Spanish Speaking Guide for Optometrists

Working and communicating with patients is already challenging, but with an added language barrier, it can be a stressor for both the doctor and the patient.

Dr. Martin, in his first semester of optometry school, encountered a Spanish speaking patient who was nervous and frustrated about her upcoming exam. The patient was horrified of a growth on her eye (later identified as Pterygium), and the language barrier only made that stress worse.

With this patient, and many like her, in mind Dr. Martin went on to develop a Spanish speaking guide for optometrists for working with Spanish speaking patients that includes key phrases and ways to discuss care.*

Here are 5 great tips for conducting an eye exam in Spanish!

It’s important to remember, that using this guide to broach communication with a patient can go a long way. Even if you do not use Spanish to conduct the entire exam, even making the attempt to use key phrases is a great way to make your patient that much more comfortable.

If you are looking to further develop your skills using Spanish in the exam room, the National Eye Institute of Health has a plethora of free pamphlets and downloadables that you can use. Even if you are new to learning Spanish, being able to properly diagnose a patient and give them a resource that they can read in their own language can make a world of difference in the patient experience.

You can download the Spanish speaking guide for optometrists that will walk you through every aspect of an exam from discussing case history NCT pressures to diabetes.

For additional resources, check out: 

Additionally, if you need office documents translated you can contact Dr. Martin via email:

*A note from the guide: This document is designed to improve communication during an eye exam in Spanish. Working knowledge of basic Spanish is required to use this document effectively. This document is not meant to substitute the use of a translator. This document is copyright protected.

About Alex Martin

Alex Martin
Dr. Alexander Martin works at Salem Vision Center in Salem, NH. He graduated from the New England College of Optometry in 2017. He holds bachelor degrees in Human Biology and Spanish with honors from Michigan State University. Dr. Martin is co-author of “Clinical Optometry: Spanish-Speaking Patient Phrasebook”, founder of La Vista, which teaches Spanish to students at NECO. Moreover, he co-presented a Spanish class at the SECO conference. As an optometry student, Alex has participated and helped organize mission trips to Peru, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic. Additionally, Dr. Martin is working on an Artificial Intelligent Translator called Lengua Lista.

Leave a Reply

Send this to a friend