Category: Eyes

What I Learned In Atlanta

I just returned from five days in Atlanta attending the Southern Educational Congress in Optometry (SECO), one of the largest optometry meetings in the world. It had been a while since I had attended so large a conference, and I discovered that I had some catching up to do. Since most of you weren’t able to go too, I decided I would share a few things that I learned:

  • Be careful if you use a hotel elliptical trainer. If the “glide” track is angled differently from the one you use at home, it can ball up your calves into knots making it extremely difficult to walk for the rest of your stay.
Read the rest

Artificial Tears Are Good. Natural Tears Are Better

A tip o’ the hat to fellow optometrist and nation’s servant Lt. Col Hal who passed on this fine article, “The Vision Thing,” from Christianity Today.

Artificial tears are the workhorse of eye care. I’ll tell you what I tell my students and patients–when all else fails, lubricate, lubricate, lubricate. It’s really not a question of if you have dry eyes, but how dry are they and how much do they bother you? Our modern lifestyle, especially all the time we spend in front of computer screens, contributes greatly to the surge of dry eye that I’ve seen over the past 20 years.… Read the rest

Why I Hate Kentucky

There’s only thing that makes my heart gladder than a Duke win, and that would be a Kentucky loss. In this case, the major whuppin’ at the hands of the Vanderbilt Commodores last night.

Whence comes my ire? Oh, the general cockiness–and the 1978 NCAA final didn’t help. But the biggest reason is related to eyes.

In the summer of 1990, I was a resident in ocular disease at a large clinic in Nashville. I wasn’t sure where I would go after that, so I was in the process of obtaining several state licenses to broaden my options. I thought at the time that Kentucky sounded kinda nice and wasn’t far and that I might be able to find a post-residency position somewhere in The Bluegrass State.… Read the rest

6000 Pennies for My Thoughts

4540259_55e51f2a6b.jpgRemember the old expression, “A penny for your thoughts?”

Well, if someone ever says that to you, my best advice is to hold out for more. You see, I’ve discovered somebody who’s willing to pay me 6000 pennies a month for my thoughts! Not Bob Woodward. Not George Will. Not Dave Barry. But me. Little old me.

Now I know how excited The Soggy Bottom Boys must have been when they found out that they could actually get paid for singing into a can.

I’ve been dropping a few hints lately that I might be branching out a bit from blogging this year, and I’m pleased to report that has come to pass.… Read the rest

My Top Ten Anti-Resolutions for 2008

Why start off 2008 with a laundry list of resolutions that I know I won’t keep? No, no, better to make anti-resolutions, things that I know, absolutely without a doubt, I will never, ever do this year…

1) Serve on another committee. I wasn’t just any committee member. I was a bona fide read-all-the-emails, attend-all-the-meetings, believed-I-could-actually-make-a-difference kind of committee member. I was determined to overcome my natural cynicism and play well with others. Ha! What was I thinking? Eyegal kept telling me: “Careful, Mike, you’re gonna get burned.”

I hate it the way she’s right all the time. Bureaucracies, whether they be at work or church (and sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference), suck.… Read the rest

Banes, Blessings and Broken Banister Knobs

alabama-theatre.jpgHave you ever seen the same thing a million times, but in a moment of great clarity, suddenly seen it in an entirely different way? If so, then you know how I felt last night as I road-tripped with Eyegal and some good friends to the beautifully restored Alabama Theatre in downtown Birmingham for a showing of the classic Christmas feel-good film, It’s a Wonderful Life.

A television rerun or a DVD don’t do the deed like the flashing neon sign, the gleaming, waxed floors and the gilded, cathedral-like trimmings of The Alabama. Throw in a Wurlitzer that rises like a wailing phantom from beneath the stage floor, audience sing-a-longs of “Oh Come All Ye Faithful” and “Buffalo Gals” and a retro Disney cartoon for an appetizer, and you suddenly find yourself drifting back to the 1940s, a time when real gentlemen wore woolly, tweed suits and flashy fedoras down to the corner market, and ladies, in their form-flattering skirts and soft, feminine blouses, charmed passersby and flaunted their sizzling sexuality without shedding a single stitch of clothing.Read the rest

Hooah, Captain Gales

I’ve had the privilege of teaching many interns and residents over the years, and it’s always a joy to see them sally forth and take on the world. Although some have made me nervous (are you sure you’re ready for this?), others, such as Dr. Curt Gales, were obviously destined to accomplish great things.

