Throughout our careers, we all use the phrase “I wish…” more than 186 times a year, and that’s just during office hours. You can only imagine how many times we say it after work, like when the lawnmower won’t start or when our spouse wants to visit Mom.

Most of what we wish for is just spur of the moment hogwash, like I wish I hadn’t upsized my burger meal. Sometimes, we wish for things that are good, like wishing that nice lady in the chair did not have macular drusen; sometimes we wish for things that are, well, not so good.

I like to collect wishes, write them down and study them later, which is always instructive. Here are some examples. I wish…

  • There was a way to reverse LASIK on a 45-year-old computer programmer who was plano OD and -1.25 OS before he had the OS corrected. 
  • Multifocal lenses beeped when they were inside out.
  • Children of staff members would quit getting sick every Sunday night.
  • I would explain astigmatism and the patient would not look at me like, “huh?”
  • I could be a retinal subspecialist for one day so I could retire.
  • Our contact lens rep would not want to meet to introduce me to a revolutionary new contact lens design.
  • Doctors who advertise free eye exams would spontaneously combust. 
  • Somebody would actually give a CE lecture instead of reading slides for two hours. 
  • During this CE, the lecturer would not say, “Stop me at any time if you have a question.”
  • I would invent a cure for pingueculae.
  • My staff understood that my open door policy does not mean they can speak to me during the day.
  • Vision plans wouldn’t tell patients they get a free exam every other year, but instead told them they get 50% off every year. 
  • All optometric graduates would be required to own their own practices for the first five years of their careers.
  • All state legislators would have to prove they can pronounce glaucoma before voting on any eye care laws.
  • Children’s frames did not ever have 140mm temples.
  • I had actually taken that job starring in Hamilton on Broadway. 
  • I didn’t spend $6,312.13 at Starbucks every year.
  • I could actually read the fine print on my business card. 
  • Patients would understand that when they say “I can’t see nothing,” it actually means they are saying “I can see everything.”
  • Certain patients would understand that daily disposable does not, in fact, mean monthly extended wear.
  • My wife would understand it’s not my fault when she’s late for work if she told me to set the alarm for 7am when she has to be at work at 6:30am (I only admit this because she never reads Chairside).
I have many, many more wishes I could share—and some that should probably never be shared. I can tell you this much: When I was young, the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders were involved. Now, it’s all about Liliane Bettencourt. I guess my wishes have evolved.