Arabic in Ophthalmology
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Based on the 2019 data from the US census, 35% of individuals who spoke Arabic in the United States, spoke English “less than very well”. The United States has seen an increase in migration of individuals from the Middle East and North Africa where the predominant language is Arabic.
It has been demonstrated that effective patient communication, especially about the asymptomatic nature in the early stages of many eye diseases such as diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma is essential to effective screening and management.
A study conducted in Saudi Arabia, reported that patients' lack of knowledge about the crucial role of diabetic retinopathy screening programs as one of the most frequent causes of delay in diabetic retinopathy diagnosis and management.
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The purpose of this article is to offer basic Arabic phrases that can aid healthcare professionals in ophthalmology when interacting with Arabic speaking patients. This vocabulary list will cover the most frequent terms and phrases used in the patient encounter however, it is important to remember that there are many regional dialects in theArabic language which may make communication limited. The words in this article are presented in Modern Standard Arabic, the accepted literary form throughout the Arab countries in regions such as the Middle East and Africa. The English pronunciations of these phrases have been lengthened to aid in understanding and phonation. Having a medical interpreter for the encounter is still advised to ensure accurate translation during patient interactions, and this article's vocabulary list is intended to serve as an additional tool to enhance communication.
• Hello, my name is Dr.__ = Marhaba, esmy Dr.____
• I am an ophthalmologist = Ana tabeeb euyoon
• What brought you in today? = Ma aladhy ja’alak ta’ti alyawm?
• How are your eyes doing? = Kayfa hal ayoonak?t here
• I have blurry vision = Ru’yati ghayr wadh’ha
• I have worsening vision = Ru’yati tazdaad soo’an
• I have trouble seeing things at a distance = La astateea’ an araa ‘an boud
• I have trouble seeing things at near= La astateea’ an araa ‘an kurb
• I have pain in my eyes = Indi alam fee ayooniHello, my name is Dr
• I have been having dry eyes = ayooni jaffaHello, my name is Dr
• I have been having watery eyes = Ladaya al-katheeru min al-damooa’ fee ayooni
• I have itchiness in my eyes = ayooni tahikuniHello, my name is Dr
• I have been experiencing foreign body sensation in my eyes = Lakad ash’ar bi shaya’ ghareeb dakhel ayooniHello, my name is DrHello, my name is Dr
• I have trouble moving my eyes = Ajed su’ooba fee tahreek ayooniHello, my name is Dr
• I have pain moving my eyes = Ash’our bil alam inda tahreek ayooni
• Right eye = Al-‘ayn al yameenHello, my name is Dr
• Left eye = Al-‘ayn al yasar
• Both eyes = Al-‘aynain
Review of Systems
• Have you had any ____? = Hal ladayka aya min___?
• Fevers? = Harara
• Headache = Sudaa’ raa’s
• Nausea/vomiting = Ghathayan/istifragh
• Diarrhea = Is-haal
• Constipation = Imsaak
• Chest pain = Alam fee alsadir
• Shortness of breath = Theek fee altanafus
• Heart palpitations = Ithtirabaat fee alkalb
• Seizures/Epilepsy = Hello, my name is DrNawbaat saraa’
• Sleep problems = Mashakil fee alnawm
• Swelling = TawarumHello, my name is Dr
• Allergies = Hasasiya
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• Is the vision problem in right, left, or both eyes? = Hal mushkilat al-roo'ya fee al-'ayn al-yamna aw al-yusra, aw fee al-'aynayn?
• How old is the prescription in your glasses? = Kam 'umr al-wasfah al-tibbiyah fi natharatik?
• Do you wear contact lenses? = Hal tastakhdim ‘adasaat?
• Have you had eye surgeries before? = Hal ajrayta 'amaliyat jirahiya 'ala al-'ayn min qabl?
• Have you had any laser surgeries before? = Hal ajrayt ay 'amaliyat jirahiya bil-layzir min qabl
• Is your vision better, worse or the same than last visit? = Hal natharaak afdhal, aswaa', am kama kanaat fee al-ziyara al-akhiraa?
• Is your vision blurry? = Hal ru'yatuka ghayr wadhiha, ghayr
• Are you seeing double? = Hal taraa athnayn?
• Do you have trouble seeing in your peripheral vision? = Hal ladayka su’ooba fee muheetta ru’yat?
• Do you have pain? = Hal tu’any min alam?
• Do your eyes experience increased sensitivity to light? = Hal tu’any min hasaseeya min al-dhaw’?
• Do you have changes to your vision? = Hal ladayka taghayurat fi ru'yatak?
• Does your vision improve with glasses? = Hal tatahassan ru'yatuka ma'a al-natharat?
• Here? = Hina?
• Do you have eye redness, itchiness, mucous or watery discharge? = Hal ladayka ihmarar fi al-'ayn, hakka, aw ifrazat sa’eela?
