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January 1988

How We Deal With Our Own Feelings About Blindness

Arch Ophthalmol. 1988;106(1):31-33. doi:10.1001/archopht.1988.01060130037023

Although initially entitled, "How We Deal With Blinding Illness: An Ophthalmologist's Feelings," the revised title, "How We Deal With Our Own Feelings About Blindness," more accurately reflects my concerns. How we respond to our visually impaired patients' needs is much different from how we cope with our own feelings. During my ten-year experience as a resident, fellow, and practicing ophthalmologist, I did not attend a lecture, read an article, or view a scientific presentation that directly addressed our individual or collective professional attitudes toward blindness, nor did I seek out information regarding this problem until recently. A computer-assisted comprehensive search verified my impression that this subject rarely has been broached in the ophthalmic literature1-11 and only occasionally in psychiatric journals.12-16 The most famous article about our attitudes toward blindness was poignantly written by an academic physician and researcher as patient, DeWitt Stetten, Jr, MD, PhD, and appeared in

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