From the Editor

Starting in the summer of 1999, Dr. Jeffrey Myers ('84) took over as Editor-In-Chief of The Ohio State University BuckEYE Optometry Alumni Newsletter. Dr. Myers soon began writing a series of editorals that would span 20 years.  Each of his editoral letters contain optometric thoughts, advice and recommendations that include personal experiences and insights about himself, his family and his practice.  As we are reaching 2020, Dr. Myers is bringing his twenty years editoralship for the Buckeye Magazine to a conclusion. Included below is an archive of all his "From the Editor" articles for you to read and enjoy.

 

Newsletter cover photos from 2000 - 2005

Select an editoral from the headlines below:

FROM THE EDITOR

Recently, I had the opportunity to buy 35mm film and stopped at a local discount department store.

Finding my desired items, I headed for the “12 items or less" checkout to expedite my departure. As I confidently strode to the checkout, I was struck by the fact that a familiar part of my checkout experience was missing: the cashier.

I had stumbled onto a concept that was new to me, cashierless checkout. I scanned and bagged my own purchase, used my PIN to identify myself to the machine and printed my receipt. All this with no human contact.

Earlier the same week, I had gone to a department store to buy shoes. No clerk was to be found, no shoehorn, not even a foot-sizing device was in the shoe area. And I didn't find anything I liked that fit.

I left frustrated and went to a specialty shoe store, where all they sell are shoes. The first pair the clerk selected fit well and looked great. I ended up buying 2 pairs and spent 3-4 times what I had planned. But I was much more satisfied because I had been served.

The moral for us in optometry? We are bombarded by competition that is faceless, inhuman, and promises lower prices. But most patients prefer value. They want to be served, cared for, and pampered even if it means paying a bit more. They will return for care to the place “where everybody knows their name”.

In our practices, we can and do offer this daily. Strengthen it in your practice. Position yourself to serve and care for your patients. It is what we do best.

Dr. Jeffrey A. Myers ('84) Editor-in-Chief

FROM THE EDITOR

Our summer vacation this year was to Orlando, Florida spending part of our time at Walt Disney World. My wife, the kids, the daughter's boyfriend, the in-laws and I all flew down together. The in-laws stayed with other family in central Florida. The rest of us attacked the various attractions in the Orlando area, including WDW.

As a consumer, it never ceased to amaze me how many ways Mickey Mouse has discovered to separate vacationers from their money. If you have been there, you know what I mean. From $2.00 bottled water to $1.50 Mickey-shaped ice cream bars to a burger, fries and a drink for $10.00 to battery operated “misters” (a clever fan/water bottle combination) for $15.00 to souvenirs, etc., Mickey has many ways to extract money from his guests.

Do you suppose patients ever leave your office feeling this way?

I suppose if we asked the management at WDW about prices, they would probably focus on the true value of world-class entertainment, the friendliness of the cast members, the fine quality of the food and entertainment, their commitment to cleanliness, their skill in providing entertainment, and (lastly) the need to make a reasonable profit. All of these things they deliver consistently on a daily basis. People attend WDW for the value of highquality entertainment.

Sometimes as practitioners, we lose sight of the fact that patients expect us to address their needs and provide highquality care. If we approach each patient with the mindset that we are there to address their needs and provide highquality care, the economics become secondary. Patients will perceive value when our service exceeds their expectations. Patients should leave each of our practices thinking they received stellar service, not focusing on how much lighter their wallet is. They should be able to tell their friends, “Dr. Smith and his staff took the time to ask me what my needs were, explained how to manage them, and led me in the process to solve them."

Occasionally, that will mean a pair of photochromic progressive addition lenses for dress, a pair of computer glasses with anti-reflection coating for work, a pair of prescription progressive addition sunlenses for sailing, and bifocal contact lenses for social occasions. While this may seem like a lot, in reality, it is the result of asking about the patient's various needs and addressing those needs. Will you make a reasonable profit? Sure. But the patient will go home feeling like they were cared for and that they really mattered.

Focus on caring for the patient's needs, give them stellar service, and they will perceive value. And just like WDW, they will keep coming back.

Dr. Jeffrey A. Myers ('84), Editor-In-Chief

FROM THE EDITOR High Tech....But Where's Our Focus?

'Tis the season for those holiday purchases. You know the ones I'm talking about. These are the end-of-year equipment purchases that are made to help us not slip into the next higher tax bracket. They are really gifts to us and non-gifts to Uncle Sam.

And the array of choices is better than ever. You thought you had a retinal or slit lamp camera, think again. Imagine yourself on the stool driving a digital or video camera. You really need this. So the sales rep thinks.

How about a corneal topographer? Great for all those preop LASIK patients. And the sales rep will tell you that you will need them for every contact lens fitting. Not because it necessarily provides additional information that a biomicroscopic evaluation won't, but because patients will perceive your practice as “cutting edge”. And you want to be “cutting edge”, don't you, doctor?

Maybe an autolensometer will be in your stocking this year. These instruments can now tell you if you have a progressive lens without having to shake the lens or looking for those little symbols. And if you need a bigger business expense, your autolensometer can give you a topographic image of the lens in color.

Santa's sleigh won't be complete without an autorefractor/ keratometer for you, if you have been a good doctor this year. In about the time it takes to blink your eyes, you will have objective readings and a PD. Had one for a number of years? It might be time for a new one. New technology, you know. Well, at least that is what the sales rep says.

Already got these toys? Looking for a bigger business expense? Try a nerve fiber analyzer or a camera system that will take a 200 degree retinal photo through an undilated pupil. Plenty of choices for your shopping pleasure.

Don't get me wrong, I am hardly a technophobe. And all of these items have been on my list. Each has its benefits. Each has a way of helping you to make a better evaluation of the patient or making your examination more efficient. All have their place in practice. And many practice management consultants suggest that the high tech stuff puts the “sizzle in the steak”. They tell us that patients prefer to go to a practice that is perceived to be progressive, cutting edge, modern. I think they are right. Think about your experience; don't you prefer to go places for services where you think you are getting better than average, or even stellar service?

But have you ever done one of your best examinations, seen lattice degeneration at the ora serrata, caught that microtropia, or gotten the last .12 diopter of cylinder, only to have Mrs. Stephens say, “But what do you think about where my glasses are rubbing my ear?" You look back at the chief complaint and sure enough, there it is, “Temple rubbing left ear sore”.

All the high tech marvels in the world are no substitute for caring about your patient. You can have all the sizzling equipment, but if you didn't take care of the concern that brought the patient to you, you failed. Show the person in your chair that you care. Be there with him (her). Take time to address his concern. Focus on making him know that while you are with him, nothing else matters but him and his problem.

Use the high tech instruments as the tools that they are. Let your patients be impressed with your efficiency and 'stateof-the-art' appearance. But more than that, impress them with how much you really care about them. They will remember that far longer than your instrumentation.

-- Dr. Jeffrey A. Myers ('84), Editor-In-Chief

FROM THE EDITOR

Often, in the daily hustle and bustle and business of the workday, we sometimes forget that we have an obligation to serve our patients wherever they may be. Sometimes we forget that not every patient can get to our office. Some are homebound; some are in nursing homes or care facilities that make it difficult or impossible to travel to our offices. Conditions like Alzheimer's, late stage diabetes, and terminal cancer often put a burden on families to care for patients, let alone transport them to our offices.

And so, there are occasions when we make visits to the nursing homes or patients' homes to care for them. Some of you do this regularly and routinely, making this an integral part of your practice. Some of you, like myself, only occasionally provide this service. Some of you may choose to simply not do it, perhaps because it is inconvenient or time-consuming or you do not think you have all the right equipment.

Patty came to our practice about 4 years ago. She had moved back into the area to be close to family as she was in failing health and was in her early 80's. She suffered with chronic trichiasis and was one of those patients who needed to have her lashes epilated monthly. For a while, her daughter did it on occasion and we would do it on occasion. As time passed, we took care of Patty's needs more frequently.

Patty now has terminal cancer. Over the past 6 months, she has declined in health and is under Hospice care. Six to nine months ago, she was able to come to the office with difficulty. About 4 months ago, she became homebound, and in the last 6 weeks, she has become bedfast. But her trichiasis continues, and the need for epilation continues. As you would expect, the call came from her daughter to provide the service and we agreed.

There has been a noticeable change in her health during the time I have made home visits. Initially, she recognized me and we would have a conversation. We would hold hands and just visit a bit. I would remove her troublesome lashes, and she would express her appreciation in words. On one visit, she had selected some ornaments that she had made by hand as a token of her appreciation for my efforts. On my last visit, she was bedfast and less coherent. But she still held my hand, letting me know her appreciation.

As I was preparing this article I received word that she had passed away last week. I had been one of the last people to see her alive other than her family.

Our responsibility is to provide care for all at any age and at all times. I have yet to find a visit like this where the individual or the family has not been genuinely appreciative of my taking the time to care for someone away from the office. To the patient and family, it shows that you care For me, it is just part of the role we have.

FROM THE EDITOR

Recently, we had to dig a new well. We were without water for a couple days. Our choices were to repair the existing well or drill a new one. Because the previous owner had chosen to build an addition over the original well, repair would mean creating a large hole in our family room floor, tearing up the carpet, repairing the well, fixing the hole, cleaning the mess from having muddy, rusty pipes in our family room and replacing the carpet. After that, we would still have a relatively inaccessible well underneath the family room.

We chose to dig a new well.

When the salesman got me to sign the papers, he pretty much expected payment. Now the cost of a new well is more than what a new car cost when I was a kid. But there was really no apology or sense of empathy on his part. The implication was that if we were not able or ready to pay, that was OK, they just wouldn't dig.

One of the local municipalities recently changed their vision coverage from a vision care plan, whose 3 letter acronym you would readily recognize, to another plan, managed by optometric colleagues in a state neighbor to Ohio, also with a 3 letter acronym. When the employees whose families we had seen for years realized the change meant we were not on the provider panel, they begged us to join. A gracious letter of invitation was sent by the new plan, inviting us to become part of their panel.

We looked at the plan. We discovered quickly that their reimbursement to me would be less than Medicaid (welfare) here in Ohio. We chose not to join the plan.

As I spoke to the Vice-President for Provider Relations at the new company, I explained we would not be joining due to their insultingly low reimbursement levels. And I asked why it was that our own optometric colleagues managed a plan with such low reimbursement levels. He explained simply that enough doctors are willing to accept the low reimbursement to handle the needs of their subscribers. Until there were not enough doctors on the panel to handle their needs, they would not make a significant change in reimbursement.

Recently, I learned that this employee group is discontinuing their relationship with the new company, citing the company's inability (in part) to add providers of the employee group's choice. They are returning to their original plan.

I use these two stories to illustrate this point. We should not make apologies about setting fees in a way to make a profit and provide a living to ourselves and our employees. I am absolutely not suggesting unfairly overcharging patients. I, like many of you, provide some exams at no cost to people who can not afford care.

It is also clear that third party payers will not see a need to reimburse us at an appropriate level so long as we continue to accept low reimbursement. Each of us must make our own individual decision, but I would suggest that we have worked hard and long in education and practice and should expect reasonable reimbursements. Think about it.

FROM THE EDITOR

A story is told of two fellows who left the small town where they had lived their entire lives and headed for better opportunities for life in the big city. Each traveled separately, and as they approached the city, each inquired about people in the big city of a man they met on their way.

“How were the people in the town you come from?" the man asked the traveler back. The first traveler replied, “The best you could imagine, they were always doing things for other people, very pleasant, happy, giving, always a kind word for a stranger. I will miss many of them very much. It was hard to make the decision to leave.” The man told the traveler, “And so you will find the people in the city." The traveler continued on his way encouraged.

As the second traveler approached the city, the man asked the traveler the same question, “How were the people in the town you came from?” The second traveler explained, “I could not wait to get out of that town! People were rude, never would help you, and always grouchy. I will not miss a one of them.” The man told the traveler, “And so you will find the people in the city.” The traveler continued on his way depressed.

While it would appear the man gave conflicting information to the travelers, he was really sharing wisdom. He understood that, to a great extent, our perception of the world and people depends on our own attitude.

