Most of us old timers built our success on our understanding of tried and tested words of optometric wisdom. So, as summer ebbs and a new optometry school year starts, please allow me to remind you, in no particular order, of...
Optometry’s wisest words!
• “7 and 4 and out the door.” Hmm, this one may not work anymore as technology and the evolution of medical eye care require us to do more than just refraction and retinoscopy. On the other hand, I ain’t giving up refractions to anybody in my office. It’s the only thing I do better than they do!
• “Anesthetic first, gonioscopy second.” Try it the other way once and you’ll never forget. I did and I don’t.
• “Read the red-capped bottle before using.” Sure, atropine is a great dilator, but your patient may actually have to go to work sometime in the next couple of weeks.
• “Never re-hire a former employee.” No matter how good she or he was, please heed this warning. Even if she was Mother Teresa.
• “Always check references.” In my whole career, the applicant who no doubt had the best interview was wanted on a federal warrant for money laundering and drug dealing in the state of Illinois. She’s great with insurance billing, but my phone has been tapped since 1984.
• “Never agree to let a patient make payments.” It makes more sense to just give them whatever they want so you don’t spend 10 years trying to collect the money.
• “Brown eyes are a sign of high intelligence.” This has nothing to do with my own brown eyes. It’s just a fact.
• “Beware all engineers.” They probably know more about optics than you do. I’ve found that the best way to communicate with them is with optometry shorthand. They will never admit they don’t know what NPBDR means. They just nod wisely and Google it later.
• “A hyperopic shift makes the doctor seem smarter.” I have no doubt in my mind about this.
• “A myopic shift makes the doctor seem dumber.” It’s true for all patients older than 42.
• “The closer a patient’s Rx is to plano, the more likely they’ll change doctors every year.” They’ll be back once they get it through their thick skulls that you were right after all. Strive to be the third doctor who recommended a PAL. By then, their will has been broken.
• “Mo’ employees, mo’ problems.” When we had eight employees, we had two who really worked hard. Now that we have two and a half employees, they work like they’re eight employees.
• “99% of doctors install their office security system exactly 24 hours after they are robbed.” I did.
• “EHRs mean less paper.” Bull.
• “EHRs will free up your time to do more important things.” For example, you’ll have time to spend calling your EHR company so they can fix what doesn’t work right.
• “Sending reports to the patient’s PCP leads to more referrals”—to their ophthalmologist golf buddy. (Seriously, after 30 years of consistent written reports, my referrals from PCPs have increased by 100%! Last year we got four.)
• “ODs talking about fees is an antitrust violation.” So, let’s have politicians decide what doctors should make—and doctors decide what politicians should make.
I hope you feel smarter now.
Relish it. It won’t last long.