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Overheard Optometry

34 More Sad-But-True Things Patients Actually Said to Their Eye Doctors

‘I might be suffering from guacamole.’




IF YOU’VE BEEN FOLLOWING Overheard Optometry on Instagram and Facebook from the beginning, then you’ve read about many of the unbelievable things that patients have said to their eye doctors.

Of course, if you’ve been in the profession for any amount of time at all, you’ve probably heard similar things yourself.

INVISION’s first collection of Overheard Optometry posts, published nearly a year ago, has proved enduringly popular because the stories are just so relatable — and hilarious.

And if you’re one of the thousands who enjoyed it, you’re in luck. Today, we bring you the sequel: 34 more sad-but-true things patients actually said to their eye doctor. (Warning: salty language.)

Fluctuating vision in pregnant patients … and fathers?


Richmond, Virginia, USA • #overheardoptometry #pregnancy #optometryinvirginia

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And the “most attentive patient” award goes to …


Dry eye syndrome denial, perhaps?


Worcester, South Africa • #overheardoptometry #dryeyes #cry #tears #optometryinsouthafrica

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Explain “anything”.


Things optometrists can’t say out loud can always be said here instead. #odconfessions


Bolton, England, UK • #overheardoptometry #odconfessions #fundus #optometryinengland

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Kudos for trying.


Sounds like a legitimate question. Anyone know the answer?


So descriptive.


Carson City, Nevada, USA • #overheardoptometry #headaches #optometryinnevada

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Sounds like a great case study. Who wants to pioneer this research experiment?


No please, humor me more.


Are these patients trying to test our patience?


Is it 5 o’clock yet?


That colorful conversation escalated quickly.




Such patient patients we have.


Wiltshire, England, UK • #overheardoptometry #1or2 #optometryinengland

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Hate it when my astigmatism’s drop shadow shows.


Are you afraid of the dark?


Let’s get to the bottom of this.


Fancy condition. Wonder how much the surgery cost.


I don’t see anything wrong with herbal remedies. It was organic.


Well, that must have hit where the sun doesn’t shine.


Seems like a logical plan.


I’m sure it worked great in the Department of Losing Friends. OR Another awesome holistic method!


Why would they burn? It’s just a hot pepper.


Hope the medicine didn’t expire.


So quick to blame.


Dublin, Ireland • #overheardoptometry #icantsee #optometryinireland

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Glad this patient was able to paint a picture for us.


He has a point, you know.


Hobart, Tasmania, Australia • #overheardoptometry #eyechart #optometryinaustralia

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I think I just got a stye, in addition to nausea, from reading this.


Maine, USA • #overheardoptometry #stye #homeremedies #urine #optometryinmaine

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Can’t believe they kept this patient waiting without offering coffee and Netflix to get them by.


*Prescribes plano glasses for the rest of patient’s life.*


And perhaps it was, indeed, a detached eardrum.


Ambitious patient we have here.


If guacamole is a form of suffering then I want to suffer forever.


Sassiness exists in all corners of this world.


Penang, Malaysia • #overheardoptometry #patients #optometryinmalaysia

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ELVIRA DERHOVSEPIAN is an ophthalmic scribe applying for optometry school for fall 2018. She is the creator of the social media platform @overheardoptometry, a community of people who share their unique (and sometimes so very common) stories in eyecare. Derhovsepian recently published the first volume of the Overheard Optometry book, now available at, and enjoys freelance writing and editing in her free time.




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Overheard Optometry

11 of the Weirdest Things that Eye Doctors Heard from Patients

“When I smoke weed, why do my pupils dilate like I’m on speed?”




AS AN EYECARE PRACTITIONER, you know that certain commonly asked questions and comments — “What’s astigmatism?”, “Are the dilation drops necessary?”, “I can’t read up close anymore” — come with the territory. But occasionally patients also say things that are jaw-dropping, cringe-worthy or downright bizarre.

Today, we bring you a few of our favorite weird remarks that have been shared by optometrists, opticians and optometric technicians.