This fact was recently presented to me in a new form during the Ohio Optometric Association's Leadership Day. The world-famous Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle (I just recently heard of it) applies four simple principles to the workplace and in doing so, creates an exciting and enjoyable experience for their customers who are buying fish. One of the principles is “Choose your attitude," from the book Fish! by Lundin, Paul, and Christensen. The premise is pretty simple, we can choose to be happy or miserable in much of what we do.

So, how about you? Do you choose a positive, Can Do attitude with your patients and staff each day? Or do you choose to let insurers and unhappy people get the better of you?

Your patients and staff deserve your best. Begin each day with a conscious decision to be your best and to do your best. You will make a great impact on those around you.

Dr. Jeffrey A. Myers ('84) Editor-in-Chief

FROM THE EDITOR

As I sometimes do, I recently had an optometry student observe in my office. The student was bright, and eager to learn anything and everything about patient care and the business side of practice. It is tough to teach all this in an afternoon.

We saw a patient who had been in the practice since before I bought it. I took the opportunity to review the entire record, specifically reviewing the correspondence between the previous doctor and some ophthalmology consultants when the patient was quite young. This correspondence was from the late 1970's.

The student observed a letter in the record that was in an unfamiliar format. The paper was thinner than normal letterhead, a translucent paper, and blue ink, rather smudgy. The student asked what this letter was, why it was not on letterhead. Rarely am I taken entirely by surprise or caught off-guard by a comment, but I was this time. The student had never seen a carbon copy of a letter.

Now for those of you who may not know what I am talking about, I'll explain. In the days before word processors and the ability to print a second copy of a letter with the touch of a button, we used typewriters. Most had no memory. So, if a copy of the letter was desired, the typist would use a piece of carbon paper between the sheet of letterhead and a piece of thinner paper, often called onionskin paper. As the typist would type the letter on the letterhead, the carbon paper would create an exact duplicate on the onionskin paper. The original would be sent and the copy would be filed.

I was taken aback simply by the fact that someone in their early to mid-20's might never have seen a carbon copy. But as I thought about it, for the last 10 years or so, the entire time this student had been producing reports that might have needed a second copy, word processing has been available. And so it is reasonable that this student may not have dealt with carbon paper and carbon copies. Even the Department of Veterans Affairs has now moved to electronic records and begun the process to eliminate carbon copies.

So what's the point? There are aspects of practice that continually change. The way we record, the testing battery we perform, the technology we use, are all examples. As we spend more years in practice, we will recognize more of these changes. Most seem to be an improvement.

One thing that will not change is our responsibility to care for people, to do our best, and to improve the visual performance of patients. As we begin a new year, let's recommit to being and doing the best for our patients. They deserve it.

Dr. Jeffrey A. Myers ('84) Editor-in-Chief

Editorial Comments

Recently, I attended a national conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I share two dining experiences with you.

The first was at a national restaurant chain; one of those we would call “casual dining'. One that has a variety of food, sandwiches, steaks, seafood, pastas, and a bar. I arrived on a Friday night about 5 pm. The place was essentially empty. It took awhile for a hostess to greet and seat me. Then it took several minutes for the waitress to find me. Her greeting was, “Oh, I didn't even know you were here.” The meal was slow to come and was adequate, but not great. My drink glass was not refilled even after asking. So the food was adequate, and service was lacking. Total bill with a tip: about $14.00.

The second was Saturday noon. Close to the convention hotel is the Reading Terminal Market. I had visited it at the Academy meeting in 2001 and decided to stop there to have lunch. The Market is exactly that, an indoor market with fresh produce, seafood, meat, poultry, flowers, cookies, and ice cream. A wide variety of vendors offered meals at their counters. These included a sandwich counter, Asian dining, Philly steaks, an oyster bar, a salad bar, and the Down Home Diner.

Nestled among Beiler's Baker, Fisher's Soft Pretzels and Ice Cream, and Dienner's Bar-B-Q Chicken was the family-owned Dutch Eating Place. It looked like it was worth a try. The special was ham loaf, with green beans and mashed potatoes. I ordered it with a drink. In less than 45 seconds, both were in front of me. Two large balls of ham loaf, and a substantial portion of the sides. The ham loaf was extraordinary, sweet and fresh. The potatoes were from scratch, and I imagine the green beans were fresh. The food was excellent and service was great. Total bill with a generous tip: under $10.00.

Now, my purpose in telling this story is not to make the editor's column into a food review column. Rather, I would make this point. The folks at the Dutch Eating Place were relying on the quality of the food and service to continue to make a livelihood. They have staked their claim as a provider of quality food and service in the Reading Terminal Market. Each day, they have to build their reputation and live up to it. The folks I met at the national chain are just working a job. If they don't measure up today, there are other places to find a job.

The Dutch Eating Place is a lot like our practices. We have staked our claim to provide quality vision care to our communities. And each day, we have to build and preserve our reputation for caring for our patients. High quality of service and a caring attitude is what we provide, day in and day out. It is not just a job; it is what we do.

Dr. Jeffrey A. Myers ('84) Editor-In-Chief

Editorial Comments

In the physical world, it has been observed that the only constant is change. The Greek philosopher Heraclitus observed this in the 5th century BC in a variety of ways.

We observe this in our practices as new technology or new observations regarding diagnosis and treatment of disease are noted. Whether the new technology is a new piece of equipment used to measure something else, or new materials for spectacle or contact lens, it requires a change of our paradigm in considering and offering options to our patients. We must learn about something new and share it with others. And there can be some discomfort in making the transition for our staffs and ourselves. We have observed this in our practice in recent months as we have added new instrument technology.

When new observations about disease are noted, it can totally change the way in which we diagnose and manage a disease. For example, the implications of pachymetry's effects on tonometry create a whole new consideration in the diagnosis of the glaucoma patient. Those folks we have monitored as "ocular hypertensives” for years may be true “normals," who happen to have thicker than normal corneas. We may have misclassified them as a result of an incomplete measurement calculation. Alternatively, those folks we have identified as 'normal tension glaucoma' may really be glaucoma patients who happen to have thinner than normal corneas. Again, they have been misclassified as a result of an incomplete measurement calculation.

The college is not exempt from change. Last month, I joined other faculty and staff and friends of Dr. Schoessler in recognizing and thanking him for his years of service to the college, especially as Dean. The change offers him new opportunities in life, though these changes will take him from day-to-day contact with the profession. Thank you John, for your leadership and friendship.

Over the next months, Dr. Karla Zadnik will serve as the interim Dean until the arrival of Dr. Mel Shipp. This will be a change for the college. This will be the first Dean not appointed from within the college. New ideas and new methods of administration may occur. That is change; change is a constant, and not to be feared. We look forward to making this change be an ally for the college and the profession. Join me in welcoming Dr. Shipp to the college this summer.

Dr. Jeffrey A. Myers ('84) Editor-in-Chief

From the Editor

My youngest daughter is now in her senior year of high school. So, part of our summer last year was spent considering and visiting colleges for her to attend. Her natural talent and love for art, including drawing, painting, vocal performance, instrumental performance, and dramatic performance have led us to consider several of the art and design schools.

But, our first “shakedown” college visit was to The Ohio State University. My feeling was that it would give us a chance to see how one school does the “visit thing” and would give us a basis for comparison. So, in July and August, we visited OSU and 5 art and design schools in the Midwest and on the East Coast.

At each school, we attended an information/orientation session and had a campus tour. At 3 of the art schools, my daughter did a portfolio review. In most of these cases, we were making a specific trip to see the school. Unlike going to OSU, which is a short drive for us, most of these were multi-day trips. It was the school's opportunity to sell us on the idea of coming to their school, to show off their strengths, to court us, if you will.

Hands down, the best orientation/information session was at our alma mater. Frankly, only one other school was close. OSU has this down to an art. It is a one-hour PowerPoint presentation by a student that includes still photos, video and animation to sell OSU. The message is that even though OSU is huge (it is), most undergraduate student's experience is within a few blocks of the Oval. Additionally, they point out that the large size can be a benefit in the diversity of course offerings. The young man giving the presentation wore a tie. And each participant received a candy buckeye at the end of the presentation, a nice touch. The campus tour basically circled the main part of campus, showing housing, dining, classrooms, and landmarks. And they then paid for our parking.

While she will probably not attend OSU, we really felt like we were being courted. I left the presentation ready to come back! Contrast that with attitudes at other schools that they were doing us a favor just to acknowledge our presence, being left at the end of the campus tour several blocks from the starting point, and 25 minute information sessions that start 15 minutes late (after traveling 400 miles). All these for schools 2-3 times the cost of OSU.

I guess if I am going to purchase a college education anywhere at any price today, I would like to be wooed a little, courted a little, and cared about a little. You can take pride and satisfaction in the fact that our alma mater works at this process conscientiously. They do it the right way and make good use of prospective student's time. Maybe that's why they continue to be one of the largest.

Dr. Jeffrey Myers ('84) BuckEYE Editor

 

Magazine cover photos from 2005 to 2006

Select an editoral from the headlines below:

From the Editor

Unless you are color-deficient and have a best corrected visual acuity of Hand Motion OU (in which case you would not be reading these words), you have noticed a change in the design of the BuckEYE newsletter. This is the first issue to be published in full-color (4-color for those who are printing purists). The paper is a heavier weight. And the graphic design now rivals any other professional alumni publication, inside or outside the profession, in the country. It is the culmination of a large amount of eff ort on the part of your newsletter staff to consider what could be done, and make it happen.

Your newsletter staff spent a fair amount of time over the winter reviewing other alumni publications, picking the best of the best ideas, and consolidating them into a plan. We used the text from the Winter 2005 issue to create mock-ups of what could be done in a color format. Th e proposals were then presented to the senior administrative faculty and to the Optometry Alumni & Friends Board. The response from each was a resounding ‘Do it’.

Getting to this point was not an individual eff ort at all. Th anks to Dean Shipp for his encouragement to make this happen. Th anks to the all the members of the newsletter staff including Robert Newcomb (OD’71,MPH); Barbara Fink (OD,MS’85,PhD’87); and Karen Greene. Also thanks to the College Administration and the Alumni Association offi cers for their unwavering support and encouragement.

The real work to make this idea come alive and become real is the result of the skills and talents of Kerri McTigue. Kerri came to the College last year as part of the Instructional Media Center focusing on the graphic design aspect. She and Karen Stedfeld make a great team in the IMC.

Kerri earned her BFA in Illustration from the Columbus College of Art and Design. She was able to take our ideas and produce something really incredible in a very short period of time. We are very excited to have her on our team.

Our expectation is that the new design will be more in keeping with the character of our College and can serve as something of which each one of our alumni may be proud. Your team has been privileged to be a part of this process.

On a personal note, several of you mentioned to me that you enjoyed the last editorial on college searching with my daughter. Since then, she has successfully graduated from high school, and has been accepted to two prestigious art and design schools. Jennifer has received scholarships in excess of what my entire college education cost. We are pleased she will be attending the Columbus College of Art and Design this fall.

We hope you enjoy the new design.

Jeffrey A. Myers (OD‘84)

BuckEYE Editor

The 5th century B.C. Greek philosopher Heraclitus is often credited with the origination of the thought, “the only constant is change”. One doesn’t have to look far to find the truth in this statement. The appearance of that infant in your family, the maturation of that college freshman in just a few weeks, clothing and fashion, information technology are all examples of this powerful change. Recently, I heard this prediction: The overwhelming majority of the folks in kindergarten this year will have jobs and careers that do not even exist now. That’s some real change!

When I was privileged to serve as president of the Ohio Optometric Association, I was expected to choose a catchy phrase to use as slogan for the year. The one I chose was the title of this editorial, “Making Change Your Ally”. My thought was and still is, that is we recognize that change is constant, then we should embrace it and use it, not fear its presence, and become better as a result of it. Some have even suggested that if we are not moving forward, we are moving backward, referring to the thought that if we are stable, the world will change around us, and bypass us.

Alan C. Kay is a visionary scientist with Apple Computer, Inc. who worked for Xerox in the early 1970’s. When challenged by Xerox executives about what would happen in the future, Kay fired back at them, “Look, the best way to predict the future is to invent it.” Kay understood about change. He also understood that we could, in some measure, use that change to create the future we chose.

