Optometric Management

FEB 2017

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F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 7 • O P T O M E T R I C M A N A G E M E N T . C O M 43 SOCIAL THE WAY I SEE IT W E, AS Homo sapiens, are m a m m a l s who exist on this spin- ning blue globe with all the other species. As animals, we all emit certain vibes, messages, odors, signals that can — and should — be in- terpreted by other mammals. Licking my lips, for example, means I want a Starbucks. e more obvious message could be the odor emitted aer a strenuous workout, stressful situation or — for the truly un- fortunate — just from breathing. e message may be "I just had a situation," yet, we read that as, "Shower, with soap." Even less subtle is, "I am going to have a mint. Would you like one?" I could elaborate on the messages that odors create but that would be really immature, and this col- umn is for a mature appetite. OBSERVE TRUE MEANING Some messages can be a wink, a head nod, a smile or just a single finger. (If I had a dollar for every time I gave or received the lat- ter, I could use the funds to pay my kids' ways through a private school undergraduate education.) In nature, we can see bees creating an elaborate dance to give direc- tions. How many times have you been tongue tied or had food in your mouth, thus you just gesticu- late and grunt, like a bad game of charades, to get your point across. Sadly, I get annoyed and frustrat- ed when my lack of word retrieval is met with nothing more than silly gibberish and dumb guesses. (Don't you know me?!) What about the not-so-subtle messages we convey? e sub- liminal signals? Isn't it apparent, sometimes, that the patient may be saying something with his or her words and, yet, the patient's body language is conveying the opposite? "No, I am fine. No, no problems," the patient says while she cannot keep her eye open, or he says, while he winces as you come near him. You are showing your patient a new frame, and she dely prances around with alac- rity only to tell you that it really does not look right on her. True meaning: "I am going to find these frames that I love cheaper, girl. Bye." INTERPRET THE SIGNALS ese messages are the crux of the doctor-patient relationship. In fact, I have said this a million times: Our patients make an ap- pointment because they have a problem. Most of my colleague's only see the signs if they are ooz- ing out of the eye or are verbalized by the patient. Yet, the underly- ing message is there: You need to "look " and listen to interpret. "I'm fine, I just need to update my prescription." Translation: "I am not seeing as well as I used to and I need you, the doctor, to find out why. Please help me! Look at my eye, the lids, express my meibomian glands, stain my conjunctiva — and my cornea if you need to. Prove to me it is not my tears that are the culprit. Yeah, look at the anterior chamber and posterior chamber. Tell me what I don't know. I may not have problems now, but I don't want to get worse. Dude, you are the eye doctor, talk to me!" Look for all those sublimi- nal messages, and be a proactive doctor. And. . . take the offered mint, please. OM READ THE SIGNALS LOOK AND LISTEN TO INTERPRET PATIENTS' ISSUES PATIENTS MAKE APPOINTMENTS DUE TO PROBLEMS MARC BLOOMENSTEIN, O.D., F.A.A.O. DR. BLOOMENSTEIN practices at Schwartz La- ser Eye Center in Scotts- dale, Ariz. He is a founding member of the Optometric Council on Refractive Technology. He is a speak- er and advisory board member for: Allergan, Bausch + Lomb, Shire, Akorn, TearLab, OcuSoft, Lunovus and AMO. Email him at mbloomenstein@gmail. com, or visit tinyurl.com/OMComment to comment.

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