1. “When I smoke weed, why do my pupils dilate like I’m on speed?” –Dr. Sarah Lyn Sliva, optometrist, Saskatchewan, Canada

2. Patient: “So Doc, am I near-farted or what?”

Doctor: “I hope not, I’m standing right beside you!” –Anonymous

(Patient accidentally combined ‘near’ and ‘far’-sighted together)

3. Patient (to female optometrist): “Didn’t you used to be a man?” –Anonymous

4. “Years ago I had a patient see the progressive identifiers in his lenses. He was convinced they contained personal information and that it was a government conspiracy. He insisted I remake the lenses without the markings. I happily said that’s not possible, but he could switch to a lined bifocal, which he did.” –Kristi Johnson, optician, Rochester Hills, MI

5. Optometrist: “OK, now that you’re dilated, we are going to do the internal portion of your eye exam.”

Patient: “Um, OK. Does that mean you want me to take my pants off?” –Anonymous, technician, DE

6. “The funniest thing that I’ve encountered was when a patient asked me if I was going to check him for gonorrhea as it runs in the family; I politely asked, ‘Do you mean glaucoma?’” –Dr. Steven Koganovsky, optometrist, Fort Lauderdale, FL

7. Low-vision elderly patient: “This is my bad eye! I can’t see any of the ladies with this eye!”

Doctor: “Your wife is sitting right there!”

Patient: “It’s OK. She’s hard of hearing!” –Dr. Sarah Truman, Optometrist, Wichita, KS

8. “I had a follow-up a few years ago in which I placed a woman on Muro 128 ointment for Fuch’s Dustrophy. She came in for appointment and her cornea looked chewed up. I was dumbfounded. I asked her if she was taking her ointment as directed. She said she was. I asked to show me the ointment to make sure it was the correct one from the pharmacy and she pulls out Vagisil cream. She said she read the labels and it was ‘safe for delicate areas’ and assumed it was okay for her eye.” –Dr. Angela Tsai, optometrist, Fredericksburg, VA

9. Optometrist: “Are you taking any medication?”

Patient: “Does weed count? It really should, legalize it.” –Anonymous

10. “Patient called and was very concerned her sold her plutonium frames and was confused as why we would sell her radioactive frames that cause cancer. We politely informed her that they were titanium.” –Dr. Julie Hart, Optometrist, Hart Family Eyecare, West Plains, MO

11. “My glasses have prism in the left eye for astigmatism.” –Anonymous

Can you share any similar stories? Submit yours to @OverheardOptometry on Instagram or Facebook through direct message, or send an email to

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Overheard Optometry

14 Ridiculously Funny Things That Kids Actually Said at the Eye Doctor’s Office

“Are you allergic to anything?” “Poison.”




As a child, going to any kind of doctor’s office is nerve-wrecking. You notice the latex gloves, red-capped eye drops, alcohol wipes and different metal tools, not to mention the smell of “exam room” everywhere you walk in the office.

So it’s no wonder that kids arrive to their eye exam appointments filled with mixed emotions. Some are curious, filled with questions for which doctors have no way to prepare ahead of time. Others react with horror to any sight of drops or gadgets. Some child patients even come to the office with words of wisdom for adults to live by.

Read below for 14 of our favorite stories of children at the eye doctor’s office, submitted by ECPs from all over. One thing’s for sure: Children are funny, curious and charming no matter where they live, or which doctor’s office they visit.

When the optometrist is no longer a doctor in this innocent child’s eyes, but a blatant traitor.

I mean, she’s not lying …


Why haven’t we thought about this before?

Asking for a friend.

At least he’s too young to reveal this on Yelp.


How could Mom forget?

Think twice before you call your patient … err, patient’s eyes … lazy.

He comes prepared.


Dreams are broken at the optometrist’s office.

Creative jargon.

I think this gets covered during second year of optometry school … right?


At least his sinuses are working!

When life’s answers are revealed in the exam room.

When you decide there should be an age limit on when to show retinal photos to your
patients …

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Overheard Optometry

12 Eyecare ‘Emergencies’ That Weren’t Emergencies At All

That’s what happens when you put two contacts in one eye.




AN UNDERAPPRECIATED ASPECT of the eyecare profession is that we handle our share of emergencies. A practice might see anything from a swollen eye courtesy of a soccer ball to a mosquito bite on the eyelid to a visible curtain overtaking the patient’s vision.

And then there are the patients who take the whole thing too far, demanding urgent attention for situations that could, in fact, wait.

Below, we bring you 12 stories of patients whose supposed “emergencies” turned out not to be emergencies at all.