Beginning this year, our American Optometric Association has begun a series of 3 summits over an 18 month period to attempt to predict what our profession will look like in the year 2020. Kevin L. Alexander, (OD’76, MS’77, PhD’79), one of our distinguished alumni, who is serving as Vice-President of the AOA this year, is a co-chair of this event. Ultimately, the goal of these summits is to follow Kay’s advice and create the future of the profession. This is a landmark series of events that will be invaluable to the profession over the next years.

As you read in this issue about the Raise the Roof Campaign, you will see how the planners have attempted to predict the future for the space by making it modular and flexible to address the changing needs in the decades to come. As we are planning for expansion in our own office, we have considered how we will use the space in the future, trying to integrate how space will be arranged for future, evolving technology.

So how about your practice? How about your life? We recognize and know that change is constant. If we are not moving forward, we will be bypassed. Our profession and our college are setting a worthy example for all of us. Your patients and your family deserve the best you have to offer. What are you doing today to make change your ally?

Jeffrey A. Myers (OD‘84)
BuckEYE Editor

From the Editor

Late last year, my wife and I, along with a silent partner, purchased a 160-acre piece of land in Pickaway County, the county just south of Columbus. It’s about 10 minutes from the office, private and secluded. In time, we will build a home there. For now, we are simply beginning the journey and adventure of new experiences, including registering ownership with the Farm Service Administration, and finding a farmer to farm it.

A new vocabulary has come into our understanding revolving around agriculture. Terms like ‘farming on the halves’, ‘cash renter’, ‘waterways’, ‘bow season’, ‘4 WD’, ‘540 PTO’, ‘category 1 3-point hitch’ & ‘joystick valve’ have new meaning and significance to us. Also, deciding whether a pick-up truck with a 6 ½ foot bed is big enough or whether we really need the 8 foot bed, and whether a 4- or 5-foot loader is big enough for the tractor are new considerations not previously pondered.

So, it came in February that it was time to purchase my first pick-up truck (hold the gun-rack). I used the internet to search for just the right truck by model, mileage, price, transmission, etc. Narrowing the pool to 4 trucks, I visited 4 dealerships on a Saturday. I felt a bit like Goldilocks: the first truck wouldn’t release the emergency brake when I released the clutch for the test drive; the second truck was sold to someone else right after I test drove it; the third truck was a little pricey and noisy with its custom exhaust; and the fourth truck was just right.

I arrived at the fourth dealership at 4:30 pm with a closing time of 5:00 pm. When I asked if I could take it for a test drive, I was told that they had already locked the vehicles and really only let folks take them this late if they were serious about a vehicle. When I shared that I would not have driven 40 miles to see it if I wasn’t serious, I got the test drive.

After my wife looked at the truck on Monday, we decided to buy. (The two magic words of a successful marriage are ‘Yes, dear’. For both sexes.) We chose to finance the truck, so I called my banker, dropped by about 1 pm to sign the application (not fill out, simply sign) and was approved by 5 pm that afternoon.

This experience underscores three points that are good reminders for us:

  1. A web presence is necessary in today’s competitive environment. While choosing an optometrist is far different from buying a used pick-up truck, a web presence can tell potential and existing patients much about you and allow them to differentiate you from your competition.
  2. Don’t close the shop before quitting time. Often, we and our staff are excited about what we are to do after the end of business. Often, I have seen the last hour of the day be the most productive financially. While it is the ‘same stuff , different day’ for us, it may be the first time for the patient or the only time in several years that they are visiting your office. Be there for them.
  3. Keep offering service to your patients. I was very happy to not have to fill out a credit application at the bank. The bank staff did it for me. I appreciate that service. Many of your patients appreciate your service, too and are willing to pay for it. Provide them top-notch service.

We will be working on a web presence later this year, after doubling our space this spring. And the truck? It’s a 1997 Ford F150 XLT 4WD long bed with towing package, about 85K miles. Now, on to a tractor.

Jeffrey A. Myers (OD‘84)
BuckEYE Editor

From the Editor

Not long ago, I had the pleasure of seeing a new patient. A contact lens wearer, in her early 20’s, we talked a bit about her new baby. Then, I noticed it. Right there in her social history. No doubt about it. Clear as a bell. She works as the receptionist for a local ophthalmologist. One who dispenses eyewear and contact lenses. Well, I couldn’t figure out what brought her to our office. Maybe she was on an information gathering mission. Maybe she was looking to leave her employment soon, and wanted to establish a new provider relationship. Frankly, I couldn’t figure it out. Later in the day, one of my staff enlightened me. This patient got a better deal on her eyewear by using her vision care plan in our office.

Now before you hit me with issues over the poor reimbursement of this vision care plan (the same one the vast majority of you are also on), consider this point. Should she have had to pay anything for her eyewear and services in her employer’s office? My emphatic answer would be ‘no’!

Additionally, I had the opportunity to discuss with some colleagues how they chose to distribute bonuses received from their local optical lab. Most said they were planning to keep the bonuses for themselves individually. Some of these were bonuses of substantial value.

Our office policy has always been that we want our staff to wear and use the latest methods of correction in spectacles and contact lenses. We provide that to them as a benefit of employment. Additionally, when faced with the distribution of substantial bonuses from our local optical lab, we chose to share those bonuses among all staff . Everyone is an integral part of the team, whether they made the recall phone call, greeted the patient, took the history, examined the patient, helped in the selection of eyewear, or filed the insurance claim. Any step not performed properly would not allow us to receive this bonus.

Now, I can hear some of you already. “Now, Jeff , it’s OK to point the finger about poor service at someone else, but now you’re telling me how to spend my money. Do you know how much a pair of eyewear costs these days? And to do it for the entire staff ? That cost is just too great! Besides I took the risk and have the responsibility for the practice financially. I should get the bonus.” Really…

That’s probably exactly what that ophthalmologist thought. He thought of taking care of his staff as a cut out of his profit, rather than an investment in his people. He would rather have a little more cash in his pocket than have a staff that is loyal to his office knowing that he has invested in them. When you really compare the cost of eyewear and contact lenses to satisfied staff members (who can make you or break you every day), the cost is insignificant.

Can you imagine the receptionist answering the phone? A patient asks, “Tell me about Doctor’s eye exam.” She answers, “I really cannot tell you about Doctor’s exam, because I get my care at Dr. Myers & Keller’s office down the street. I can tell you they do a great job.” Oops. Or maybe she answers this question, “Where did you get that great-looking eyewear? I suppose you got it here,” with “Oh no, they have an excellent selection and I got a better deal at Dr. Myers and Keller’s office.” Is this how you want your staff to respond?

Does including the staff in these kinds of benefits help? Well, I’m no Human Resource expert, but we now have 6 employees, whose years of service range from 2 to 24 years in our office, with an average of almost 11 years in our office. Currently, we have 2 employees who left for various reasons and have returned. And I can assure that when those bonuses arrived last month in the mail, they were all flabbergasted by the amount, and appreciative of the fact that we shared.

Colleagues, we are blessed with a profession and an income that is well above average. With those blessings goes a stewardship to share that income with others. Whether it is caring for the homeless or donating to your favorite charity, share some of your blessings with others. And in the office, overcome the temptation to not share with your staff . They will make you or break you, every single day.

Jeffrey A. Myers (OD‘84)
BuckEYE Editor

From the Editor

During my travels over the last year, many of you have asked about how the farm is, and did we get a tractor, and how are the crops. You have been very kind to show interest. Since it is unlikely that most of you will make it to the farm and see the tractor in person, we have brought pictures.

The one on the upper left is my first tractor, an Allis-Chalmers, powered by feet and pedal action. It is actually my 6th birthday and was a birthday gift. On the upper right is my second tractor, a 1970 Ford 3000 with Bush Hog front loader, and a 540 PTO 6 foot finish mower. Who would have known that 41 years after I got my first tractor, I would get my second tractor? Enjoy the pictures and thanks for asking about the farm.

In September, I had the opportunity to attend the College Alumni weekend. Joyce and I had bratwurst in the rain behind the College, walked up to the Skull Session, where The Ohio State University Marching and Alumni Bands dwarfed the Northern Illinois University Marching Band. Where else can you go and see 12,000 people come to a band practice?

We walked to the stadium and enjoyed the opening game of what has all the promise of a championship season. The thrill of the initial drum cadence coming down the ramp into Ohio Stadium, being up 28-0 5 seconds into the second quarter, 4 different players scoring touchdowns, a quad script Ohio, a 300 yard day for Troy Smith all contributed to what was a truly fun and enjoyable day.

Recently, we also had the opportunity to attend The Ohio State University Alumni Awards Banquet in Columbus and join in celebrating the achievements of 2 of our high achieving alumni, Dr. Lois Bing (BS’48) and Dr. Sandra Wang-Harris (OD’97). It was truly a well-planned evening, recognizing our alumni and 14 other high achieving alumni from across the university. Each honoree’s story was incredibly inspirational. If you heard all the stories, you might have had the same reaction as I did and ask yourself; so, what am I doing with my life?

These two experiences gave me a great sense of ‘community’ with our alma mater. Not that I haven’t felt a part of the university in the past, but I really felt a unique closeness through these experiences. Having grown up in the shadow of Ohio Stadium, and living in Franklin County the majority of my life, I cannot imagine rooting for another college football team. I wouldn’t want to. How can people really get excited about being a Seminole, or a Longhorn, or a Bruin, or a Beaver, or (God help them) a Wolverine? (Sorry, Dr. Shipp). I just don’t get it.

As we enter the holiday season, most of us will have the opportunity to be part of ‘community’. Perhaps, as a part of a faith community, a practice community, or a family community. Members of the community will often come and go; it is rarely static. Take time, as you participate in these communities to appreciate the people you come into contact with. Help them to feel they belong to the community, that they are integral to the community. Appreciate all members of the community, young and old. Let others’ memories of you be positive and be an example of the sense of community. Remember, the community is never static, it is always changing.

Many blessings to each of you this holiday season.

Jeffrey A. Myers (OD‘84)
BuckEYE Editor

 

Magazine cover photos from 2007 to 2008

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From the Editor

Some of you know that I grew up in a funeral home. That experience gives one a different perspective on death. Death becomes a fact of life, a way of life. The frequency with which I saw death early in life greatly exceeds the deaths that most folks are close to through their entire life. ‘Normal’ deaths, deaths of young folks, traffic accidents, motorcycle accidents, suicides, homicides….some are seen as blessings, others are inexplicable and inconsolable.

Several of the folks who are listed in our obituaries this issue are folks I had a connection to. Space does not allow us to list a full obituary for each alumnus. Neil Bailey (BS’47, PhD’54) does have a brief obituary as a tribute to his outstanding contributions to the college and the profession. While I did not know Shirley Daniel (OD’70) personally, I was aware of her failing health and kept in touch with her situation through mutual friends. I served on Ohio Optometric Association committees with Charlie Snide (BS’51, OD’77) and shared the stage with him the night he was recognized as OOA Optometrist of the Year as I was recognized as the OOA Young Optometrist of the Year. He was a Buckeye through and through.

Few deaths surprise me. Prior to this fall, the last was probably Bill Quelette (OD’71). Those of you with good observation skills will notice the name of John Hlavaty (OD’84), and recognize him as a classmate of mine. After 22 years, the first of my classmates passed last fall. Like many of the obituaries we list, only those of us who knew John will know anything about him. I want to share a bit about him.

John passed unexpectedly. He had been called to the hospital by his brother to be at his father’s side as his father was failing. John did not make it to the hospital, dying of cardiovascular issues while driving. His father passed later. I can only imagine the pain experienced by his family.

John was a true scientist, one who asked questions and listened to answers, one who wanted to understand, one who, like most of us, wanted to do the best for our patients. He was House Steward for E Psi E (the first, if I am not mistaken) and took the responsibility seriously, watching food costs and managing cooks. When I would see him at continuing education, we would speak briefly. He would often ask for opinions and thoughts about current professional topics. He was private and quiet.

So, why the talk about death and a classmate that few of you knew? To make this point: it is easy in our professional and jam-packed lives to not find time or make time to spend time with family members or friends or colleagues. We just don’t take time to really get to know them, to understand them, to share and invest in those relationships. Investing in relationships enriches our lives. It connects us with one another. It is our network of life.

