Back in 1980, the US Army started a new recruitment campaign centered around the idea of military service bringing out the best in a person. A series of commercials showed enthusiastic young servicemen jumping out of planes, manning heavy artillery and generally looking ready for anything. Over a video montage, a narrator said with obvious pride, “We do more before 9am than most people do all day.” Yes, this was somehow considered a selling point. Anyway, the TV spots always ended with the tag line, “Be all that you can be.”
That could also easily be the refrain of seemingly everything we publish. This magazine has been encouraging optometrists to reach their full potential literally since before the profession was even called optometry. What’s especially interesting is that the horizon has only ever gotten wider for how optometrists can envision themselves—from optical to diagnostic to medical and now to surgical professionals.
As our issue theme highlights this month, optometric surgery is moving out of the fringes and into the mainstream. The perception of optometric surgery is finally shedding its origins as a trade-off that patients in rural areas have to make for convenience’s sake. Nope, it’s just plain old optometry now, or will be soon.
And, as always, we’ll be working to evolve this publication along with you. In 2022 we devoted a good deal of coverage to the push for expanded scope of practice: reporting the news, advocating for involvement in the lobbying effort and offering plenty of “how to” guidance on the new clinical responsibilities at stake.
A Goodbye and a HelloA quick farewell to Joseph Sowka, OD, who this month ends his 18-year term as a Review columnist. In 2023, he’s handing over Therapeutic Review to Jessica Steen, OD, a rising star and ace clinician. Thanks for everything, Joe. And welcome, Jessica!
Come next month, we’ll formally put a marker down on that bet with a new column on surgical procedures to be written and edited by Nate Lighthizer, OD, one of the leading lights of optometry’s move to embrace these emerging opportunities. Nate, by the way, is definitely one of those people who do more before 9am than most people do all day. We’re excited to have him share his experience and insights in these pages.
But there’s an important caveat. Just because you can jump out of an airplane doesn’t mean you have to.
While there are certainly some in-office procedures that feel suited to broad swathes of the profession (intralesional injection, for instance), it would be overzealous to expect every OD in America to run out and buy a YAG laser. Some may not have the patient base. Some may have prominent ophthalmologists in their midst and want to avoid poking the bear. Some may simply not be interested in the work. And all that is OK. Optometry doesn’t have formal subspecialties, but the profession’s clinical footprint is now so large that it’s becoming impractical to expect every OD to be up to every task.
So, be all you can be—choose what works for you, excel at it and push beyond your comfort zone—while also celebrating the many other ways your colleagues answer the call to service.