A Brief Guide to Mandarin in Ophthalmology
A brief guide and resource for mandarin in the Ophthalmology or Optometry clinic.
Language barrier is one of the main contributing factors to unequal access to healthcare in the United States. Over the past 40 years, the number of Chinese-speakers in the United States have grown tremendously. Accordinig to the U.S. Bureau of Census, the number has grown to almost 3.5 million from 1980 to 2019. Moreover, the largest subgroup of Asian Americans are Chinese Americans.
Based on the findings from The Chinese American Eye Study, it was found that compared to Hispanics, there’s a higher prevalence of nuclear opacities among Chinese Americans, which leads to cataract surgery more often than other types of opacities. Another population-based study found that there’s a higher burden of myopia, high myopia, and astigmatism among Chinese Americans than whites, Hispanics, and blacks.
The rapid growth of Chinese speakers in the United States as well as the increased prevalence of certain ophthalmologic conditions among Chinese Americans suggested the need to provide languages resources to aid healthcare professionals in ophthalmology for effective communication with the patients.
The goal of this article is to provide basic Mandarin vocabulary to assist healthcare professionals in ophthalmology encounters when communicating with Mandarin-speaking patients. The vocabulary included in this article is not comprehensive, but it includes the most common phrases used during these encounters. A medical interpreter is still recommended to provide translation during patient encounters, with the list provided in this article as a supplement to mediate effective communication.
- Hello, my name is Dr. __ = Nǐ hǎo, Wǒ de míngzì shì __ Yīshī
- I am an ophthalmologist= Wǒ shì yīgè Yǎnkē yīshēng
- What brought you in today?= Nǐ Jīntiān láifǎng de yuányīn shì shénme?
- I have blurry vision= Wǒ shìlì móhú
- I have worsening vision= Wǒ de shìlì biàn chàle
- I have trouble seeing things at a distance= Wǒ yǒu kùnnán kàn yuǎn chǔ de dōngxī
- I have trouble seeing things at near= Wǒ yǒu kùnnán kàn kàn jìn chù de dōngxī
- I have pain in my eyes= Wǒ de yǎnjīng hěn tòng
- I have been having watery/dry eyes= Wǒ de yǎnjīng hán lèi/hěn qián
- I have itchiness in my eyes= Wǒ de yǎnjīng hěn yǎng
- I have been experiencing foreign sensation in my eyes= Wǒ gǎnjué yǎnjīng lǐmiàn yǒu dōngxī
- I have trouble moving my eyes= Wǒ yǒu kùnnán Yídòng wǒ de yǎnjīng
- I have pain moving my eyes= Yídòng wǒ de yǎnjīng hěn tòng
- Right eye= Yòu yǎn
- Left eye= Zuǒ yǎn
- Both eyes= Shuāng yǎn
Review of Systems
- Have you had any ____?=Nǐ zuìjìn yǒu méiyǒu ___?
- Fevers?= Fāshāo
- Headache= Tóutòng
- Nausea/vomiting= Gǎndào Ěxīn/Ǒutù
- Diarrhea= Lādùzi
- Constipation= Biànmì
- Chest pain= Xiōngtòng
- Shortness of breath= Hūxī kùnnán
- Heart palpitations= Xīnjì
- Numbness or tingling= Gǎndào má huò cì tòng
- Seizures/Epilepsy= Jìngluán huò diānxián
- Sleep problems= Shuìmián wèntí
- Swelling= Gǎnjué Shēntǐ Yǒu Zhǒng
- Allergies= Guòmǐn
- Is the vision problem in right, left, or both eyes?= Nǐ de shìlì wèntí shì zài yòu yǎn, zuǒ yǎn, háishì shuāng yǎn?
- How old is the prescription in your glasses?= Nǐ yǎnjìng de dùshu shì duōjiǔ yǐqián dìng de?
- Do you wear contact lenses? = Nǐ dài yǐnxíng yǎnjìng ma ?
- Have you had eye surgeries before?= Nǐ yǒuguò yǎnjīng shǒushù ma?
- Have you had any laser surgeries before?= Nǐ yǒuguò léi shè jiǎo shì shǒushù ma?
- Is your vision better, worse or the same than last visit?= Zìcóng nǐ shàng cì de bàifǎng, nǐ juédé lǐ de shìlì yǒu biàn hǎo, biàn chà, háishì gēn shàng cì chàbùduō ?
- Is your vision blurry, irregular, or double?= Nǐ yǒu shìlì móhú, sànguāng, huò fù shì ma?
- Do you have trouble seeing in your peripheral vision?= Nǐ yǒu kùnnán kàn dào nǐ de zhōubiān shìyě ma?
- Do you have pain? = Nǐ de yǎnjīng gǎndào tòng ma?
- Do your eyes experience increased sensitivity to light? = Nǐ yǒu wèi guāng ma?
- Do you have changes to your vision? = Nǐ de shìlì yǒu biàn ma?
- Does your vision improve with glasses?= Dài yǎnjìng néng gǎishàn nǐ de shìlì ma
- Here? = Zhè biān ma?
