The Elements of Proper Counseling

Proper counseling is as much an art as it is a science. Counseling is difficult to teach: its learning curve is long and steep, and practicing it requires considerable experience and patience. Counseling demands:

• Expert knowledge of ophthalmology in general and of ocular trauma-tology in particular

• Empathy (understanding,4 compassion, distance-keeping sympathy)

• Ability to listen

4 Understanding, among others, that the eye's anatomy, the significance and consequences of the injury, and the implications of the treatment are new and mysterious to the patient, although they all are common and obvious to you, the ophthalmologist. Most patients, for instance, would not know that no pain is expected during slit-lamp examination, that tearing is natural after taking a photograph with bright flash, or that a small puncture of eye wall with a wire can cause disastrous complications and immediate intervention is needed even if the visual acuity remained unaffected after the injury.

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