Anyone who knows me knows I am not at all trendy. Perhaps that’s what has stifled every one of my attempts to become a social influencer, which I’m told is a thing these days. Even though all you have to do to be a social influencer is say you are a social influencer, I still cannot succeed as one. That tells you something.
So, it should come at no surprise at all that no one comes to me to learn about the latest trends in optometry (or in any other area of interest for that matter, although I do know a lot about sneaking cookies past my wife).
Still, I am undeterred. My crack team of investigators assures me the list of trends I’ve put together is “in,” so here are “our” findings:
1. There is a growing glut in IT. Every freakin’ kid in the universe is going to school to study IT. The more IT professionals there are, the less they’ll be paid. Perhaps your kid should be a plumber. That’s the next trend because who wants to fix toilets? People who want to get rich, that’s who.
2. In spite of our every attempt to keep patients from making grave errors, giant glasses are coming back. It’s a trend. What’s next? Crown glass? Executive trifocals in a +7 hyperope? Say goodbye to each of your patient’s nose and ears.
3. ODs share a similar mindset by thinking the only thing we have to do to stay in the game is have a full-service website. This trend was started by folks who want you to pay them to develop and maintain your full-service website. Smart people. Trendy people. Now, websites are better than phone books, but they still need to hold a millennial’s attention for longer than the time it takes them to check a text while driving on (and sometimes off) the interstate. But this whole trend of scheduling, buying and sometimes even having an eye exam through a website is just plain creepy. I can’t practice in Florida, but someone in Florida can check my Texas patient’s eyes and sell them glasses and contacts! Where’s the Board?
4. Leasing cool, overpriced luxury vehicles is definitely a trend, even for ODs. It’s okay. You should get to decide where to spend whatever little bit of cash our benevolent government decides you get to keep (for now). But I always thought living in a hut to give off the illusion that you can afford to drive an unaffordable car was overrated.
5. Wearing more masks than anyone else is trendy. It’s hard for me to believe some 80-year-old guy who sat quietly for 50 years in a little office in Washington, DC, and was paid to work crossword puzzles is now trending because he says you should wear a whole bunch of masks. You have to admire his patience. So, load up. Cover up. All the cool kids are doing it.
6. Speaking of pandemics, I got my two vaccines. They may be protecting me, but more important is that they’re also a trend. “You haven’t had your vaccines? Ewwwww!” Feeling superior to others is the first step to feeling trendy.
7. I’ve noticed if a patient opts out of widefield fundus photography and chooses dilation instead, they tend to not buy from your optical. Then they have to see you again before they leave the office, taking up more valuable time and resources and offering next to nothing in return. It’s your call, but I would urge you to strongly encourage them to come in yearly. And I personally would never be so presumptuous as to pre-appoint them. They’ll call, right? By the way, three or four drops of atropine really dilate well.
8. I guess the use of scribes is a trend. You see, we all have our charts on computers in the exam rooms. Marketing companies have convinced us that having our records on computers is just wonderful. It is kinda nice, but it takes us twice as long to complete the chart so we need scribes to get it right. I like having scribes for scribe purposes and to blame dilation issues on (see #7). I also like having scribes to see if I can find diagnoses that aren’t found anywhere in the EHR checklists they use. Makes me feel superior/trendy.
Don’t follow every trend. Be yourself. And don’t post stupid stuff. Nobody will stop following Dua Lipa to make room for you anyway.
Dr. Vickers received his optometry degree from the Pennsylvania College of Optometry in 1979 and was clinical director at Vision Associates in St. Albans, WV, for 36 years. He is now in private practice in Dallas, where he continues to practice full-scope optometry. He has no financial interests to disclose.