We have been placed in one another’s lives to care for one another and support one another. Take time in the next months to visit a family member or friend. Or call a colleague to go to lunch or supper, in town or at a meeting. Spend time listening and sharing. Invest in them. Your life will be enriched.

Jeffrey A. Myers (OD‘84)
BuckEYE Editor

From the Editor

Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) painted what is arguably the finest work of art in the history of man, Mona Lisa. His paintings were trend-setting in their time, using new techniques and methods to portray an image in a powerful way. His interests were diverse and many. His eff orts in the areas of architecture, engineering, geology, hydraulics, and drawing of the human anatomy were years ahead of his time. His drawings of parachutes and flying machines truly resembled the later inventions of the 19th and 20th centuries. He was undoubtedly one of the brilliant minds of the ages.

Mona Lisa was painted by da Vinci between 1503 and 1506. There is a level of dispute about who the subject is. But there is no denying the intrigue in her eyes, her smile, her hands. Da Vinci actually enjoyed the painting so much that he kept it until the end of his life. It passed through a number of private hands before coming to Louvre in Paris in 1797.

So what about the Mona Lisa effect? Is that some obscure thing you learned about in school and have promptly forgotten?

What if da Vinci had kept painting for another month on Mona Lisa? another 6 months? another year? It would have been an entirely different painting. Maybe it would have been a better painting, but can you honestly tell me how you could improve on this masterpiece? Indeed, it is as likely that the painting would have lost value and become a lesser painting with more brushstrokes. Bottom line – Leonardo knew when to stop. I call this the Mona Lisa effect.

The Mona Lisa effect (knowing that further eff ort will only serve to worsen a situation or knowing when it is time to stop) applies to so many facets of life. More often than not, we ignore the Mona Lisa effect. Maybe when we overindulge in food or drink at a meal. Perhaps when we are in Las Vegas and up $500 playing blackjack and go home with less money than we brought. Or we continue to invest in a relationship that is not healthy or beneficial to us.

It applies to practice, too. When that 46 year old comes in for their first follow-up visit with bifocal contact lens, and says, “These are terrific, I am doing great,” listen to Leonardo. Further eff ort will make things worse. When you are making a case presentation and it is clear the patient has accepted your recommendation, listen to Leonardo. More talk will not convince them more.

When you have remade eyewear for the third time and the patient says they want their money back, just listen to Leonardo. It is a situation likely to not be salvaged.

The Mona Lisa effect is really another thought for wisdom, something far more important than book learning. Look around your life. Look for examples of the Mona Lisa effect. I expect you will find them abundantly.

Jeffrey A. Myers (OD‘84)
BuckEYE Editor

From the Editor

Earlier this year, my eldest daughter was married. Her choice was to go to Jamaica and be married on the beach. Often, the biggest decision the father of the bride really has is what to wear. Because this was going to be a small beach wedding, I am thinking that a sport coat, maybe even a new one, (under $200) will be just fi ne for this event. Well, you can bet if I am writing about it, that didn’t happen.

I had asked several times about the attire for the wedding. Finally, about 10 days prior to our departure, I insisted we do something. So, my wife, daughter and I go shopping. The first two department stores did not have anything that worked. ‘Maybe a new suit is what you need,’ I am told. We end up at a men’s clothing store.

My daughter has a relationship with the salesperson (I think I am in trouble), because they had bought the groom’s suit there. He shakes my hand, and introduces himself. He asks about what we are looking to purchase and if there is an event. He asks what I do professionally. Turns out he has glaucoma and is treated by a colleague. He has me try several suits, narrowing the choices to a group he thinks fits well. Then he allows us to choose. ‘We’ decide that I need two suits. (I really think I am in trouble) So, he measures me and gets the suits fi t properly.

What I didn’t see happening was the clothing gnomes scurrying about the store finding the accessories that would go with the suits. When I had put my own clothes back on, I was escorted to a table where an array of shoes, socks, belts, suspenders, shirts and ties were displayed; all that perfectly match the suits ‘we’ had selected. No pressure was made to purchase anything by the salesperson; no, that’s what family is for. (I know I am in trouble)

Needless to say, I spent well in excess of $200; which exceeded my expectation and didn’t make me very happy. When the suits were picked up, the salesperson had me try everything on and checked the fi t. He was not satisfied with the pressing job that had been done and touched it up on the spot. Ultimately, the suits looked great and I have worn them numerous times.

My suit(s) purchase is an example of a ‘guided purchase’. An eyewear purchase also fits this category. Few things in life anymore are truly guided purchases. You might think of others. They fit the definition if they are purchases that we infrequently make, we really should have a guide along with us to make the purchase, and it is truly customized just for us.

The parallels are there between the suit and an eyewear purchase. Connecting with the purchaser to know their needs, guiding them to a choice that fits them, informing the purchaser of the options available to them, being certain that all is correct at the time of product delivery, and that confirming comment by the salesperson, “This looks great on you” are elements common to both experiences. While I spent more than I had planned, I received value and was pleased with my purchase.

That caring attitude and desire to do the best thing for the patient is the attitude we need to convey. Long after the bill has been paid, our desire is that the patient feels that they received an excellent pair of eyewear, and the best service that could be provided. Guide them diligently toward what is best for them. Even if they spend a bit more than they expected, they will recognize it as service excellence in the long run.

Jeffrey A. Myers (OD‘84)
BuckEYE Editor

From the Editor

If you’re going to buy a car, it is unlikely you would buy it without taking it for a test drive. If you are going to get married, it is unlikely you would marry that person sight unseen in our North American culture. Before you buy clothes, it is likely you try them on. Even if you ordered clothes through the mail, the first thing you do when they arrive is to try them on.

So, why is it that we sometimes recommended changes in eyewear to patients without providing them a demonstration of what the change will do for them?

Demonstrating the patient’s eyewear change can go a long way in determining whether a patient needs to make a change in their eyewear. Sometimes, in the busyness of practice, we simply say, “There’s a small change in your prescription, I recommend you update your eyewear.” Often patients are left with a nagging question, “Is it worth my financial investment to make this change?”

Sometimes the change is significant, like a 1.50 diopter myopic shift on a 14 year old. While this change may seem like a slam-dunk to us, demonstrating the change to the patient in front of the parents solidifies the need and the substantial improvement in vision that at the patient will experience. Likewise, we have all had adults who have had similar changes who believe they’re seeing perfectly. A demonstration in this situation helps them to understand how much better they could be seeing.

The real value comes when the changes are small, and we are not really certain whether the patient will appreciate the improvement we think we can offer. The demonstration is crucial to these people, who might have a +0.25 sphere change or a -0.50 cylinder change. Demonstrating the change to these patients can go a long way in helping us to know whether the change will be accepted and should be recommended. More often than not, in my experience, patients accept these changes and are delighted to be able to see better. A rejection may be based on financial issues or the patient’s pre-existing belief that they are seeing well, but their involvement in the decision will make them feel as if they’re participating in their care more fully.

Conversely, some patients have what we would perceive to be a substantial prescription. Patients with a -0.75 -1.75 x 170 prescription will often reject a near prescription, even though we would expect the uncorrected astigmatism to provide overriding blur. Demonstrating a prescription at near to these patients, and hearing their rejection, will save you their belief that you prescribed glasses unnecessarily.

The demonstration can be done in a variety of ways. Sometimes I simply use the phoropter, showing the patient their current refraction, and comparing it to the prescription of their old spectacles. Sometimes I use trial lenses, demonstrating them over the patient’s current prescription, or in the event of the patient not currently wearing any correction, simply over their eyes. We also use +/-flippers, from +/- 0.25 to +/-1.25 to demonstrate these changes (also very handy for demonstrating changes on contact lens patients).

Regardless of how a demonstration is done, patients will appreciate the ability to see what it is you can do for them. If it is an improvement to them, they will be excited to update their eyewear and accept the recommendations. If it does not provide an improvement, you can make the recommendation to not make a change with confidence that the change would not improve their visual life. Show them what you can do for them, they will love you for it.

Jeffrey A. Myers (OD‘84)
BuckEYE Editor

From the Editor

Well, the time has come to look for a new truck; to upgrade from the 11 year Ford F150. And as you might expect, there is a story to tell in terms of customer service.

I had narrowed my choices to 3 well-known brands, and my wife and I went to test drive them (most of us wouldn’t marry someone without meeting them and I don’t buy vehicles without test driving them). We arrived at the first dealership in a light rain, and a salesman was with us in about 2 minutes. We explained we would like to test drive the truck. Before we test drove the truck, he took a few minutes to explain some of the features of this truck. Sometimes, I got lost in the mumbo-jumbo of the technical jargon, but he took the time to explain the benefit of each of these features to me. For example, larger discs in the brakes meant shorter braking distances when I needed it. I can understand the benefit, and decide for myself whether that is a good thing or not. We test drove the truck with the most bells and whistles on the lot. After all, after you drive the best, why would you want anything less?

It was raining harder at the second dealership. We looked up and down the rows for 10-15 minutes before a salesperson arrived. We explained we wanted a test drive. He was happy to get the keys. He told us that the company was making great deals on the trucks we were looking at. He even told us how to scam the financing company to save some money. We test drove a work truck model that felt like tin, and we were not very impressed. It took almost 10 minutes to get the salesperson’s attention when we returned from the test drive, and he never mentioned a feature or a benefit of the truck, just that the prices were great.

It was a sunny day at the third dealership. We again spent 15 minutes looking at all their trucks, and actually had to go to the building to find a salesperson. He seemed to know little about the trucks, blaming the changes in the new model year. We test drove the truck (with few bells and whistles) and it was OK, until I switched into 4 wheel drive and was unable to get the truck out of 4 wheel drive easily. Not a selling point. When we returned, the salesperson spent more time away from the desk, checking on who knows what. He never explained a feature or benefit, but was quick to tell me that ‘they are making great deals, taking $8000 off the sticker.” I am sure the sales manager would love to know that he negotiated $8000 off the price before we even began negotiating.

What to learn from this? Most of us will purchase based upon the benefits to us, even if the price is higher. For example, it might be great to explain that an anti-reflection coating has 7 layers, is hydrophobic, and uses the latest technology available, but does that convince a patient they should have it? Probably not. But if you explain that this coating will decrease reflections and glare when you are on the computer and when driving at night, and that people will be able to see your eyes much more clearly, who would not want those benefits? And when you explain that today’s coatings are more durable than the original coatings, are very scratch resistant, and are under warranty for 12 months, most people will understand the benefits and accept your recommendation.

Ladies would not necessarily buy a blouse and gentlemen would not necessarily buy a suit because of the type of material, until they understand that the material will be more breathable and they will be cooler in the summer. And that the vertical stripes will make them look thinner. Those are benefits we all understand.

When talking to patients about your recommendations, talk about benefits, not just features. Believe it or not, most contact lens patients don’t know silicone hydrogel from Silly Putty. But they do understand the benefit of greater comfort at the end of the day, a lens that is easier to handle, and better long-term corneal health. Those are benefits we all understand.

Jeffrey A. Myers (OD‘84)
BuckEYE Editor

 

Magazine cover photos from 2009 - 2015

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From the Editor

As the holiday season fast approaches, here is a question for you: What is the most treasured gift another human has given to you?

Maybe it was a special tie, jewelry, car, book, art, or something related to a special interest of yours. I expect the short list would include things where someone went out of their way to select something special just for you. It might also include things where people gave a piece of themselves, like your child’s first pinch pot or handprint in plaster of Paris, a book bought for you with a special message from the author or the giver, a quilt made by someone, or a piece of art made for you. My wife would never give away the quilts her mother has made for her, nor would I give away my daughter’s watercolor that was a gift when she was in the 6th grade, or one of my mother’s needlepoints. But I think that the greatest gift one human can give to another is their time.

Not just the ‘Hey, how you doing?’ ‘Great, how about you?’ that we do with one another at a continuing education meeting, or at a social event. No, I’m talking about sitting down and listening to another person’s ideas and thoughts, their dreams and fears, and sharing your own ideas and thoughts, and maybe your dreams and fears. Today’s lifestyle for many is too hectic for that.