- Do you have eye redness, itchiness, mucous or watery discharge? = Nín shìfǒu yǒu yǎnjīng fà hóng, fā yǎng, niányè huò shuǐ yàng fēnmì wù?
- Do you have floaters or flashes? = Nǐ yǒu shǎnguāng huò fēi wén zhèng ma?
Past Medical History
- Have you been diagnosed with any eye conditions in the past?= Nǐ yǐqián yǒu méiyǒu bèi zhěnduàn chū rènhé yǎnjīng wèntí?
- Any family history of unexplained blindness or glaucoma?=Nǐ de jiātíng lǐ yǒu méiyǒu rén yǒuguò bu míng yuányīn de shī míng huò shì qīngguāngyǎn?
- Have you been diagnosed with any medical conditions in the past?= Nǐ yǐqián yǒu méiyǒu bèi zhěnduàn chū rènhé jíbìng?
- Have you had any injury to the eyes or the head in the past?= Nǐ yǐqián yǒu méiyǒu guò rènhé yǎnjīng huò tóu bù chuàng shāng?
- Have you had eye surgery in the past?= Nǐ yǐqián yǒu méiyǒu jiēshòuguò rènhé yǎn bù shǒushù?
- Have you had laser eye therapy in the past?=Nǐ yǐqián yǒu méiyǒu jiēshòuguò léi shè jiǎo shì shǒushù?
- Are you currently or previously been on any medication or eye drops for your eyes?= Nǐ yǐqián huò xiànzài yǒu méiyǒu fúyòngguò rènhé yào huò yǎn yàoshuǐ?
- glaucoma= qīngguāngyǎn
- Cataract= Báinèizhàng
- Ocular hypertension= Yǎn yāguò gāo zhèng
- Retinal detachment= Shìwǎngmó tuōlí
- Diabetes= Tángniàobìng
- Hypertension= Gāo xiěyā
- Heart problems (myocardial infarction, heart failure, angina)= Xīnzàng jíbìng (Xīnjī gěngsè, Xīnzàng shuāijié, Xīnjiǎotòng)
- Sleep apnea, do you wear a CPAP?= Shuìmián hūxī zhàn tíng, nǐ xiànzài yǒu méiyǒu shǐyònghūxī jī?
Vision, Pupils, Pressure
- We are going to test your vision one eye at a time= Wǒmen jiāng yīcì cèshì yī zhī yǎnjīng de shìlì
- What is the lowest line you can read?=Nín néng dú de zuìdī yī háng shì nǎ háng?
- Please read that line= Qǐng dú zhè yī háng
- Can you see better with number 1, number 2, or are they the same? Nǐ juédé nǐ yòng dì yī gè háishì dì èr gè kàn de bǐjiào qīngchǔ? Háishì méiyǒu chābié?
- Please look straight ahead: Qǐng xiàng qián kàn
- This is a numbing eye drop, this will not dilate your eyes= Zhè shì yī zhǒng mázuì yǎn yàoshuǐ, bù huì fàngdà nǐ de tóngkǒng
- We are going to dilate your eyes, your vision at near will be blurry for the rest of today= Wǒmen xiànzài yào fàngdà nǐ de tóngkǒng, shèngyú de zhè yītiān, nǐ de jìn jùlí shìlé huì shì móhú de.
- This is to check your pressure, please look ahead and do not squeeze=Zhè shì wèile jiǎnchá nǐ de yǎn yā, qǐng xiàng qián kàn, bùyào jǐ nǐ de yǎnjīng.
- Your eye pressure is (high, low, normal)=Nǐ de yǎn yā (guò gāo, guò dī, zhèngcháng)
Slit Lamp Examination
- I’m going to turn off the room light=Wǒ xiànzài yào guān dēng.
- Please rest your chin on the chin rest=Qǐng bǎ nǐ de xià bā fàng zàixià bā zuòㄡ
- Please grab the handles on the hand grip=Qǐng yòng nǐ de shuāng shǒu wò zhù shǒu bà
- Please keep your forehead touching the bar=Qǐng què bǎ nǐ de étóu tiē zhù étóu bǎn
- I’m going to shine the light into your eyes= Wǒ xiànzài yào yòng guāng lái kàn nǐ de yǎnjīng
- Open your eyes= Zhēng kāi nǐ de yǎnjīng.
- Close your eyes= Bì shàng nǐ de yǎnjīng.
- Look to the right= Wǎng yòu kàn.
- Look to the left= Wǎng zuǒ kàn
- Look up= Wǎng shàng kàn
- Look down= Wǎng xià kàn
- Look at this ear= Wǎng zhège ěr duō kàn
- Try not to squeeze=Jìnliàng bùyào jǐ nǐ de yǎnjīng
- Look straight forward= Wǎng qián kàn
- Optical coherence tomography= Guāngxué tóngdiào duàncéng sǎomiáo
- Confocal scanning laser ophthalmoscopy= Léi shè sǎomiáo yǎndǐ jìng
- Scanning laser polarimetry= Jīguāng piānzhèn guāng sǎomiáo yí
- Fundus Photography= Yǎndǐ shèyǐng
- Fluorescein Angiography= Yíngguāng sù yǎndǐ xiěguǎn zàoyǐng
- Ophthalmic ultrasound= Yǎnkē chāo yīnbō
- Surgery = Shǒushù
- What is your name?=Nǐ de míngzì shì shénme?
