Downloadable Portuguese Language Cheatsheet for Optometrists

by Kevin Cornwell, OD and Kristy Hamilton, PhD
Feb 5, 2021
2 min read

Today’s eyecare providers practice within increasingly diverse cultural settings. Developing competency in your patients’ native language is crucial to providing quality care—whether that means your own linguistic skills as a doctor, ensuring that members of your staff are able to communicate effectively and compassionately with all your patients, or retaining the services of skilled translators.

In this language cheat sheet, we’ll be looking at some common exam phrases and terminology used to conduct an eye exam in Portuguese. This is by no means an exhaustive list! However, it should help you as a non-native speaker to conduct an eye exam with Portuguese-speaking patients.

We have teamed up with Kristy Hamilton, PhD. Dr. Hamilton is a global health educator and researcher focused on public health education, practice, and research. She is originally from Brazil and is a native Portuguese speaker.

This cheatsheet includes phrases and pronunciation guides for:

  • Introducing yourself
  • Taking patient history
  • Entrance testing, the eye exam, and the fundoscopic exam
  • Talking your patient through their assessment and treatment plan
  • And more!

Why learn optometric phrases in Portuguese?

We've covered before the importance of communicating with your patients in their native language. Ultimately, the biggest reason is this: A little respect goes a long way. Even if you don't use Portuguese to conduct the entire exam, putting in a little effort to use some key phrases is a great way to help your patient be more comfortable in the exam chair. With comfort comes communication and trust!

If you're looking to practice your basic language skills, try apps like Duolingo. Another great tool for ODs is the OpTranslate app, which breaks down each part of the eye exam, providing thorough translations for common phrases, questions, and answers that you're likely to encounter.

With a few small additions to your vocabulary, you will be surprised by how quickly your eye exams begin to flow more smoothly. Despite the plethora of ways we can use technology to interpret for us, having a basic understanding of the language will save you time and optimize your exam flow.

It’s important for us to establish a good rapport with our patients, regardless of their demographics. Learning to enhance your Portuguese communication skills, and ascend beyond the bare minimum vocabulary will help you thrive among your Portuguese-speaking patient population.

About Kevin Cornwell, OD

Dr. Kevin Cornwell graduated from The New England College of Optometry in 2015. He went on to complete a residency in ocular and systemic disease with Indian Health Services in Zuni, New Mexico. He now works with MACT Health Board, …

About Kristy Hamilton, PhD

Kristy Hamilton, PhD, is a global health educator and researcher focused on public health education, practice, and research.

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