Recently, I was given 4 tickets to the Ohio State-Michigan State Men’s Hockey game. Now, I realize this is not the hottest ticket in town, but stay with me here. After calling five different folks who we thought might want to go with us, and going 0 for five, we called our great niece and nephew. Madison is eight years old, a typical first-born red-headed girl, who loves the attention from her great-uncle. Will is six years old, who has more hats that anyone I know, loves the beat of the music and knows more words to Buckeye songs than I do. Both are smart and polite, and according to their mom, were jumping for joy around the house when they found out they were going with us.

We have no grandchildren, so this is the closest we come. And we had a blast. They chattered all the way from home to Value City Arena. They loved the game, the band, the Script Ohio on ice (pretty cool if you haven’t seen it), not to mention the soda pop, pizza, and pretzels they had. And of course, a stop at the gift shop for a stuffed Brutus Buckeye for Will and a buckeye necklace and bracelet for Madison. They each thanked us multiple times.

And I’ll bet they loved having the undivided attention and time of an adult other than their parents. It was truly a joy and blessing for us. And their parents got a quiet dinner, too.

Spend some time this holiday season with others, to give a part of yourself, to be a little vulnerable, to listen to another’s hopes, dreams, and fears. For me, investing in others has always paid bigger dividends than I feel I have invested. I’ll bet you will find the same.

Jeffrey A. Myers (OD‘84)
BuckEYE Editor

From the Editor

The photo that accompanies the article this issue is not of me. I have enjoyed backpacking, but not rock climbing on sheer rock wall faces. The photo is of rock climbers just after the sun rose on them on the northern face of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. This ascent is almost 3600 feet straight up the sheer rock face; it often takes two to three days to accomplish. That means everything you need, and everything you produce in waste is carried with you for that time. These folks are less than 100 feet from the summit and probably had no idea we were photographing them. They probably presumed they were being watched, but they did not know by whom.

How about you? Who’s watching you? As a professional in your community, you are looked up to by many people, who might even admire you; they are watching you. As a parent (or grandparent), you are surrounded by younger folks who watch your every move and will likely copy the good ones and the bad ones. And the folks in your office, they watch you, too. The word is out regarding your demeanor on a daily basis, probably before you have even hung up your coat.

But do you invite people to watch you? Most of our professional lives are spent in examination rooms in low light with one other person. When was the last time someone watched what you really do on a day-to-day basis?

We routinely have our externs watch us the first couple of sessions they are in the office. It may be the first time in a couple of years these fourth year students have watched a practitioner do a complete exam. There are benefits to that; hearing the review of history, watching a refraction, hearing someone else’s instructions for a slit lamp or dilated fundus exam, as well as hearing and seeing how we might demonstrate a prescription change, or explaining the findings of the exam can all be opportunities for growth.

Our focus the last few months has been to invite each staff member into the examination room for S.O.D., (Staff Observation of the Doctors). Each staff member – front desk, techs, and opticians - observes four half days with each doctor, and has a brief report/evaluation to write at the completion. The response has been excellent. For the first time in our practice, the staff really has seen what the doctor does, what is said, and how it is said to the patient. Staff members have seen many of the same benefits the externs see and more.

Here are some comments from the evaluations:

  • I feel better prepared to answer patient questions about the examination procedures
  • Understanding the differences in the doctors’ personalities might help me to schedule a new patient with a doctor that might better match their personality and needs
  • Didn’t know that a patient could get a contact lens stuck on the eye
  • Amazing to see a 6 year old with a +8.00 bilateral prescription see easily for the first time
  • Seeing a lens implant for the first time and hearing the patient report that his cataract surgery gave him back his life was powerful
  • Seeing different types of cataracts for the first time
  • Understanding the difference that a small change in axis can make in a prescription
  • Neat to observe the rapport that the doctor develops with patients
  • Learned more about the many contact lens options there are
  • Seeing how toric contact lenses rotate on the eye
  • Observing the easier view with a dilated pupil helps me understand why we dilate
  • I have a better understanding of what the different instruments are used for
  • Great to watch the patient education of a newly diagnosed diabetic whose spectacle prescription had changed

I would dare say that none of these comments are a bad thing. In fact, I would offer that having your staff experience these things would have a positive effect on their interest level in their position, and their value to you in the way they care for your patients. Maybe it is time to invite your staff in to watch what you do.

Jeffrey A. Myers (OD‘84)
BuckEYE Editor

From the Editor

I celebrated my 50th birthday since I last visited with you. Officially, I am older than I have ever been before. I spent the day serving others, which was much better than being harassed by others about turning 50. The staff decorated the office the next day with black streamers and oodles of Silly String. They even coerced my mother to share a picture of me as a child that was enlarged to poster size for the front office. Fortunately, it was a tractor picture. Mom was quick to let me know that it was one of the least tame & least embarrassing pictures that could have been shared. Thanks, mom.

This birthday bothered me more than the rest. Why? Because I can no longer fool myself into believing I am in the first half of this life. I may still be, but it is unlikely. I have probably practiced more than half of my practice life, too.

What this really makes me look at is what Stephen Covey called “Leave a Legacy” in the principles of his book, First Things First. And to ask the question, “If you are at least half way through life, what type of legacy are you on-track to leave?” This question is not one that is usually answered by reviewing a curriculum vita. While the CV will give readers an idea of the course of your life, it is not usually the legacy. The legacy is the kind of stuff people will talk about, and the way they will describe and remember you when you are not around them or after you pass away.

They will use words like strong, passionate, driven, dull, boring, generous, visionary, athletic, caring, arrogant, short-tempered, stoic, wonderful with children, trustworthy, self-centered, never around, geeky, witty, & clever to describe a legacy, particularly if they knew you. If they didn’t know you, often they will focus on your accomplishments, not knowing if you stepped on, over, or with others to accomplish the goal.

Most likely, your legacy will be determined by how you treat people. Sometimes, that would give us a good legacy and sometimes, not so good. It is difficult to understand why one would intentionally treat others poorly, knowing that the legacy they leave would not be complimentary. You certainly know folks whose legacy is inspirational to you; others who you use as an example of the legacy not to be.

I can wish that my legacy might involve caring, fair, forward-thinking, passionate, generous, driven, family-focused… Maybe it will and maybe it won’t. The legacy continues to be written, by my actions each day. The tough news is that the majority of the writing of the legacy has already occurred for me.

What about you? How is your legacy coming along? One thing is certain; your legacy will be determined largely by what you invest in the people around you. And it will be built day by day by our actions.

Here’s to building a legacy worthy of inspiring others.

Jeffrey A. Myers (OD‘84)
BuckEYE Editor

Elizabeth Cockerill (OD/MS'09), Lindsay Hoffbuhr (OD'09), Jeff Myers (OD'84), and Joyce Myers (back to camera) at Convocation
Elizabeth Cockerill (OD/MS'09), Lindsay Hoffbuhr (OD'09), Jeff Myers (OD'84), and Joyce Myers (back to camera) at Convocation

From the Editor

Warren Buffet, ‘The Oracle of Omaha’, has often been described as the greatest investor of our time, in fact, of all time. His ownership and leadership of Berkshire Hathaway over the last 4-5 decades have taken original investors from $1000 to multimillion dollars over that period of time.

If you asked him today, at the age of 79, what single event allowed him to be as successful as he has been, it would not be the intense focus he has on business. It would not be growing up the son of a US Congressman. It would probably not be the wisdom he learned from Benjamin Graham. No, it would likely be the fact that he won the lottery.

Not the lottery you or your neighbors might play each week hoping to gain thousands or millions of dollars on the basis of plain dumb luck. Those odds are not to Warren’s liking. The lottery he would be talking about is the Ovarian Lottery.

In the exhaustive biographical tome, The Snowball, written by Alice Schroeder about Warren, he describes the Ovarian Lottery this way: Two identical twins, each with equal physical and mental abilities, were told that one would be born in the United States, and one in Bangladesh, and the one born in Bangladesh would pay no taxes. If you were one of the twins, what would you bid in order to be born in the United States? Even folks who think they could achieve everything on their own, would bid high to be born in the United States. His point is that the society in which we live has something to do with our opportunities for success, not just your inborn qualities.

An example of the implications of the Ovarian Lottery comes from a trip that Buffet took to China with Bill & Melinda Gates (Microsoft). On one day of the trip, they visited the Three Gorges Dam project. At one of the tributaries, Shennong Xi, they loaded into longboats that were poled and pulled up the river by river trackers. These river trackers were groups of ten men, who used ropes to drag each boat against the current up the river. Warren’s quote, “There could have been another Bill Gates among those men pulling our boat. They were born here, and they were destined to spend their lives tugging those boats the way they did ours. They didn’t have a chance. It was pure luck that we had a shot at the brass ring.”

At this time of year, regardless of the tumultuous times in which we live, it is important to realize that we won the lottery by being able to be in this country, whether born or immigrated. We need to remind ourselves how blessed we are. There is really no other country on earth where the opportunities exist as they do here. People, including some of our own colleagues, have risked their lives to be in this country. The next time you feel the need to complain about third party payers, or the need to demonstrate your competency, or that your favorite college team lost a game, ask yourself this question: Would you rather be in Bangladesh?

Jeffrey A. Myers (OD‘84)
BuckEYE Editor

Joyce Myers, Irvin Borish, and Jeff Myers (OD'84) at the Myers Lecture Series
Joyce Myers, Irvin Borish, and Jeff Myers (OD'84) at the Myers Lecture Series

From the Editor

Well, as you can see from the photograph below, a new chapter has begun in our lives. Isla Gracen Shoup was born at 3:34 am on January 26, 2010 via emergency Caesarian section.

Usually, I think all babies look pretty much the same. But, of course, Isla is different. She is beautiful and she is smarter than all the other kids her age. (Perhaps my bias is showing). As I write this, she is teaching herself to roll over.

As she was having difficulty being delivered, her dad, grandma, grandpa, uncle and aunt were all hanging out at the hospital. The decision for a C-section was made due to a concern about the possibility of the cord being wrapped around her neck or hooked on her shoulder preventing delivery. As she and her mom and dad went to the operating room, the rest of us were left in the birthing room with an anxious, almost empty feeling. The only thing we could do was continue to pray.

In those situations, time seems to take an eternity. The 20 minutes to get a report seemed like hours. Finally, we got a report that mom and baby were both fine. My son probably expressed the unspoken concern in the room for all of us; what would have happened in this situation 50 years ago? 100 years ago? 500 years ago? The truth is this: one or the other, or perhaps both, would not have survived.

So we value Isla and her mom a little more than we might have otherwise. And she started her life with a reminder that life is precious and fragile. We see her once or twice a week. She doesn’t play tag or catch or even peek-a-boo just yet. And then again, she doesn’t talk back or dislike all the adults in her life. For now, just holding her seems pretty good, and she usually doesn’t fuss about being held.

When my kids were born, I observed that grandchildren were the reward one got for raising their kids. Now I am getting to live that. Whether we end up with one or dozen grandchildren, there is certainly a special relationship there that I am learning to appreciate even more each day.

Jeffrey A. Myers (OD‘84)
BuckEYE Editor

Jeff Myers (OD'84) and his new granddaughter Isla.
Jeff Myers (OD'84) and his new granddaughter Isla.

From the Editor

Well, it is that time of year when we ask one another what we did over the summer. Unlike when we were in our early years, summer vacations don’t usually last 3 months. For some, vacation time is spent with family living far away. For some, it is a rental home or condo at the beach or in the mountains. For some, amusement parks; for others, solitude. Some like to use the time honing the skills of a hobby, or pursuing a special interest. Even the ‘staycation’ concept of staying home works for some.

For me, this year’s summer time off was spent in West Africa. David, a member of our church, is a native of Liberia. He escaped from Liberia during the mid 1990’s during the 14 year civil war, through the Ivory Coast and landed in Ohio. The civil war has left the infrastructure of the country in a shambles, and UN Peacekeepers are still used to augment the Liberian police. He was educated as a nurse in Liberia and finished a Bachelor’s degree at Ohio University. When he escaped, he was able to bring his wife, but left 3 sons in their teens in Liberia. He is now a naturalized US citizen. Returning to Liberia on a Liberian passport would have likely not permitted his return to the United States. Traveling as a US Citizen assures he will return to the United States.

