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    Top 10 qualities of engineer patients

    The views expressed here belong to the author. They do not necessarily represent the views of Optometry Times or UBM Medica.

    I live in Madison, AL, one mile from the Marshall Space Center, where all the kids go to space camp. My son has been there five times and can give you the full tour of the facility. I also live one mile from Redstone Arsenal, which I can tell you firsthand has cows and missiles on it.

    Living in this area, 50-percent of my friends are:

    1. An engineer

    2. Married to an engineer

    3. Divorced from an engineer

    4. Paying for their child to become an engineer 

    I investigated characteristics of engineers to get to know all my new neighbors a bit better. According to EngineeringSchools.com, here are some of the top qualities of engineers:

    1. Possess a strong analytical aptitude

    Great engineers have excellent analytical skills and is continually examining things and thinking of ways to help them work better. This often manifests in them taking control of the phoropter and refracting themselves. If you enter the exam lane and find your patient behind the phoropter, your patient is either 6 years old or an engineer.

    Related: Why patient education is bit like fortune telling

    2. Show attention to detail

    Great engineers pay meticulous attention to detail. We can all relate to this characteristic, which results in refractions that take all day. Literally, all day. 

    After keratorefractive surgery, they will ask to be refracted at every visit and may ask to come in every day for the first 14 days to assess their refractive error. These folks also request you put up the 20/15 line and heaven forbid they can read it, they will ask for the 20/10.

    They will then spend five minutes trying to guess the 20/10 letters. If they can read that, you will have to get out your lecture notes about the limits of the human retina being 20/8 due to the architecture of the retinal ganglion cells. 

    While some patients will answer, “I can’t tell a difference” to the “One vs. two test,” an engineer will never ever do this. If they can’t tell a difference, they will demand you repeat the options 10 times.

    They also love topography and wavefront aberrometry, and will often bring you hand-drawn pictures of what they see to demonstrate to you the inadequacies of their visual system. 

    Tracy Schroeder Swartz, OD, MS, FAAO
    Tracy Schroeder Swartz currently practices at Madison Eye Care Center in Madison, Alabama. She serves as Education Chair for the ...

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