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Physician Attitude Makes a Difference

(From MyVisionTest Newsletter)

A new study published in the June 2008 edition of the British Journal of Ophthalmology finds that a physician with a positive attitude can have a significant effect on the patient's overall quality of life. The study involved 247 patients in a vitreo-retinal clinic. The researchers first interviewed the patients and assessed their quality of life with a standardized questionnaire (baseline). Each patient was then presented with two scenarios for their ocular condition: one which emphasized the possible negative consequences (bad-news scenario), and one that emphasized the positive consequences (good-news scenario). In each case the long-term prognosis for the condition was the same, only the doctor's presentation of possible consequences was different. The researchers found no change from baseline following the good-news scenario, but a 70% diminution in patient's perceived well-being following the bad-news scenario. The researchers conclude that patients had a considerably poorer outlook on life when their physician emphasized the possible negative consequences associated with their eye disease(s), as opposed to a more positive approach.

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