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White lies

What do you do when you suspect a patient isn't telling the truth about their eye health?

23 Mar 2016 by Emily McCormick

Ok, I admit it, I told a porky to my optometrist when I was a teenager. As specs began to trend in the school playground, I tried my luck at slightly misreading a line on the eye test chart. I failed to get my fibs past my on-the-ball optometrist and left the opticians without glasses that day.

Today, I would never lie to a healthcare professional – eye, dental or medical – despite the sometimes-mandatory lecture that accompanies filling out the questionnaire truthfully. However, research published by eye hospital group Optegra confirms that my 15-year-old self fibbing in the optometrists’ chair is not alone. The survey found that 54% of Brits questioned had lied to their optician about their eye health and the standard of their vision.

Hoping that they were being honest when answering why, reasons ranged from wanted to avoid criticism, feeling awkward or panicked, and wanting to impress.

Hearing an optometrist colleague say: “We do know they are lying, but we can't always prove it” after reading the story got me thinking. What do you do when you suspect a patient is lying? And how do you encourage them to tell the truth? If you have any tips, visit our forum to share your experiences.

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