The Art of Listening

The Art of Listening


  1. To make an effort to hear something
  2. To pay attention; heed

In a recent news magazine I read an article titled “The End of the Doctor-Patient Relationship”. The piece detailed how our relationship with patients has eroded due to time pressures as we try to see more and more patients in a day. Patients complain of feeling rushed by harried doctors who don’t take the time to make a personal connection with their patients or offer an explanation of their condition in language that is easy to grasp.

I just returned from a national ophthalmology meeting where I heard leading experts in my field speak on the latest developments in cataract and refractive surgery. The excitement was palpable as we learned about advances in LASER-assisted cataract surgery, and new devices to measure and treat many common eye conditions. However, all the technology in the world cannot mend a doctor-patient relationship that lacks trust.

From its inception, Akler Eye Center has been a practice where individualized care is prized. By carefully listening to my patients’ complaints, I can perform a directed examination and selectively order tests only if they will help me diagnose or manage the patient’s condition. By offering detailed explanations of conditions and treatment plans in layman’s terms, I believe my patients are more likely to comply with my management suggestions and therefore positively impact their visual results. As medicine becomes more and more technology driven, time and patience are perhaps the most valuable resources that we, as physicians, can give to our patients.

By: Michelle Akler, MD

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