Just like with dentists or other doctors, optometrists will often have patients who experience a certain amount of anxiety when coming to an appointment. This can range from a mild discomfort to an anxiety disorder that is difficult for the patient to control. There are a few things a doctor can do to help relieve their patients' anxiety however and it can be as simple as a good conversation.
Find Out What Is Making Them Anxious
One way to help relieve anxiety is to help understand what is causing it to begin with. It could be the first time a patient has had an eye exam, or it could be someone who suffers from an anxiety disorder. In order to help your patient, sit and talk with them first about what their concerns are regarding the eye exam. Are they worried about the results? Do they fear they will feel pain? Letting the patient talk and express why they feel anxiety will help you form a better game plan in how to relieve their fears.
Communicate With the Patient
The best way for a patient to feel better about their treatment or exam is for their doctor to communicate with them. This means, explaining in layman's terms how the exam is performed and what treatment, if any, is needed. You should include your patient in their treatment plan and with any decisions that need to be made instead of going ahead with treatment without making sure they are comfortable with it.
Write Down Information for the Patient
For some patients, a hard copy, printed information brochures, or even recommended books on procedures or treatment plans can help them feel better. Some people understand medical terms and treatments better when they can read it instead of only being informed of it through the spoken word. They can read how the treatment will benefit them, what to expect and it can help them better understand what you have discussed together during their appointment.
Bring in Therapy Animals
A fairly recent trend among some doctors and dentists is to employ the help of a therapy animal. This can be a well-trained dog or a calm cat who enjoys the attention of patients. Therapy animals can help to relax patients and help to distract them by simply laying their head on their lap, letting the patient pet them and even spending some time with them in the waiting room has been known to calm patients.