What truly makes a great optometrist? I am constantly reflecting on this question and pushing myself to provide the best care I know I am capable of. Sure, going to school and studying hard is monumental, but what about the skills that are not taught in optometry school. I am still early in my practicing career and to date I have found that not only do I need to keep up on current treatments and research but I also need to take the time to make sure I can answer the question; what truly makes a great optometrist?
First off, we need to listen! No interrupting, and make sure we completely understand what each patient is telling us. Without listening to the concerns and reason for the visit the whole exam will be off track. We are not just going through the motions, but with each test we are relating that particular finding with the concern the patient has.
Next, discover how the patient uses their eyes. Everyone is quite different in this respect. I need to know not only what your occupation is, but what things do you look at throughout your day, how big or small, how close to you is it, and does it cause any discomfort to the eyes. Also, when you’re not at work or school, what do you do in your spare time? Different sports require different types of protective eyewear and certain hobbies may require an adjustment to your prescription. We cannot provide the optimal care without fully understanding your lifestyle.
I believe I need to find a way to form a connection with every patient who walks into my exam room. I want to know about you and what’s happening in your life. I want to know about your health, your family, and exciting times in your life. I believe once you get to know someone you can better communicate with them. Plus, it makes the job even more enjoyable!
Pivotal to superior health care is making sure that every patient fully comprehends his or her ocular health. I will always take the extra time needed to explain my findings. I like to feel confident that each patient walks out of my exam room understanding all the details of the exam and the appropriate treatment. I love to see individuals taking control of their health care. In order to do, so we need to empower every patient with information and comprehension.
These are just a few topics that I try to remember each and every day I go to work. By going above and beyond the “which is clearer one or two” is what makes Mountain View Optometrist’s special and unique. I believe we all strive for excellence in patient care and I hope you can feel this warmth and compassion as soon as you walk through our front door.
Dr. Natasha Wood