting ramrod straight. I'd
reached the part of the date where she preferred that her eye doctor see no more.
And judging from the expression on the other woman's face, she was never getting
an eye exam!
Maybe a little too convincing?
I know when to quit. Otherwise, I was sure that
both women would have both bolted from the office. I "fessed up" and explained my
cognitive abilities. We all laughed. But you know, I never did see her friend as
DO YOU HAVE A MEMORABLE
EXPERIENCE YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE? DISCUSS YOUR STORY WITH RENé
LUTHE, SENIOR ASSOCIATE EDITOR OF OPTOMETRIC
MANAGEMENT, AT (215) 643-8132 OR LUTHER@LWWVISIONCARE.COM.COM OFFERS AN HONORARIUM FOR PUBLISHED SUBMISSIONS.
Optometric Management, Issue: June 2006