He first returned to Liberia in late 2009. When he returned from his visit, our church asked what they might do to help folks in Liberia. He suggested providing some scholarships for deserving students at the Phebe School in Suakoko. David had attended this school as a youth. The public school system in Liberia is greatly lacking and there is no compulsory education. Private education is the best choice for an education from kindergarten through college. He reported that students could be sponsored for $70US/year, and that would provide a year’s education at the Phebe School. Our church agreed to support the project and I committed to travel with him to Liberia to interview applicants.

David’s vision was to help a half-dozen kids get an education. When we left Columbus in June, we had 55 scholarships to offer. We had no idea what response we would encounter, whether we would even be able to find 55 children in need. Over 3 days, we interviewed 179 children as scholarship applicants. All had financial need. And each had a story to tell. As we returned and reported to our church and families and friends that there was plenty of need, they responded with more scholarships. As we go to press, we have granted a total of 124 scholarships.

Interestingly, in a country with alleged 85% unemployment, over 7 days in country, not one individual begged from me; nobody at the airport, in the interior, in Monrovia. I had plenty of people offer to do things for me in exchange for money, and offer to sell me things, but no one begged. I wasn’t home 7 days before someone was begging from me.

The gifts of people in one small church in Groveport, Ohio will make a difference for a whole bunch of kids in central Liberia in the next weeks. The people there recognize that education will make a difference for the next generation of Liberia. It is their ticket to a better life for their country. For the cost of a night out on the town, we are able to educate a child there for a year. Seems like a great investment to me.

You can read more at www.davidandjeffliberia.blogspot.com. Start with the earliest post.

Jeffrey A. Myers (OD‘84)
BuckEYE Editor

Some new friends in Liberia
Some new friends in Liberia

From the Editor

People are as different as snowflakes. No two people are exactly the same. Each of us has different skills, talents, passions, and experiences that make us unique.

We see this in all facets of life. The person who is the package packer at the local UPS Store, or the barista at Starbucks, or the plumbing expert at Home Depot, or the chef at your favorite restaurant, or the firefighter, or the professional basketball player, is not the first choice for most people in getting counsel about vision care. Likewise, you probably don’t have all the skills of these other folks. Sometimes, I think I am a plumbing expert, an opinion that is refuted by the number of trips to Home Depot needed to resolve a minor plumbing issue.

In this issue, we note a similar situation in the election of our Dean, Dr. Mel Shipp to the office of President-elect of the 50,000-member American Public Health Association (APHA), the first optometrist in the APHA’s 138 year history to be so elected. Dr. Shipp’s unique background, earning a MPH, and later a DrPH, in addition to an OD degree is rare within our profession. Having the experience of being a Pew Doctoral Fellow, as well as a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellow qualifies Dr. Shipp even more uniquely as an optometrist in the public health arena. He has been actively involved in the APHA on a national basis for the better part of 25 years. I would dare say, there is not an optometrist more uniquely qualified to serve as President of the APHA.

Even on the team of folks that create your BuckEYE magazine, we have people who are uniquely qualified to write creatively, as well as Kerri McTigue who does extraordinary graphic design work, and two folks with English degrees to catch the errors that I miss. Each member of our team brings his or her unique qualifications, his or her unique perspective, and his or her unique passion and talents to the table to form a cohesive team that makes this magazine unique on the campus of The Ohio State University and among optometry schools and colleges.

But what about you? What are your unique qualifications? Sure, you’re an optometrist, but what other gifts do you bring to the table? Over the last decade or so, we have highlighted colleagues in this magazine who have extraordinary musical talent that they use to entertain, compete, or raise awareness. We have highlighted colleagues who are talented researchers within our profession, as well as industry leaders, and leaders in the profession, as academics and as servants in organizational optometry. Those that serve others philanthropically with vision care across the world have been highlighted. We have even shone the spotlight on a couple unique hobbies, including magic and model trains.

Your unique qualifications may fall along these lines or may be much more personal. Here’s the question – how are you uniquely qualified to make this world a better place? Don’t underestimate the impact of your abilities as an optometrist to improve the lives of people in need through better vision. But don’t bury your other talents and abilities to make this world a better place for others. Sometimes, you are so uniquely qualified to do something, like care for another human being, that you are the only one who can do that something. Embrace that and live a life with purpose. Make the part of the world that you are in just a little better.

Jeffrey A. Myers (OD‘84)
BuckEYE Editor

Jeff's granddaughter Isla just reminding you what is important this holiday season.
Jeff's granddaughter Isla just reminding you what is important this holiday season.

Jeffrey A. Myers (OD‘84), BuckEYE EditorFrom the Editor

Practice management experts suggest that you come in the front door of your practice from time to time, to see what your patients see all day long. Things that don’t look odd or out of place for us who work in a location, might find things that are immediately out of place and beg to be addressed, when viewed from a patient’s perspective. A couple times a year, I meet with a group of colleagues and we do that exact evaluation for one another at our practice locations.

Recently, my pharmacist sister and I had the opportunity to join our father in an emergency room visit for him. We went to a well-known hospital here in Columbus that is billed as a Level I trauma center and known generally for quality care. Without disclosing private health information, he had medical needs that we felt we had a pretty good idea of how to begin to address, but had no good idea as to the cause. He was concerned, a little upset, and perhaps even a little scared about the visit. I would expect that these emotions are common with most emergency room visits. Folks don’t usually go to the ER because they are joyous. They are usually hurting, looking for help to solve an issue, and would like that solution sooner rather than later.

Over an 8 hour period in the ER, as you might expect, he had his health history obtained. Not once, not twice, not 3 or even 4 times; no, he had his health history compiled 5 times by various people. First, it was the intake station employee whose job is really to be sure the proper medical insurance is connected to the patient. Next, a paramedic took his health history, opening with the same line as the intake station, ‘What brings you in to see us today?’ Then, the ER nurse needed to take a health history, again opening with ‘What brings you in to see us today?’ Apparently, in a day of electronic health records and 2 prior histories being taken, we had found the one ER nurse who was computer illiterate.

By the time the attending ER physician arrived, and we were a couple hours into our visit, and he opened with ‘What brings you in to see us today?’, our collective agitation was… well, palpable. Did this physician not read the 3 previous histories? Was he really starting from scratch with his history? Did he really have no clue about the case? Was this multiple history concept a strategy to elicit new facets about the history? We were at a loss. Once the decision was made to admit our father, an admitting physician had to take yet another history. By then, 6 hours into our visit, it seemed that logic was not the guiding principle.

In our practice, the patient has a complete health history obtained by a staff member and I have a chance to review it, add to it, clarify it, or dig a little deeper as needed. I never start my portion of the visit with, ‘What brings you in to see us today?’ If I look in the record, I will quickly find the reason for the patient’s visit. I might restate it or ask for more information, but I don’t need to take another history, nor do I need to act as if one has not yet been obtained. To me, reading the record before you see the patient, or as you see the patient simply seems like good patient care. Asking questions like you didn’t bother to read the record begs the question, why did that other person ask me any questions?

Colleagues, think about your processes and ways that you do things so that they make sense to patients and help your practice to flow. The folks you care for will appreciate you for it.

Jeffrey A. Myers (OD‘84)
BuckEYE Editor

Dr. Myers’ granddaughter, Isla (center), joins her father, Scott (left) and Brutus Buckeye (right) for the Independence Day activities in Groveport, Ohio
Dr. Myers’ granddaughter, Isla (center), joins her father, Scott (left) and Brutus Buckeye (right) for the Independence Day activities in Groveport, Ohio

 

From the Editor

It’s interesting how we remember certain people by specific accomplishments in their lives. Often, these are noteworthy accomplishments. They may be a singular event or an accomplishment that is the culmination of years of work. It is their legacy.

Alfred Nobel, the namesake and creator of the Nobel prizes, is remembered about this time of year when the Nobel Laureates are recognized. Often, he is remembered as the creator of dynamite. The rest of the story is that his brother was killed in an explosion at the family’s armaments factory. That, in part, drove him to develop a method to stabilize nitroglycerin, resulting in dynamite, a stable way to transport nitroglycerin. It was only one of his over 350 patents.

Marie Sklodowska-Curie is often remembered for her pioneering research on radioactivity. Sometimes, people forget that she discovered 2 chemical elements, and died of aplastic anemia as a result of her exposure to radioactivity. She is also one of a handful of people to win 2 Nobel Prizes, and is the only person to win prizes in 2 different sciences, both before the age of 45.

December is also the time for presentation of the Downtown Athletic Club’s Heisman Trophy. While we know that it Is presented to the outstanding collegiate football player, we often forget that John Heisman was an outstanding college football coach, founded the Touchdown Club of New York, and the National Football Coaches Association. Each recipient of the Trophy is almost always introduced as a Heisman Trophy winner. Around Columbus, Archie Griffin is still introduced as the only 2-time Heisman Trophy winner, a unique accomplishment from 35 years ago. I often wonder, though, if Archie ever hopes someone will recognize some of the things he has done in the last 35 years, a number of which are noteworthy on their own.

Earlier this summer, at an educational conference in Columbus, a celebration of the 20th anniversary of the passage of the therapeutics law in Ohio was held. Two of the key players in the passage of that law, Arol Augsburger (OD/MS’71), and Kevin Alexander (OD’76, MS’77, PhD’79), were in attendance and spoke about the efforts to pass the law. Much like the other folks mentioned, they are remembered for this singular accomplishment from two decades ago. Each has accomplished much since that effort. But their legacy cannot be told without this highlight of dedication to the profession.

What about you? Do you ever think about your legacy? What are doing that people will remember you for? Maybe it is something big like a Nobel Prize or leading your profession into the future. Maybe it is the way you give of your time and services to others to help them to have a better life. Maybe it is the way you have raised your children, or cared for parents in the last days of life. Maybe it is something that no one will ever know that you did.

Whatever it is, each day of life can contribute to that legacy. Make it one worthwhile.

Jeffrey A. Myers (OD‘84)
BuckEYE Editor

Jeffrey A. Myers (OD‘84), BuckEYE EditorFrom the Editor

The success of athletes is often defined by a specific statistic. Baseball batters are defined by home runs or by slugging percentage, pitchers by earned run average. Hockey and soccer players by goals made, or by goals blocked/ saved. Golfers might be defined by strokes per hole or strokes per round. Thoroughbreds are defined by their Win-Place-Show record in races. While it may be an unfair evaluation of an athlete’s body of work, it is how we evaluate them.

Take Babe Ruth, as an example. Even to those who don’t study baseball carefully, he is known as the home run king. He held the lifetime home run record at 714 from 1935 until Hank Aaron broke it in the spring of 1974. Aaron held it until Barry Bonds broke it in 2007. The record stands at 762. And it may take another 30-some years to be broken once again, though Alex Rodriguez might disagree.

Arguably, Ruth and Bonds were paid to hit home runs. For Ruth, it helped the Yankees create a dynasty. But if they were paid to hit home runs, how much did they make per home run? In the 1927 season, Ruth hit 60 home runs, and was paid $1166 ($50,000 in 2010 dollars) per homer. In 2001, Bonds hit 73 home runs, and earned $178,000 per home run at the time. If you presume 2.5 seconds for the pitch, swing and connection, Ruth earned $1.2 million (2010 dollars) per minute of home run batting, and Bonds earned $4.25 million (2010 dollars) per minute of home run batting.

The thoroughbred Secretariat, arguably the best race horse of our time, was paid to win races for his owners. In 21 starts, he won 16 races, and won another but was disqualified. In two years of racing, he earned more than $1.3 million ($7 million in 2010 dollars). He raced less than 45 minutes in his career, but earned just over $155,000 (2010 dollars) per minute in for his owners.

So what are you paid to do? Examine patients, manage staff, diagnose disease, detect refractive error, sell product, measure stuff? I would suggest that, in the patient’s mind, you are paid to provide them solutions for their vision/eye problems. It is the moment of the case presentation that the patient is paying for. It is your expertise and knowledge about solutions to their problems that is of value to them.

It takes great preparation to be able to do that cogently and quickly, just as it took Ruth and Bonds and Secretariat great effort and sacrifice to achieve what they did. But the payoff moment for us in practice, just like the home run for Ruth and Bonds, and winning the race for Secretariat, is the case presentation. All our study and knowledge in school, our continuing education, and our experience, comes to a payoff moment when we sit knee-to-knee with a patient and their family and explain to them the solutions for their problems. As we often say, “Every day in practice is final exam day.”

