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ECPs Reveal Their Biggest Fear When Working with Patients or Customers

Some are legit terrifying. Others are potentially irrational and hilarious.




  • When a man buys glasses without his wife present. They get mad about what he got or how much he spent. If they can’t trust him to make a decision on his own then come with him to the appointment. — Katie Billman, Meridian Family Eyecare, Meridian, ID
  • Not getting the seriousness of potentially detrimental diagnosis across to patients, like glaucoma — they can’t see it, testing is expensive, etc. — Brendon Johnson, OD, Pekin, IL
  • Getting a question that I should know the answer to but don’t. — Larah Alami, OD, Hudson River Eye Care, Tarrytown and White Plains, NY
  • I’ve become a huge germophobe due to the pandemic. I feel like the “mask Nazi” in the store and I get upset about people’s lack of respect and social distancing with other humans. — Kim Roberts, Dr. Akre ad Clark Eyecare, New Ulm, MN
  • That their check will bounce. — Texas Smith, OD, Dr. Texas Smith and Associates, Citrus Heights, CA
  • That someone dies of a heart attack in the exam chair. It happened to my husband when he was working at Pearle Vision. — Diana Canto-Sims, Buena Vista Optical, Chicago, IL
  • That I miss something and they sue me. — Kimberly Riggs, OD, Ligonier, PA
  • That they will take the information of the frame I just styled them in and try to buy it online. — Paula Hornbeck, Eye Candy, Delafield and Mequon, WI
  • That they think they know more than we do about eyecare and it creates an argument. — BJ Chambers, Carrera Optical, McQueeney, TX
  • That they might sneeze or cough on me right when you go in for the PD. — Meredith Hall, Miller Family Eye, Cedar Rapids, IA
  • I have no fear. — Trish Todd, Legacy Vision, Plano, TX
  • That I won’t be able to figure out why their glasses don’t work for them. — Elizabeth Knaus, A to Z Eye Care, Arcata, CA
  • POFs! I hate fixing patients own frames. I should rephrase that, I hate fixing frames that look like they haven’t been cleaned for six months. — Josh Bladh, Dr Bladh OD, Diamond Bar, CA
  • That the mean ones will return even when we do not recall them. — Gayle Bergthold, Bee Cave Vision Center, Bee Cave, TX
  • Body odor (theirs, not mine). I have gagged before, repeatedly. — Angel Miller, Cynthiana Vision Center, Cynthiana, KY
  • The fear that my skill and knowledge of optics is outweighed by the patients’ ability to Google. — William Chancellor, Eye Can See Eyewear, McDonough, GA
  • That they can sense my anxiety. I had a patient make fun of me for shaking as I was receiving her verbal abuse. Since then, I have been very sensitive about patients noticing my anxiety in tough conversations and making me feel bad. — Tiffany Firer, Lifetime Eyecare, Jenison, MI
  • I am going to say the wrong thing in exam room since I am thinking about a million things at the same time. — Adam Ramsey, OD, Socialite Vision, Palm Beach Gardens, FL
  • As Sam Walton stated, the customer is the boss. They can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else. I don’t like when they take their prescription somewhere else because I could not satisfy their needs. — Tim Gray, Visual Eyes, Huntingdon Valley, PA
  • They become belligerent. Mean people suck and they suck the life out of you. — Susan Holt, OD, Coastal North Vision Care, Myrtle Beach, SC
  • The horribly angry patient coupled with the horrible online review. — Jill Schnurer, Village Eyecare Co., Clarkston, MI
  • I can find this online for less. — Dorothy Reynolds, Optical Alternatives, Milford, CT
  • Idiots. — Judith Whitelaw, Dr. Gregory Char, OD, Orange, OR
  • That they will snap and attack. It’s scary these days where a simple request can have someone attacking you. — Frances Ann Layton, Eye Associates of South Georgia, Valdosta, GA
  • They may not have insurance and want to pay cash! — Dave Schultz, OD, Urban Optics, San Luis Obispo, CA
  • Getting COVID as patients don’t want to keep their masks on. — Pamela Marzec, Marzec’s Specs, Streamwood, IL
  • I’m afraid they will make me pull 30 frames — that I then have to disinfect — and ask me to write them all down because “I have to think about it.” — Steve Geis, Metro Eye, Milwaukee, WI
  • That they won’t recognize their frame when they pick it up! We use the actual frame they picked off the shelf every time, and some of our strangest and most delicate conversations take place when navigating customers’ memory loss between order and pickup. — Jen Heller, Pend Oreille Vision Care, Sandpoint, ID
  • That they’ll be an asshole. I can take anything else. I can’t stand entitlement babies or people who come in with a nasty attitude right away. — Jeff Grosekemper, Casa De Oro Eyecare, Spring Valley, CA
  • Catching Pseudomembranous Conjunctivitis from patients! — Sherry Morgan, Logan Eye Care, Lake Mary, FL
  • I’m scared of the full erosion of the optical industry and eventual lack of respect for qualified opticians. My biggest fear is sitting down with a patient one day and feeling like nothing more than a glorified salesman. — David Greening, Astorino Eye Center, Newport Beach, CA
  • My greatest fear would be an unstable patient coming unglued and trying to hurt one of us. It doesn’t take much these days to upset someone. — Deanna Phillips, Clemmons Family Eye Care, Clemmons, NC
  • That they are secretly sick and spread infection. — Chris Clark, Advanced Eye Care Optical Shoppe, Panama City, FL
  • Right now, I’m just waiting for someone to cough on me or refuse to wear a mask. That should be a good time… Previously, the only thing I was worried about was whether or not I had something in my nose or teeth. — Sherry Berry, Eye Against Eye, Aston, PA
  • New patients that have large heads and have never been fit in a proper fitting frame. I always dread telling them things are too small (because they are used to it) and why they have to keep pushing up their glasses due to improper fit. I don’t want them to think I’m being judgmental. — Lindsey Pulford, Insights Eyecare, Manhattan, KS
  • Sometimes when working a big dollar self-pay sale — which isn’t the norm in our very heavy managed care practice — I think to myself, “They’re going to flip when they see this price” but usually that doesn’t happen. — Christine Howard, Attleboro Vision Care, Attleboro, MA
  • Disease … not just COVID. People are not clean. That black and green gunk on their glasses . — Cindy Henderson, Eyear Optical, Inc, Hixson, TN
  • Passing gas. — Alexander Saper, Great Glasses, Houston, TX
  • That I will make a mistake that costs someone their vision. — Douglas Holle, OD, Sunset Eye Care, San Angelo, TX

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