• Do you see any flashes? = Hal taraa wadthmat thaw’eeya
• Do you see any floaters? = Hal taraa ajsam mutaharika fee natharak
Past Medical History
• Have you been diagnosed with any eye conditions in the past? = Hal tam tashkhisuka bi-ay hala fee ‘aynakfee al-madi?
• Any family history of unexplained blindness or glaucoma? = Hal ladayka tarikh 'a'ili li-fuqdan al-basar ghayr al-mufassar aw al-zurq?
• Have you been diagnosed with any medical conditions in the past? = Hal tam tashkhisuka bi-ay halat tibbiyahfee al-madi?
• Have you had any injury to the eyes or the head in the past? = Hal ta'aradht li-ay isabah fee al-ayoon aw al-ra's fi al-madhi?)
• Are you currently or previously been on any medication or eye drops for your eyes?= Hal anta halian aw kuntfi al-sabiq tatnawal ay adwiyah aw qatrat lil-'aynayn?
• Glaucoma = al-zurq
• Cataract = al-maa’ al-abyadh
• Ocular hypertension = Irtifaa' thaght al-'ayn
• Retinal detachment = Infisaal al-shabakiya
• Diabetes = Marath al-sukar
• Hypertension = Irtifaa’ thaght aldamBased on the 2019 data from the US census, 35% of individuals who spoke Arabic in the United States, spoke English “less than very well
• Heart problems (myocardial infarction, heart failure, angina) = Mashakil al-qalb (Jaltah qalbiya, fashal al-qalb, alam fee al-sadr)
• Stroke = Jaltah fee al-mukh
• Sleep apnea = Tawaquf al-tanaffus fee al-nawm
• Do you wear a CPAP? = Hal tastakhdim jihaz al-CPAPAdd text here
Vision, Pupils, & Pressure
• We are going to test your vision = Sanaqoom bifahs natharak
• What is the lowest line you can read? = Ma hiya adna satar yumkinuka qira'atuh?
• Please read that line = Min fadhlak, iqraa' hadha al-satr
• Can you see better with number 1, number 2, or are they the same? = Hal tara afdhal ma'a raqam 1, raqam 2, am hum mutasawiyan?
• look straight ahead = Anthur mubasharatan ila al-amam
• This is a numbing eye drop; this will not dilate your eyes = Hadihi qatrat takhdeer lil-'ayn; lan tuwasaa’'aynayk
• We are going to dilate your eyes, your vision at near will be blurry for the rest of today = Sanuqoom bi-tawseea' 'aynayk, satukoonu ru'yatuk al-qareebah ghayr wadhihah li-baqiyat al-yawm
• This is to check your pressure, please look ahead and do not squeeze = Hatha lifahs daght 'aaynak, min fadhlikHello, my name is Dranzur ila al-amam, tanaffas wa la tadghut
• Your eye pressure is (high, low, normal) = Daght 'aaynik huwa (aali, munkhafid, taabi'i)
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Slit Lamp Examination
· I’m going to turn off the room light = Sawfa atafii dhaw’a al-ghurfaa
· Rest your head on the chin rest = Min fadlik, daa' raa’sak 'ala al-masnad
· Grab the handles on the hand grip = Amsik makaabuth al-yad
· Keep your forehead touching the bar = Karib jabhataak ‘ala al-masnad
· I’m going to shine the light into your eyes = Sawfa awajih al-dhawa’ ‘ala ‘aynayk
· Open your eyes = Iftah ‘aynayk
· Close your eyes = Sakir ‘aynayk
· Look to the right = Unthur ila al-yameen
· Look to the left = Unthur ila al-yasar
· Look at me = Unthur ilaya
· Look up = Unthur fooq
· Look down = Unthur tahaat
· Look at this ear = Unthur ila hathihi al-ithin
· Try not to squeeze = La tadghut
- We are going to take pictures of the eye = Sawfa na’khuth soorah lil-ayoon
- Optical coherence tomography = Tasweer maktaa’ie lil-tarabut al-basari
- Fundus Photography = Soorat kaa’ al-ayn
- Fluorescein Angiography = Tasweer al-aw'iaa' bil-fluorescein
- Ophthalmic ultrasound = Tasweer sonar al-ayn
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· Surgery = Amaliya jirahiya
· What is your name? = Ma huwa ismuk
· Which eye are we going treat/operate? (verification) = Ala ayy 'ayn sanuqoom bil-'ilaj/al-'amaliyah?
· Suture/stitch = Khiyata/ghirza
· Complication = Mudha'afa
· We will give you intravenous (IV) medication = Sanu’teek dawaa ‘abr al-wareed?Add
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· We are going to start. = Sanabdaa’ al-aan
· Look at the light. = Unthur ila al-daw’
· Don’t move = La tataharak
· Relax. = Istarkhi
· You may feel pressure = Qad tash’ur bil-thaght
· We are almost finished = Nahnu 'ala washk al-intiha'
· We are finished = Laqad intahina
· You did very well = Kullu shay' saar 'ala ma yuraamAdd text here
· How are you feeling? = Kayfa tash’ur?
