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Daddi Fadel
Rute J Macedo-de-Araújo
Melissa Barnett


Purpose: To assess the relationship between eye care practitioners and contact lens patients and to
determine how empathy is associated with patients’ overall satisfaction.

Methods: Multilingual electronic surveys shared by email and on social media in patients’ and practitioners’ groups. Ratings were converted to a numerical scale. The scores were compared using Wilcoxon rank sum tests.

Results: The survey had 804 responses: 68.4% were over 46 years old, and 58.1% were female. Only 770 reported the type of contact lens worn. Of all patients, 10.6% would not recommend their physician due to feeling excluded from decisions (55.3%), lack of personal interest (63.5%), no written recommendations (84%), and unmet expectations (77%). Scleral lens wearers were highly satisfied. Optometrists excelled in care, ratings, relationships, communication, symptom relief, and prevention.

Discussion: The findings highlight the importance of empathy in eye care and its impact on patient experiences. Factors such as contact lens type, physician recommendation, and physician type can influence the level of empathy perceived by patients. Satisfaction varied based on contact lens type, with soft and scleral lens wearers reporting better experiences. Patients valued physicians who listened, explained treatments, showed empathy, and had patient-centered communication and open-ended questions. Optometrists were scored higher than ophthalmologists in several aspects.

Conclusion: Patients, especially scleral lens patients, were generally satisfied with the services and care. Optometrists scored higher than ophthalmologists. Patients would not recommend their physicians mainly because of a lack of empathy.


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