Ophthalmic Grit

By Steven D. Vold, MD

I thoroughly enjoy learning about history. At a recent ophthalmology meeting, Richard Mackool, MD, provided a fascinating perspective on 50 years of phacoemulsification. Pioneers such as Sir Harold Ridley and Charles Kelman, MD, faced immense obstacles to developing modern cataract surgery—not only technological and engineering challenges but also passionate, vocal persecution by their peers. The surgeons’ incredible tenacity and optimism allowed them to overcome the odds against them.

What can the rest of us learn from these giants in our profession? After reading about mental strength,1 here are my thoughts:

1 We must take responsibility for our actions and outcomes and recognize that, frequently, life is not fair. True leaders emerge from trying circumstances with self-awareness and gratitude for the lessons learned. They do not waste time feeling sorry for themselves.

2 Let’s embrace change, welcome challenges, and only fear becoming complacent and stagnant.

3 We must stop wasting energy on things we cannot control.

4 Let’s strive to be kind and fair and to please others when appropriate. That said, navigating difficult situations with strength and grace does not necessarily mean being a people pleaser.

5 We should thoroughly weigh risks and benefits before acting.

6 Let’s live in the present but learn from the past.

7 We must learn from our mistakes so as not to repeat them.

8 We should celebrate others’ successes and potentially build on them.

9 We must persevere despite many failures.

10 Let’s treasure time spent alone instead of depending on others to shore up our happiness. We can use downtime to reflect, plan, and be productive.

11 We should enter situations ready to work and succeed on our own merits. The world does not owe us anything.

12 We must be patient. Genuine change takes time.

This edition of GT focuses on telemedicine and technology, including our first look at the role of artificial intelligence in enhancing glaucoma care. Rather than disparage innovators in these areas, my hope is that we in the glaucoma community will work with them to advance concepts that could improve glaucoma patients’ quality of life all over the world.

Steven D. Vold, MD
Chief Medical Editor

1. Conner C. Mentally strong people: the 13 things they avoid. Forbes. http://bit.ly/2tbZNNI. Published November 18, 2013. Accessed July 18, 2017.


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Glaucoma Today is mailed bimonthly (six times a year) to 11,519 glaucoma specialists, general ophthalmologists, and clinical optometrists who treat patients with glaucoma. Glaucoma Today delivers important information on recent research, surgical techniques, clinical strategies, and technology.