· Have you had pain? = Hal tash’ur bil-alam?
· How is your vision? = Kayfa natdharak?
· Your eye is healing as expected = ‘Aynuka tata'aafi kama huwa mutawaqqi'
· There is some increased inflammation in your eye, we will need to change the eye drops = Hunak baa'dh al-altihab al-mutazayid fi 'aynuka, sanahtaaj ila taghyeer qatrat al-'ayn
· Start taking this antibiotic drop in the operated eye = Ibda' bisti'khdham hadhihi al-qatra al-mudhada lilbacteria fi al-'ayn allati tammat al-amaliyah al-jirahiya ‘alayhaa
· Start taking this steroid eye drop in the operated eye = Ibda' bisti'khdham qatrat al-stiroid lil-'ayn fi al-'ayn allati tammat al-amaliyah al-jirahiya ‘alayhaa.Add text here
· Everything is good = Kullu shay’ jayid
· Everything is stable = Kullu shay' mustaqir
· You need another drop (medicine) = Tah'taj ila qatra ukhra
· We are going to start a new ______. (drop, pill) = Sanabda’ _____ jadeeda (qatra, habba)
· Don’t take ____. = La ta’khuth ______
· Keep the eye shield on until = Albas dir’a al-ayn hataa _____
· Do not rub your eyes = La tafruk ‘aynayka
· Call our office if you have increasing pain, red eye, photosensitivity, flashes, floaters, worsening vision. = Ittasil bimaktabinaa itha kunta tu’aany min ziyadah fi al-alam, ihmirar fee al-‘ayn, hasasiyya min al-daw', wadthmat thaw’eeya, ajsam mutaharika, tadahwurr fee al-ru'ya
· You need surgery = Anta tahtaaj ila amaliya jirahiyah
· Use this _____ times per day. (once, twice, three, four, five) = Istakhdim hatha _____ fee al yawm (marra, marratay, thalath marrat, arbaa’ marrat, khams marrat)
· We are going to refer you to _____ = Sanaqoom bi-ihalatik ilaAdd text here
· Return in ___ (a day, a week, a month). = Irjaa’ baa’da _______ (yawm, isboo’, shahar)
· Let’s go to the front (for check out). = Sawfa nath’hab ila maktab al-khurooj
· We are going to schedule the next appointment (visit). = Sanaqoom bijadwalat al-maw’id al-tali
1. 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: August 21, 2023).
2. Kumar G, Velu S, Pardhan S, Sapkota R, Ruamviboonsuk P, Tadarati M, Chotcomwongse P, Nganthavee V, Pattanapongpaiboon W, Raman R. Patient, family member, and health care provider perspective on barriers and facilitators to diabetic retinopathy screening in Thailand: A qualitative study. PLoS One. 2023 Aug 3;18(8):e0289618. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0289618. PMID: 37535658; PMCID: PMC10399890.
3. Al-Shehri AM, Aldihan KA, Aljohani S. Reasons for the Late Presentation of Diabetic Retinopathy in Saudi Arabia: A Survey of Patients Who Presented with Advanced Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy to a Tertiary Eye Hospital. Clin Ophthalmol. 2022 Dec 28;16:4323-4333. doi: 10.2147/OPTH.S394146. PMID: 36597470; PMCID: PMC9805731.
4. Al Rasheed R, Al Adel F. Diabetic retinopathy: Knowledge, awareness and practices of physicians in primary-care centers in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Saudi J Ophthalmol. 2017 Jan-Mar;31(1):2-6. doi: 10.1016/j.sjopt.2017.01.001. Epub 2017 Jan 17. PMID: 28337055; PMCID: PMC5352944.
5. Bokhary KA, Alshamrani ES, Jamous KF, Fahmy R. Validation of the Arabic version of the quality of life impact of refractive correction questionnaire. Saudi J Ophthalmol. 2022 Jul 11;36(1):83-89. doi: 10.4103/sjopt.sjopt_117_21. PMID: 35971486; PMCID: PMC9375452.
- 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: August 21, 2023).
- 1. Kumar G, Velu S, Pardhan S, Sapkota R, Ruamviboonsuk P, Tadarati M, Chotcomwongse P, Nganthavee V, Pattanapongpaiboon W, Raman R. Patient, family member, and health care provider perspective on barriers and facilitators to diabetic retinopathy screening in Thailand: A qualitative study. PLoS One. 2023 Aug 3;18(8):e0289618. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0289618. PMID: 37535658; PMCID: PMC10399890.
- 1. Al-Shehri AM, Aldihan KA, Aljohani S. Reasons for the Late Presentation of Diabetic Retinopathy in Saudi Arabia: A Survey of Patients Who Presented with Advanced Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy to a Tertiary Eye Hospital. Clin Ophthalmol. 2022 Dec 28;16:4323-4333. doi: 10.2147/OPTH.S394146. PMID: 36597470; PMCID: PMC9805731.