Paradox of Choice, Wealth of Options
As most notably posited by psychologist Barry Schwartz, an abundance of options is less positive than it seems. In his book The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less, Schwartz describes the many limiting setbacks of having an excessive number of choices, including the stress induced when people are confronted with ample opportunities and the regret they feel from choosing poorly.
As the field of ophthalmology advances, so too does the number of tools and techniques at ophthalmologists’ disposal. This is not necessarily a bad thing—compared with our predecessors, we are fortunate to even have the opportunity to choose and, sometimes, to have more than one viable choice. But sometimes this wealth of options can cloud our course.
Although we do not have an unlimited array of treatment options, the magnitude of the decisions we face on a daily basis is comparatively great. I think it’s safe to say that selecting a treatment option for a sight-threatening condition holds more weight than picking out a box of cereal. Quite simply, there is a lot at stake for our decision-making.
In light of this, ophthalmologists must learn to properly deliberate—to take our wisdom and experience, apply them to the case before us, and choose where we go next. In the spirit of deliberation, this issue of GT covers some of the options we weigh regularly in modern practice. In some instances, articles may present perspectives that call into question long-held beliefs and steadfast convictions. But, as our contributors did when authoring these pieces, I ask readers to remain open—to new ideas, new conclusions, and even new practices.
Although opposing options can complicate our decision-making, that is a challenge we are fortunate to face.