Start by taking off the doctor’s coat — at least, metaphorically.

Dr. Ron Rosa, a California optometrist, wrote a blog for health care website Healio in which he outlines three steps that eye doctors should follow when breaking bad news to their patients. “Learning how to break the news that a life-changing disease, infection or eye condition has been found is truly one of the most important things you can do as an optometrist,” he writes, adding that “the way you convey that news can make an extreme difference in how your patient feels post-revelation.”