I was Curt’s preceptor during his residency at Fox Army Hospital in 1996-97. He was, without a doubt, one of the best students I ever had. Emboldened with the kind of confidence and independent spirit that can only come from driving a combine on a Kansas wheat farm at the age of twelve, Curt never flinched at any difficult case or task that we assigned him.… Read the rest

Night Vision


“There’s a world in front of me I can’t predict or envision because I haven’t been there yet. I haven’t lived this yet. I haven’t lived blind,” he says. “All I ask is to stay in the Army and finish out my years … I want to feel productive.”

The only good news for now is when he sleeps, Castro says.

“I’ve had dreams where I know I’m blind and, guess what? I’ve regained my vision,” he says. Reality floods back each morning.

“There’s not a night that I don’t pray and ask God, when I wake up, that I wake up seeing.”

Read the rest

The Last of the Doughboys

doughboy.jpgAlthough yesterday was officially Veterans Day, every day is Veterans Day for me. By virtue of my choice of practice, I have the privilege of providing eye care to “him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan” (and increasingly these days, her as well).

I consider it an honor and a privilege to care for these men and women who are, by and large, among the most decent, salt-of-the-earth folks you’ll ever meet. Indeed, they are cut from a finer grade of cloth than any politician who ever sent them into battle. At this point in my career, if I was suddenly thrust into a situation where I had to care for the well-to-do and whiny LASIK/liposuction crowd, I would probably end up strangling someone in frustration.… Read the rest

A Sacred Bond Between Doctor and Patient

I was at work doing an eye exam, where else would I be? And by the time my first patient’s eyes were fully dilated, mine were too–only for a different reason.

As I finished his exam, I told him what was unfolding, that we were apparently under attack and no one was quite sure where it was going to stop.

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” he replied, the blood draining ever so slightly from his face.

To this day, I will occasionally call up a patient’s records on the computer and there it will be in bold relief–9/11/01, 8:00AM.… Read the rest

A Rush of Blood to the Head

I’m not talking about the Coldplay album–although it’s a good one. I’m talking about the rush of blood to the head that occurs anytime you take a good lick to your noggin’. For Garrison Keillor, a close encounter with a low-lying beam elicits the memory of his old battle-hardened, ex-Marine journalism professor at the University of Minnesota, Mr. Robert Lindsay. For me, it’s the memory of the understated brutality of my old, formaldehyde-soaked anatomy professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Dr. Steven Zehren.

For the most part, I sailed through an academically challenging public high school and Harding University without too much difficulty.… Read the rest

Back On Schedule

The following conversation recently took place in a local health care provider’s office. All names have been deleted in order to protect confidentiality and the sacred bong bond between doctor and patient:

Doctor: “I noticed that your eye pressure is up a lot today. Have you been taking your glaucoma drops?”

Patient: “Yup, sure have Doc–religiously.”

D: “I don’t understand. Your pressure has never been this high before, and as you know, you have very bad tunnel vision from your glaucoma and you can’t afford to have your pressure stay that high for very long. Has anything else changed in your life?”… Read the rest

Tunnel Vision, Man


The following conversation recently took place in a local health care provider’s office. All names have been deleted in order to protect confidentiality and the sacred bong bond between doctor and patient:

Patient (hereafter referred to as “P”): “Doc, I’ve been havin’ these spells of tunnel vision, man.”

Doctor (hereafter referred to as “D”): “In one eye or both eyes?”

P: “Both.”

D: “How long has this been going on?”

P: “Oh, at least 5 or 6 years.” (translation: So long that he can’t really remember)

D: “How often does this happen?”

P: “Um, hard to say, pretty often I guess.”… Read the rest