While we will likely never earn the money that our athletes described above earned for their payoff moments, the counsel and guidance we provide to patients is invaluable to them and can improve the quality of life in almost every case. Think about your payoff moment. Remember that you are affecting a person’s quality of life every time you do it. And your patients will evaluate you by how you offer them solutions.

Jeffrey A. Myers (OD‘84)
BuckEYE Editor

Jeffrey A. Myers (OD‘84), BuckEYE EditorFrom the Editor

One of my teaching techniques to help diabetic patients understand what controls their blood sugar is to remind them that it is these 3 things; 1. What you put in your mouth (diet), 2. How much you get up off the couch (GUOtC) (exercise), & 3. medication. The patient controls all three. Their physician prescribes medications and dosage, but the patient chooses their compliance.

GUOtC can apply to enriching or advancing one’s life as well. Each of us had to apply for and then go to college, had to complete our undergraduate work, had to apply to optometry school, complete the course of study, and pass licensing exams to perform our chosen profession. While it is sometimes easy to underestimate this accomplishment once completed, remind yourself how many of your high school classmates have completed doctoral degrees.

For me, I never cease to be amazed how life can be enriched by GUOtC. An example is our feature article. The research for this article allowed the opportunity to reconnect and deepen a relationship with my old friend, Joe Studebaker. I developed a new relationship with his dad, Jim, and his brother, Pete. Additionally, I reconnected with Park, who was a couple years ahead of me in school. All of that was great fun and enriching.

But even more was the genealogy. As we compared the Studebaker genealogy and my mother’s 50+ years of genealogical work on our families, we discovered that their immigrant ancestor, Peter Studebaker, along with his family, including his brother and cousin, traveled from Germany to Rotterdam to board the ship Harle, and made the journey across the Atlantic Ocean, arriving in Philadelphia in 1736.

We also discovered that my ancestors, Peter Rench, Jacob Crowel, and Jacob Fulman and their families were on the same ship, same crossing, as well as Jonathan Hager, who founded Hagerstown, Maryland. Rench, Peter Studebaker, and Hager all settled in the same area of Frederick (later Washington) County in Maryland. In September 1749, Peter & his wife, Susannah Studebaker sold 150 acres of land, a property called “The Strife”, to Peter Rench for 150 pounds. A couple generations later, these same families are found in Montgomery and Miami Counties of Ohio. Across several generations, Mom has identified 20 collateral ancestors who married Studebakers.

As Joe and I reflected on these discoveries, we thought it was pretty cool that these folks’ descendants (us) would cross paths 270 years after they crossed the Atlantic Ocean together.

The migration of these folks after immigration to North America begs several questions. Did they know one another in Europe, or did they meet and become friends on the ship? Were they close friends who decided to migrate together from Europe? What were their dreams of North America as they arrived, not knowing there would be a revolution 40 years later?

Personally, my life was enriched by this event and many others in life, simply because I decided to GUOtC. While life may be enriched by the latest episode of American Idol, Dancing With the Stars, or Big Brother, it is the personal relationships that will truly enrich your life.

Jeffrey A. Myers (OD‘84)
BuckEYE Editor

Jeffrey A. Myers (OD‘84), BuckEYE EditorFrom the Editor

The resource of time is a great equalizer.
In a day, 24 hours, 1440 minutes, 86400 seconds.
In a month, 30 days, 720 hours, 43200 minutes, 2,592,000 seconds.
In a year, 365 days, 8760 hours, 525,600 minutes, 31,536,000 seconds.
In a lifetime of 75 years, 27393 days, 657432 hours, 39,445,920 minutes, 2,366,755,200 seconds.

The question is how will you spend those seconds, minutes, hours & days? Some have pointed out that on your tombstone, your birth and death year will be noted, i.e., “1900-1975”, and that the thing that matters is the dash between the dates. How did you spend your time? What do you do that was productive, meaningful, instructive, or beneficial?

Almost all of us will spend a third of that time sleeping. Over the course of a 40 year career, most of us will spend about 70000 hours performing on the order of 150,000 patient encounters. Some people will spend their time working to advance our profession. Some will serve their favorite volunteer group, whether faith-based, hobby-based, environment-based or even fraternal group. Some people will spend their time entertaining us and building their craft. Some will people will spend their time playing sports, on an amateur or professional basis.

But with a finite amount of time available for each of us, we cannot be everything nor do everything. Athletes at the top of their game are usually doing only that. They are not also concert pianists. Most people involved in direct patient care, while they may do some clinical research, are not world-class researchers. Folks who have committed their life to public service and politics are not usually leaders in faith-based organizations.Newest grandchild - Sladen Scott Shoup

Anyone who would be ‘world-class’ in any area of interest must devote time, effort, attention, and energy to that area of interest to the sacrifice of other areas of life. Likely you will not find someone who is a Star Trek enthusiast, knowing every detail of every character, show and plotline, who also possesses the sailing skills necessary to win yachting’s America’s Cup. The time needed to become expert in any interest precludes expertise in multiple areas. So, we prioritize our time, effort, attention and energy. If we don’t choose how to prioritize those resources, someone will choose for us.

You might already know your priorities. And they do change with time. Whatever you might claim are your priorities can be verified with just 3 simple questions:

  1. What do you think about?
  2. Where do you spend your time?
  3. Where do you spend your money?

The answers to these questions are your real priorities. Maybe they are right where you would like them to be. Maybe they are not. Here’s the thing; you can determine what your priorities are. A new year on the calendar provides an opportunity for reflection and realignment if needed.

One of our family’s newest priorities is pictured with this article. Sladen Scott Shoup was born May 18, 2012 and joins sister, Isla, as the grandchildren in our lives. Great news – he has not yet seen the Buckeyes lose a football game.

Jeffrey A. Myers (OD‘84)
BuckEYE Editor

Jeffrey A. Myers (OD’84), BuckEYE EditorFrom the Editor

One of the few bad decisions that Walt Disney made in planning and executing Disneyland in Anaheim, California, was having too small a property. By his own admission, having just over 500 acres was inadequate to really fulfill the dream he had. The property had about 28,000 visitors on opening day in July 1955 and boasted just over 16 million visitors in 2011.

When Disney realized that only 5% of the visitors to Disneyland were from east of the Mississippi River, while 75% of the population lived there, he saw opportunity. The Disney team had settled on Florida for the site of a new park, due to its good weather suitable for year-round operation and its already existing stature as a tourist destination. In November 1963, a visit to Florida sealed the decision that the Orlando area was the location. Its highway and road network with the Florida Turnpike and planned I-4, a large airport, and lots of undeveloped land would eventually make Orlando a world-class city and the vacation destination for millions from the entire planet.

Disney went about purchasing about 28,000 acres in the area over the next two years, paying as little as $80/acre for the pastures, swamps, scrub forests, and fruit groves. He used a variety of dummy corporations to covertly buy the land, paying about $5.5 million. In 2011, almost 17 million people visited the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, making it the most visited amusement park in the world.

My question is this: did Walt Disney have any clue what the impact of that simple decision in November 1963 would be? Could he have possibly envisioned the powerful impact his decision would have on the Orlando region and the state of Florida? Unfortunately, Disney passed in 1966, a year after announcing the new park and five years before it opened.

For us, do we realize the impact of the decisions we make in our lives? Do we realize the impact of the recommendations we make for our patients, for our employees, or even for our students?

Where we decided to practice, teach, or be employed in our profession has an effect on the geographic area in which our children are raised, the culture and values they will encounter, and the opportunities they will experience. The effects of our decisions will last a lifetime for our children and will perhaps even extend to our grandchildren.

Each day, our prescriptions, whether lenses, medications, or counsel, have the potential to impact our patients’ lives. In fact, most of our prescriptions are made with the expectation that a patient’s vision and life will benefit. Consider that the child for whom you prescribed +5.00 eyewear last month will allow that patient the gift of reading and ability to learn independently for a lifetime. Or consider the glaucoma patient you treat with medication to maintain vision in the one eye that was not lost to glaucoma prior to their arrival in your practice. Or even consider the patient with burning and stinging from dry eye and blepharitis for whom you prescribe better lid hygiene and lubrication.

What you do every day makes an impact for the folks who visit you. It may not have the impact that Walt Disney’s decision had, but for the people that you care for, it may make all the difference in the world. Accept that responsibility with the knowledge you may be changing a life.

Jeffrey A. Myers (OD’84)
BuckEYE Editor

Jeffrey A. Myers (OD’84), BuckEYE EditorFrom the Editor

Expectations are a part of our life every day. We expect more than we would like to admit on a daily basis. Here are a few things we expect:

  • electricity in every indoor facility; hot and cold water available at a touch
  • homes and offices to be about 72 degrees year round
  • our staff & patients to be on time
  • the grocery to have food & the gas station to have gasoline
  • the neighbor’s dog to not yap all night
  • the restaurant to prepare our food in a timely way & cooked to our delight
  • a romantic partner to be faithful
  • our planes, trains, and buses to be on time
  • all other drivers to know that our plan is the most important plan on the road
  • the golf course to have our perfect tee time when we call one hour ahead of that time.

When expectations are met, we are happy and satisfied. We may even feel that we deserve to have our expectations met. But when our expectations are not met, what happens?

Maybe you approach unmet expectations like a puzzle solver with a new challenge, as in, "I could take my shower with only cold water today." It might be harder if the air conditioning in your office fails on a 95-degree day. What if your plane is delayed on your vacation, and the next flight to your destination is tomorrow? What if your local restaurant brings your food in 20 minutes instead of the usual 8 minutes? How do you really respond--maybe with disappointment, anger, and frustration?

What about your patients? Might they have expectations about your ability to see patients in a timely fashion? About your interest in getting to know their visual needs? About the cost of services & materials? About what you can do for them?

We can manage patient expectations. I would argue that we have to manage patient expectations, every day. We expect that a postoperative cataract patient (barring the use of a multifocal implant) will need eyewear, if for nothing more than reading, but if we or the surgeon don't tell the patient our expectations, the expectation about postop eyewear will be set by the patient's friend, who hasn't used eyewear since surgery. The patient will be quite disappointed and even upset. The same story could play out with the LASIK patients in their late 30s or older and expect to never wear glasses again. Their expectations must be modified to your expectations so that they will not be frustrated or angry.

When we recommend a change in eyewear, it is vital to share with the patient what they can expect if they update their eyewear. If vision can be improved, set that expectation. If the prescription is essentially unchanged, but eyewear should be updated for other reasons (like the left lens and temple are missing, and the right lens looks like it has been cleaned with a steel wool pad), then set the appropriate expectation. Those negative emotions can be averted.

Once expectations are set and the other party (the patient) agrees, an implied agreement is in place. You have set the stage for all parties to know what is expected to happen and are less likely to create a situation where someone is disappointed.

Jeffrey A. Myers (OD’84)
BuckEYE Editor

Jeffrey A. Myers (OD’84), BuckEYE EditorEditor's Letter

It was February of this year when my wife and I went to one of our favorite eateries in Columbus. While I will not mention the name, it is a well-known, independent, family-owned restaurant on the east side of the city.

We have been going there for years. We have celebrated my in-laws' 60th wedding anniversary, my mother-in-law’s 90th birthday, Mother’s Days, have taken a group of out-of-town colleagues there, and probably visited on a monthly basis. In other words, we have been there before. They are known for high quality home-cooked food and fine service from a wait staff that does not change every time you visit. The owners are almost always present, overseeing the activity.

My wife and I visited on a Thursday night last winter. I ordered a meatball sub, which comes with fries and cole slaw. Not being a fan of cole slaw, I asked to substitute a side order of applesauce. I was told by the waitress, “No, he won’t allow substitutions,” with a tilt of her head toward the kitchen.

Now I know the kitchen manager is a female. So, it is not clear if the “he” being referred to is the chef, or it is the owner. And it doesn’t matter. In a mild state of shock, I chose to forgo the cole slaw. And we have not returned to the restaurant.

