Communication is key, but it isn't easy

November 1, 2006

"Communication" is defined as the exchange of information between individuals, for example, by means of speaking, writing or using a common system of signs or behaviour.

Of course, we all know what it means. We communicate on a daily basis, whether it be with loved ones, colleagues, shopkeepers, with speech, hand gestures or simply with a facial expression. In order to get by, we need to communicate. But, how simple is it to communicate clearly with a patient?

Every surgeon wants a well-informed patient, however, when it comes to explaining complex scientific fact to a patient, difficulties will often ensue. Perhaps the patient is not interested in knowing the full details of a condition or procedure or maybe they fail to understand exactly the nature of it. Either way, sometimes an ophthalmologist's attempt to keep their patient informed is in vain.

Recognising how well people in general relate to illustrative communication, a UK healthcare company is developing a series of animations to aid the communications process. Please read Problems communicating with your patient? to find out more about this new and interesting approach to patient education.

Elsewhere in this issue, Professor Carlo Traverso analyses the results of a multicentre, European study, which was conducted to determine the burden of glaucoma in Europe. In terms of prevalence of ocular conditions, glaucoma comes second to cataract. It is therefore imperative that the impact of this condition, which continues to increase, is drastically reduced. In his article, Glaucoma: an economic time bomb, Professor Traverso not only highlights the measures that need to be taken to reduce the burden of glaucoma, but he also informs us of the economic impact the condition is having on our continent.

I do hope you enjoy reading this issue of Ophthalmology Times Europe. If you would like to make a comment on any of the articles in this issue or if you would like to submit your own research or opinion to Ophthalmology Times Europe, please do get in touch.

Thank you!