Total patient care is a priority of a doctor of optometry. This means they are concerned with the health of the whole patient, more than just eye health. This concern for the whole patient has prompted instruction in nonverbal communication at University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry. Dr. Janene Sims encourages her students to pay close attention not only to their own nonverbal actions such as their dress, encroachment on a patient’s personal space, minimizing distractions, as well as making and maintaining eye contact to develop trust and comfort with their patients. Students are also advised to listen for the wordless messages of their patients. Paying attention to facial expression and paralanguage may help doctors detect questions or anxiety in patients. Posture, gestures, and body language can also be cues about the overall total health of a patient.


"Decipher Wordless Messages." Women In Optometry Nov. 2008: 9.