- Which eye are we going treat/operate? (verification) = Wǒmen yào zhìliáo nǎ zhī yǎnjīng/duì nǎ zhī yǎnjīng kāidāo?
- Suture/stitch = Fèng xiàn/Fénghé
- Complication = Bìngfā zhèng
- We will give you intravenous (IV) medication= Wǒmen huì tígōng jìngmài zhùshè yàowù.
- We are going to start. = Wǒmen yào kāishǐle.
- Look at the light. = Qǐng kàn zhège dēng
- Don’t move. = Bùyào dòng.
- Relax. = Fàngsōng
- You may feel pressure. = Nǐ kěnéng huì gǎndào yǒuxiē bú shūfú
- We are almost finished. = Wǒmen kuài jiéshùle
- We are finished. = Wǒmen jiéshùle
- You did very well. = Nǐ zuò dé hěn hǎo.
- How are you feeling this morning? = Nǐ jīntiān zǎoshang gǎnjué rúhé?
- Have you had pain? = Nǐ yǒu gǎnjué dào tòng ma?
- How is your vision? = Nǐ de shìlì rúhé?
- Your eye is healing as expected. = Nǐ de shāngkǒu zhèngzài shùnlì de yùhé.
- There is some increased inflammation in your eye, we will need to change the eye drops= Nǐ de yǎnjīng yǒudiǎn fāyán, wǒmen bìxū huàn nǐ de yǎn yàoshuǐ.
- Start taking this antibiotic drop in the operated eye=Qǐng zài nǐ kāidāo dì nà zhīyǎn diǎn yǎn yàoshuǐ
- Start taking this steroid eye drop in the operated eye=Qǐng zài nǐ kāidāo dì nà zhīyǎn diǎn xiāoyán yǎn yàoshuǐ.
- Everything is good. = Yīqiè ān hǎo.
- Everything is stable. = Yīqiè dōu hěn wěndìng.
- You need another drop (medicine). = Nǐ xūyào Lìng yīzhǒng yǎn yàoshuǐ (yào)
- We are going to start a new ______. (drop, pill) = Wǒmen yào qǐng nǐ kāishǐ _____ (diǎn yīgè xīn de yǎn yàoshuǐ, fúyòng xīn di yào)
- Don’t take ____. = Qīng bùyào fúyòng _____
- Keep the eye shield on until= Qǐng jìxù dài yǎnzhào zhídào
- Do not rub your eyes=Bùyào róu yǎnjīngㄡ
- Call our office if you have increasing pain, red eye, photosensitivity, flashes, floaters, worsening vision. = Qǐng dǎ diànhuà gěi wǒmen de zhěnsuǒ rúguǒ nǐ yǒu téngtòng jiājù, hóngyǎn, wèi guāng, shǎnguāng, fēi wén zhèng, huò shìlì èhuà.
- You need surgery. = Nǐ xūyào kāidāo.
- Use this _____ times per day. (once, twice, three, four, five) = Qǐng yītiān yòng ____ cì (Yī, Liǎng, Sān, sìm wǔ)
- We are going to refer you to _____ = Wǒmen yào bǎ nǐ zhuǎn zhěng gěi _____ .
- Return in ___ (a day, a week, a month). = Qǐng zài _____ hòu huílái (Yītiān, yīgè lǐbài ,yīgè yuè)
- Let’s go to the front (for check out). = Ràng wǒmen yīqǐ qù guìtái bàn shǒuxù.
- We are going to schedule the next appointment (visit). = Wǒmen lái bāng nǐ yùyuē xià yīgèmen zhěng.
- Hernandez, S.D.and E. (2022) Nearly 68 million people spoke a language other than English at home in 2019, Census.gov. Available at: https://www.census.gov/library/stories/2022/12/languages-we-speak-in-united-states.html (Accessed: January 21, 2023).
- Budiman, A. (2022) Chinese in the U.S. fact sheet, Pew Research Center's Social & Demographic Trends Project. Pew Research Center. Available at: https://www.pewresearch.org/social-trends/fact-sheet/asian-americans-chinese-in-the-u-s/ (Accessed: January 21, 2023).
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- Varma R, Torres M, McKean-Cowdin R, Rong F, Hsu C, Jiang X; Chinese American Eye Study Group. Prevalence and Risk Factors for Refractive Error in Adult Chinese Americans: The Chinese American Eye Study. Am J Ophthalmol. 2017 Mar;175:201-212. doi: 10.1016/j.ajo.2016.10.002. Epub 2016 Oct 18. PMID: 27769895; PMCID: PMC5337169.