Not many people know this fun fact: William Shakespeare was the first optometric author. If you went to Pennsylvania College of Optometry in the 1970s, then you already knew this. If you went somewhere else, I’ve heard other teachers say it was some guy named Hemingway or something. It’s time I set the record straight.

Shakespeare’s original writings were peppered with optometric references. I have to admit, though, that he had to change some words in his final drafts to keep his editors and Queen Elizabeth I off his back. (That’s the same Queen Elizabeth who is still in charge, right?) Here’s what he really wanted to say:

  • What’s in a name? An infection by any other name would smell as sweet.
  • Good night, good night! Teaching contact lens insertion is such sweet sorrow.
  • To thine own self be true, unless you feel like you have to accept a crappy vision plan.
  • All that glitters is not asteroid hyalosis.
  • What a piece of work is man, that he loses half his vision on Friday and calls you at home the next Wednesday night.
  • Brevity is the soul of pretesting.
  • The lady doth no-show too much, methinks.
  • Now is the winter of our trigeminal dysphoria.
  • Alexa, if music be the food of love, play “Doctor, My Eyes” by Jackson Browne.
  • What is hyperemic is prologue.
  • Neither a borrower nor a pterygium be.
  • For my part, that eyelid bump was Greek to me.
  • God hath given you one face, and decent glasses can give you another, thank goodness.
  • Ambition should be made of better recalls.
  • To see or not to see, that is the question.
  • Though this be madness, I still plan to visit my legislator.
  • And it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not diagnose when there are false positives for any man.
  • All the world is a stage, and all the men and women act like they don’t need help reading.
  • Why, then the foreign body’s mine oyster.
  • The better part of valor is referral.
  • Uneasy lies the head that wears the indirect.
  • Friends, Romans, countrymen, do these frames hurt your ears?
  • Beware the ideas of sales reps.
  • Double, double, toil and trouble. I’ll be home late for dinner.
  • A CE course, a CE course, my kingdom for a course!
  • The course of true private practice never did run smooth.
  • The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers. (Okay, good ol’ Willie didn’t have to change that one.)

Shakespeare knew us so well. Maybe he knew us better than we know ourselves. My advice? Speak like Shakespeare wrote, to every patient. You won’t keep many, but those who remaineth shall remaineth forever and a day.