Getting the FULL chief complaint

The usual chief complaint question to a patient is to the effect: “Are you having any problems?”, “Are you having difficulties with your eyes”.  Many insurance companies, including Medicare, won’t cover a non-probem or routine exam, ie., “Vision stable” isn’t sufficient.  Many times you will ask patients for a complaint multiple ways, and finally say “Are you sure you’re not having problems?”.  And they still tell you they have no problems.

Many people don’t like to admit they have a problem or something is wrong.  They fear if they say I can’t see to drive; you’re going to take their license, etc.  So to find a complaint or problem the patient may have, put it in a positive sense.  “Is there anything you would do to improve your eyes?”  “If there was one thing you wish your eyes would do better?”.   Quite often asking them to improve something or make it better will uncover a problem they were reluctant to admit.  “I’d love to have less glare at night.”  “I wish I could see the TV better.”  These would turn into Chief Complaint of “Glare at night”, or “Blurried vision while watching TV”.

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