It’s time to talk about the one thing no optometrist can control, and I don’t mean no-shows. OK, maybe no-shows are indeed the number one thing we can’t control, but the number two thing is…

Come to think of it, the number two thing is not what I had in mind either. It’s the idiot in front of you merging onto the 70mph highway at 47mph. 

But, down the list somewhere is my topic for the day. One of the million things optometrists just cannot control is the weather

Some of our fearless leaders want us to believe eliminating fossil fuels and cow manure will fix the weather issues, but then how would we get a good burger and drive to the CE meetings our fearless leaders require of us to continue to practice? 

Foul Weather Patients

So, we really are at the weather’s mercy. In my 40 years in practice I have learned some things about optometry and the weather:

1. Patients may miss appointments when the weather is horrible, but more often, they don’t show up when the weather is amazing. Who needs to protect their eyesight when you can catch some rays instead?

2. Snow, no matter how deep, will not prevent some patients from showing up on time—but only when you are running late because of the snow. They love standing knee-deep in the frozen tundra, staring into your windows, wondering why you are late. They also drove 20 miles to get there. The patient from across the street no-shows because of the bad weather. 

3. Patients buy more sunglasses from you when it’s dreary. That’s because you brought it up when they weren’t thinking about it. When it’s beautiful and sunny, you are too late. They already bought them somewhere else. 

4. Does your yard need rain? Take a day off. If you want to know when I am working, look outside. Is it beautiful? I’ll be here until 7pm. 

5. If you live in the desert, stop griping about the drought. If you live at the beach, stop griping about hurricanes. If you charge a $10 co-pay, stop griping about your bills. 

6. The average American owns two umbrellas. Not bragging, but the average OD owns seven. Are we more successful or do we just forget where we put umbrellas?

7. Every tire I have ever owned has been used in all seasons, so what’s the big deal? 

8. The average hail damage payout is $3,000. The average hailstorm lasts six minutes. That’s $80,000 per hour. The average physician makes $80 per hour. Hmmm. 

Schooled by the Weather

When I was in school, every pre-med student had to take at least one course in every discipline of science. You could take one course pass/fail. In the Geology Department, the only course that seemed to have any value to me was meteorology. Unfortunately, meteorology has nothing to do with meteors. They taught me that the first day of class. I scored a 62% on my final and passed. My friend Rich got a 60% and failed. He’s now a commercial pilot, soaring through the clouds with no clue why they are there. 

The lesson is this: respect the weather. Learn your weather patterns and how they affect your patients. When the weather is horrible or when it ruins your cash flow, just order pizza or fly off to where the weather is amazing—but not if the pilot’s name is Rich.