1. “A lady comes in saying she is seeing bubbles bursting all over her vision. We thought ‘flashing lights possibly?’ Fit her into the clinic [schedule], holding the rest of the day back by 40 minutes. Turns out her new glasses had an AR coating and she’d simply smudged the lens.” — Christine Mckeown, optical assistant, Belfast, Ireland

2. “I work in a hospital setting and am on call one week a month. I once had to go in on a Sunday morning because a kid felt like there was an ‘ice pick’ stabbing him in the eye and the ER doctor couldn’t figure out why. Turned out to just be a bit of dry eye/irritation in the nasal canthus.” — Anonymous

3. “Long-time customer comes into the store in absolute panic that her vision was compromised in both eyes and that her contact lenses were making no difference. Fit her into an already full clinic, resulting in the rest of the day running behind, where the optometrist finds she’s inserted two contacts into one eye and none in the other.” — Kerryn Roberts, optical dispenser, Lake Haven, Australia

4. “6-year-old girl’s mum insisting on an eye test (diary was completely booked out) as the girl was complaining of ‘sudden onset’ diplopia, headaches and blurry vision after school. Turns out she’d forgotten to take her glasses to school that day, Rx was about +3.00/-4.50×180 in both eyes.” — Flora Lo, optometrist, Sydney, Australia

5. “A young woman called hysterically because she had suddenly lost her vision. Even with her contact lenses on, everything was terribly blurred. She had to find a ride to the clinic. It turned out she had switched her R/L contacts. Since her Rx was OD -0.50 and OS -4.00, switching them made her pretty blurry. She was quite embarrassed that she hadn’t thought of that.” — Susan Haney, optometrist, Anaheim, CA

6. “Had a new patient come in insisting that she was in pain due to a foreign body sensation. Called her back early (because she said she was in pain), and she kept saying, ‘This is an emergency! I have an appointment in an hour, I need to see the doctor NOW!’ After determining that she was not, in fact, in pain, I set about documenting her medical history which she complained endlessly about because this was an ‘emergency’. The doctor had two patients in front of this one, so she probably waited about 10-15 minutes. She got impatient, came out of the room, grabbed the doctor as she was going into another room, and declared that she was having an emergency and needed to be seen right away! The doctor calmly told her to return to her room. When she did [examine] her, she found a mild case of dry eye.” — Hannah Leigh Jenkins, optometric technician, North Carolina

7. “Monday, I had a patient come in needing to be seen as an emergency. … On her new patient paperwork she stated ‘poked my eye, think there may be a cut in eye.’ In the exam room I ask, ‘When did you poke your eye?’ She replied, ‘6 months ago.’” — Vanessa Michelle Findley, optometric technician, Hart Family Eyecare, West Plains, MO

8. “Patient calls with a decrease in vision with painful eyes. We squeeze him in. Every time I would try to check his vision he would tell me to put the occluder down. I will never forget him because right before the exam started he said ‘Are you ready for the most stressful exam of your life?’ All he wanted was for us to look at a bump on his arm since dermatology was booked for 2 weeks.” —Danielle E. Mercer, certified ophthalmic assistant, Tulane Medical Center, New Orleans, LA

9. “One of our [optometrists] was telling us about a patient who said he’d eaten a piece of fruit that had some kind of parasitic worm in it that somehow made its way into his eye and was causing his vision loss … He had cataracts.” — Dylan Shield, optical assistant, Dunedin, New Zealand

10. “Someone booked an emergency patient in for flasher and floaters. When they got to the office I started testing on them and asked them ‘So you’ve been experiencing flashing lights and floaters?’ Their response was, ‘Oh. Yeah, last night when I turned the light off to go to bed I thought I saw a flash for a second. I mostly just want to update my prescription so is all this testing necessary?” — Brooklyn, optometric technician, Vancouver Island, Canada

11. “When I was on an extern rotation during fourth year, we got a call that a patient would be walking in after stabbing himself in the eye with a screwdriver. After winning the rock/paper/scissors with the other intern, I prepared to see my patient. The man walked in and did not appear to be in excruciating pain, but reported to the tech that he could ‘see a muscle popping out.’ After carefully examining him, he had a small abrasion on his superior lid but missed the globe altogether. The ‘pink muscle’ turned out to be his caruncle, and he was shocked when I pointed out the one on the other eye.” — Lindsay Rose, optometrist

12. “I once triaged someone who came in complaining of sudden, painless loss of vision in one eye when they were at work, [saying] they couldn’t see anything. I was worried about a CRAO. When they came in they told me it had happened when they were looking at a VDU, and it was still blurred now. Vision was 6/6 N5 right and left, answer normal, colour vision normal, full threshold fields normal, fundus healthy, no pathology to be seen. Rx was 0.00 one eye and 0.00/-0.25×180 the other eye. Turns out he had just never noticed the fraction of a prescription in one eye and refused point blank to believe me when I told him he had perfect vision.” — Sarah Tickell, England

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