12.13.2015

Eye-yai-yai

Dear optometrist (at a chain store which shall not be named),

I do not need to be told that "here in Australia, we need to do this" after telling you my last eye exam was 3 years ago in Taiwan. Repeatedly. Throughout 2 of my 3 visits.

You don't need to explain to me, completely unsolicited, that "we optometrists are like doctors you know" and that "we go to university for 5 years". That's nice to know. Good for you. Would you like a gold star?

You might want to learn how to listen. Instead of chiding me for starting the session late (while I was waiting for you to finish talking to your staff for 5 minutes, watching through your open door as I arrived 5 minutes late myself), and then rushing through your spiel, maybe slow down. Maybe try listening to your "patient". I do not enjoy being talked at, let alone having to endure a mini-tutorial on the structure of the eye and the definition of the cornea. Especially when you're talking a mile a minute without pausing for breath and lamenting that you have no time. So please try to listen when I pipe up sheepishly that I'm actually a doctor, so it's ok to use medical terminology. Don't tell me that "frankly, if you were a lawyer, I'd be telling you the exact same thing. Because here in Australia, we have to tell all our patients ..."  Try not to assume a person is fresh off the boat from sub-standard country.

Please don't assume that all doctors are automatically general practitioners. Or that "to be honest, hospital doctors and optometrists would know more about the eye than you."

I also don't need you to exclaim in unabashed joy that you'd like to shake my hand, then proceed to grab my hands on my lap, as I tell you I'd rather wear my glasses and forgo the contact lens exam. (Mostly because I didn't want to come back for a 4th visit.)

Nor do I need you to continuously praise me about the remarkably good health of my eyes. I didn't ask for your opinion. And I have enough self-esteem, thank you. Unlike you, perhaps?

Oh. And maybe brush up on your optometry skills? Prescribing me lenses that are way too strong is probably a problem. Plus, I saw a different optometrist shortly afterwards, and he said you most likely mixed up my glasses and contact lens prescriptions. 30 minutes of supermarket shopping left me with a 3 hours  bilateral headache at my temples. Yet, you told me to persist because people always get that with a new prescription. Funny how you commended your sales staff on giving the right advice - for me to stop wearing the said lenses - when I showed up to the last appointment in glasses instead. What was that you told me before? I only kept going back to get a copy of my retinal scan. The one I didn't really want but found myself doing because I was ushered in, and then asked to pay for. Talk about informed consent.

And really, try reading some journals. Or maybe paying more attention during your 5-year university course. Like you mentioned, I may not know much about opthalmology, but I certainly know that in a pregnant person, the cornea can swell and change someone's visual acuity. You commended me on choosing to wear glasses during this time, explaining repeatedly (again, unsolicited) that the cornea becomes more sensitive during pregnancy and you wouldn't have proceeded with the contact lens examination had you known I was pregnant.  Um, lady? According to a whole host of journals and Medscape, the cornea actually gets LESS sensitive during pregnancy.

Oh, and speaking of pregnancy. You saw me 3 times. I was there for 15 - 30 mins each time. Yet, you had no clue until I mentioned maternity leave at the end of the last session. You then had the nerve to imply that I didn't tell you that I was pregnant when asked if I had any health problems, and then chuckle that you guess most people wouldn't consider pregnancy a health problem. I could only just stare back in disbelief at that one.

I sincerely hope you won't scar (definitely not literally, I hope!) more "patients" of yours with your condescending, unprofessional attitude. Luckily, your branch sent me an automated feedback email. Hope you learn some better "bedside" matters and professionalism.

- Amy