Optometric Physician



Vol. 23, #31  •   Monday, August 15, 2022


Off the Cuff: Just When You Think It Can’t Get Worse, It Does

Shortly after the US ineptly pulled out of Afghanistan, I commented to Shannon that the pullout was among the most incompetent things I’ve ever witnessed. Granted, I am no military tactician and most of my knowledge comes from a love of WWII movies, but pulling the military out before the civilians seemed crazy—especially for a country with the best military in the world. I shook my head and said, “Well, at least things couldn’t get any worse.” Boy, was I wrong.

Things have gotten worse and continue to get worse. The US often seems like a rudderless ship, with many of the things I read or hear on the news making absolutely no sense. I no longer even trust the news media, which I viewed as a foundation of our democracy. Even bright spots like Kyrsten Sinema, whom I didn’t vote for or always agree with but who seemed like one of the very few Washington politicians who thought for herself and did what she thought was right, eventually sold out to equity capital contributors.

No matter what side of the aisle you’re on, you have to be concerned about inflation, spending nearly half a trillion on an inflation reduction act, the chaos at the border, growing crime, COVID, climate change, and I could go on and on. For us the bigger problem is that our patients are concerned, and some are downright scared. And while I would like to think that things will get better, I don’t see any quick or easy way to dig out of the deep hole we’ve dug.

An advocate for preempting problems, this is a time where my best advice is hope for the best but prepare yourselves and your practices for the worst. Remember, much of our fees are controlled by others, but much of our costs aren’t. Do things today to generate additional income through uncovered value-added services and products, and control your costs. Finally, make sure you have a financial reserve to fall back on.

Personal note: regular readers know that I’ve been dealing with a health issue for the past few months. It seems that in our close community word spreads quickly. Many of you have reached out with words of support, concern, and caring, and each note, text, and email is appreciated beyond words. This week I will be undergoing fairly major surgery with a lengthy recovery period. It will hopefully resolve the problems that I’ve been dealing with. In the interim, Shannon will take over the helm, and OP will continue on a weekly basis as much as possible. Please understand that not only will she be running the office, taking care of two cats and two dogs and me, but also trying to juggle what is already an extremely busy life. Trust that I could not do this without her. Thank you for your understanding.

Depending on how things go, we may miss a week or two. I want to thank my friends at Jobson as well as our advertisers for the continued support, especially during these personally challenging times. If you email, I promise I will read your notes, but there’s a good chance I won’t be able to respond at least not right away. Wish me luck.


Arthur B. Epstein, OD, FAAO
Chief Medical Editor

Want to share your perspective?
Write to Dr. Epstein at artepstein@optometricphysician.com. The views expressed in this editorial are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Jobson Medical Information LLC (JMI), or any other entities or individuals.