Some people care about service more than others and in optometry unsurprisingly, people who need more products or services, benefit more from good service. This is why almost without exception our patients have quite complicated eyes. These patients get frustrated with seeing a different optometrist every time and having to explain it all again. They also get frustrated with being passed from one person to the next, to the next, to the next, to the next which sometimes happens in optics. They understand that because their eyes are complicated, they are more likely to have an undetected eye disease and for that reason, they need the very best eye care available.
I did a quick survey of our patients for a presentation I was giving recently. I counted the patients presenting to my practice over the course of 2 weeks. 87% of patients had an eye condition other than needing vision correction (glasses, contact lenses or refractive surgery). To give you an idea of just how complicated these eyes are, 61% of these patients had one or more co-existing secondary conditions. Equally, it’s not just as if it is different combinations of the same 5 conditions that we see day in day out…in the two week period, I saw patients with 62 different conditions.
Many of these patients are deeply apologetic about, ‘Giving me so much trouble.’ My response to this is firstly that people only come to see us if they have complicated eyes – otherwise they would probably go somewhere local to them! Secondly, I would be bored out of my tree if my work was straightforward – patients with complicated eyes value eye care. This means that they are more likely to come back for check-ups, are more likely to comply with treatment plans and are more appreciative of what we do. All this enables me to do the job I was actually trained to do and consequently gives me exponentially more job satisfaction.
Of course, maybe our patients come to see us because of my dashing good looks or rapier wit…but that doesn’t seem like the most likely explanation, does it!