The lesson here is fairly clear. Do our practices have certain policies or procedures that serve as an obstacle to satisfying patients? Not obstacles to wowing them, obstacles to just satisfying them. Or do staff misunderstand policies, and say things that we would not possibly support, endorse or promote? Are we losing patients who simply find it easier to use a competitor for service, than to deal with the obstacles we present?

In this experience, all the goodwill that has been built up over almost two decades of meals and family celebrations evaporated in one statement. And all for a cup of applesauce. I cannot imagine that the value of a “no substitutions” policy outweighs the economic loss of even one regular customer.

Take a look at your policies and procedures, and be sure your staff understands them. Be sure they are not obstacles to patients using your services, and that your staff can communicate clearly the way you want to care for people.

granddaughter, Isla, at her first football gameOn a personal note, I had the opportunity to take our granddaughter, Isla, to her first football game. It was the Ohio State-San Diego State game this year, which was won handily by Ohio State. When your first football game is in Ohio Stadium, on alumni band day, with a quad Script Ohio, every other football game will pale in comparison. Nonetheless, she seemed to have a great time and whooped it up with the best of them. Photo at right.

Jeffrey A. Myers (OD’84)
BuckEYE Editor

Jeffrey A. Myers (OD’84), BuckEYE EditorEditor's Letter

Growing up in the funeral business, I am biased against the custom of “open microphone” time at a funeral. From a pragmatic standpoint, the opportunity exists for a much longer service with numerous folks who are not necessarily that knowledgeable about the one who has passed droning on about their limited experience with the deceased. It creates a time challenge for the folks responsible for moving things along and can unnecessarily lengthen an already emotional time for the family. My opinion softened, and I learned something at a funeral some time ago.

I had known Twila since I was in elementary school. Her daughter and I had gone from kindergarten to high school graduation together. Her son gave me my first speeding ticket. The same son and her grandson backpacked with me at Philmont Scout Ranch in 1988. We attended church together through most of my life. In short, we knew each other. In her later years, she had increasing difficulty speaking and communicating. It is not surprising I attended her funeral, and an “open microphone” opportunity was presented.

What was revealed to me was that while I knew certain facets of Twila’s life, there were many facets about her unknown to me. Children shared about special moments growing up, grandchildren shared about grandma playing whiffle ball in the backyard, and former co-workers shared experiences of her work-life. I came to the realization that people in our lives are exposed to a limited number of facets of our lives. Most are exposed to one or two, or a handful of facets, at most. Even our family members only see a few facets of our lives.

Those facets represent the various roles we have in life. Our roles as parent, child, spouse, grandparent, grandchild, uncle/aunt, colleague, employer, doctor, problem solver, activist, volunteer, coach, or teacher represent some of those possible facets. Even the way we interact with folks we meet at a restaurant, the bank, or the dry cleaners represents our role as a consumer. Perhaps you can think of a wide variety of facets in your life. As gems are prepared for use as jewelry, 48-76 facets are cut into the gem, depending on the type of cut. The type of cut selected is designed to provide the greatest reflection of light from the gem. The right cut lets the best of the gem show through.

So, here’s the question: are your facets reflecting the best of you? Are you treating and influencing people in a way that is appropriate and you can be proud of? At your funeral, would the facets of your life be related in a way that you would want others to hear? In short, are the facets of your life creating a polished gem, or are you still a gem in the rough?

If you are a polished gem, congratulations! If you are still a gem whose facets are a little rough, the great news is that each day, in fact, every encounter with another person affords a new opportunity to polish a facet. Consider how you would want to be treated in each situation, whether delivering life-changing news to a patient, interacting with a loved one, leading in your practice, or ordering a meal at the local eatery. Allow those facets to reflect in a way that the true gem that you are shines through.

Jeffrey A. Myers (OD’84)
BuckEYE Editor

Editor's Letter

For some of the folks who are in the same age range as I am, those words bring to mind Eric Carmen’s mid1970s song of broken heartedness. Well, that is not the topic of this editorial. Rather, it is a reminder that true achievement and success in business and life are not attained on our own.

On a recent trip home from New York City, I paid attention to all the folks, seen and unseen, who somehow contributed to my trip. Maybe you have thought about these things in the past, maybe not. Consider these that I saw.

The hotel clerk who printed my receipt, doorman who hailed my taxi; taxi driver; toll booth worker; police and emergency squad who attended to some accident victims on the side of the road; agent who directed me to my gate at the airport; TSA agents who checked my ID and bag; gate agent; people selling breakfast at the airport; people running food to the various kiosks; people sweeping and cleaning the airport; the pilots and flight attendants (Yvonne, Patrick, and Christy); jetway operator; restaurant employees; shuttle driver who took me back to my vehicle in the parking lot; and the clerk as I left the parking lot.

And just as importantly, these that I did not see.

The writers, printers, and deliverers of the newspaper I read; elevator cleaning and maintenance people; hotel maid; city trash collectors; road and building maintenance people; the utility folks; airplane cleaning crew; Gate Gourmet crew that stocked the plane; the folks working on the production line and delivering the soft drinks, pretzels, cups, and (my favorite) Biscoff cookies; folks who designed and built the airport; crew that replaced a faulty seat; baggage handlers; crew that checked the tires; ground crew guiding the plane; air traffic controllers; runway maintenance crew; folks that wrote articles, sold ads, bought ads, printed and delivered the inflight and Skymall magazine; and emergency card writers and designers.

To me, this is a pretty impressive list of folks that touched my life in a small or large way on one trip on one day. The thought that I made the trip from New York City to my home entirely on my own is just a foolish thought. Further, to think that you have built a successful practice all by yourself is to think more highly of yourself than is justified. You have relied on frame manufacturers, spectacle and contact lens manufacturers, utility workers, mail and parcel delivery workers, bankers, attorneys, accountants, landlords or builders, employees, family, and patients for your success. If any of these elements is missing, your opportunity for success is reduced.

A lapful of grandchildren celebrating the Fourth of July. From left, granddaughter Isla, Jeffrey Myers (OD'84), and grandson Sladen.
A lapful of grandchildren celebrating the Fourth of July.
From left, granddaughter Isla, Jeffrey Myers (OD'84),
and grandson Sladen.

Each of us lives each day interdependent on a wide variety of people, seen and unseen, just to live our lives. Anyone who has achieved any measure of success in life has relied on others for support and help to achieve that success. While the person who provides leadership is often recognized for the work of the group, it is vital to remember that if there are no willing followers, there is no leader, and there will be no success.

Jeffrey A. Myers (OD’84)
BuckEYE Editor

Editor's Letter

No, that is not a typo in the title. The focus is not the game show Truth or Consequences, or even the town in New Mexico. The focus is on the truth of consequences. The axiom might go something like this: For every decision one makes, there are natural consequences. Some consequences are good, some are sacrificial, some are life enriching, some are bad, some are rewarding, and some are penalizing. Let’s consider some examples. As a student, you often made the decision to study. The natural consequences of that decision might have included missing a social event or some entertainment, but also allowed you to successfully accomplish your goal of becoming an optometrist.

The decision to go see your child’s little league game or school performance during work hours carries the natural consequences of lost production and patient time, but also enhances your family and personal relationships. Many practice situations allow the flexibility to be a part of important opportunities in our lives. Making the decision to apply to optometry school carried its natural consequences, too. If admitted, you had the next four years carefully planned for you. You were not taking multi-week vacations to exotic places for four years. Your ability to earn income during that time was curtailed by the need to study, but that decision and its ensuing investment in time had the natural consequence of allowing you the skills and privilege to make a difference for patients every day of your career. Few career decisions offer that extraordinary natural consequence.

Early in this college’s history, the decision was made to expand the program from a certificate program to a bachelor’s degree program. The natural consequence was moving the profession forward. When the decision was made to offer the first graduate program in physiological optics, the natural consequence was that leaders in the profession were taught here, a tradition that continues today. The decision 50 years ago to design a program culminating in the Doctor of Optometry degree carried the natural consequence of moving the profession forward yet again. In the last two decades, curriculum decisions to include fourth year extern rotations, as well as the development of the Keystone program, have carried the natural consequence of better trained clinicians graduating from the program and entering practice, ultimately providing better care for patients.

Seated: Daughter Amanda Shoup, mother Nancy Myers, granddaughter Isla Shoup, grandson Sladen Shoup, and son-in-law Scott Shoup. Standing: Daughter Jennifer Myers, great-nephew Chris Clark, sister Deborah Myers, Dr. Myers, and wife Joyce Myers.
Seated: Daughter Amanda Shoup, mother Nancy Myers,
granddaughter Isla Shoup, grandson Sladen Shoup, and
son-in-law Scott Shoup.
Standing: Daughter Jennifer Myers, great-nephew Chris Clark,
sister Deborah Myers, Dr. Myers, and wife Joyce Myers.

As we celebrate the Centennial of Ohio State Optometry this year, it is clear that college leaders and faculty over the years have made very good decisions that carried very positive natural consequences that advanced the College. We cannot even dream what decisions will be made in the next 100 years, but I expect they will be as transformative as the decisions of the first 100 years.

For us personally, every decision in life carries natural consequences. Wisdom comes in considering the natural consequences before making a decision and then making the decision based on the desired consequences. This applies to what we eat, what continuing education we seek, what entertainment we enjoy, and how we spend our money. Choose the consequences you want wisely as they will guide your decisions.

Jeffrey A. Myers (OD’84)
BuckEYE Editor

Jeffrey A. Myers (OD’84), BuckEYE EditorEditor's Letter

There is no doubt that our culture is hooked on being able to have something of value for little investment, the proverbial “getting something for nothing”. The longest-running television show that I can remember centering on this theme is Antiques Roadshow. People bring old stuff from their homes to the show, hoping that it is a rare relic worth thousands of dollars. Usually folks have invested next to nothing for the item, or it was bought several generations ago, and they invested nothing. People leave the show astounded by the value of the item or disappointed by its ordinariness.

Today, there is an entire genre of shows focused on getting something for nothing, what I would generously call “treasure hunt” shows. On these shows, people work to find stuff for which they pay very little in the hopes of making a handsome profit. The genre includes American Pickers, Storage Wars, Storage Units, Auction Kings, and Auction Hunters. Shows like Pawn Stars and Cajun Pawn Stars are really just Antiques Roadshow with an appraiser who is willing to buy. Then there are the shows like Gold Rush, Bering Sea Gold, and Under the Ice that follow the gold chasers, who are investing something, sometimes a lot, in the hopes of a jackpot payoff. The proliferation of the shows and their copycats attest to their popularity.

Culturally, we love the story of someone who gets rich quick, with no investment. It is entertaining to watch and to dream about. Even people who don’t play the lottery like to dream about what they might do with the $300 million prize. Maybe it is because the truth is that there’s no assured “something for nothing” deal out there.

Patients seem to want something for nothing when they arrive in our office, third party coverage in hand, with the expectation that they can get whatever they need or want and pay next to nothing. We get frustrated, to say the least, but isn’t that the same attitude we take to the emergency room?

We all like a deal, a real value. Many of us use deals in our practices to promote sales of materials. Some feel they need to match what every other retailer is offering to attract patients, whether it is a “buy one, get one”, or eyewear that is less than the cost of a meal at McDonald’s. There are certainly people who will go to any retailer to get an extra 5 cents off a product. Can you build a profitable practice when you give away every other piece of eyewear?

What do patients want? Patients want to know they have been cared for and cared about. They do want a good value on materials. Even though they will not say it, they would like for you to stay in the business of providing vision care. What should you do? Care for the person in front of you every time, treating them and making decisions for them as if they were family. Provide patients a value in their retail purchase. Most folks understand that getting something for nothing captures our attention because we know it is rarely true, but we love to dream.

Care for your patients and provide value, and when you are in the marketplace, don’t expect to get something for nothing.

Jeffrey A. Myers (OD’84)
BuckEYE Editor

Jeffrey A. Myers (OD’84), BuckEYE EditorEditor's Letter

What is it that really makes you feel alive?

Is it seeing your favorite sports team win? Maybe handcrafting a gift for a friend. Or playing a musical piece to perfection, or to the delight of a group of listeners. Perhaps it is preparing and hosting a meal that sets the perfect mood for an event. Maybe, like some of the subjects of stories told on the pages of this magazine over time, it is climbing the next mountain peak, getting the light just right on your photographic subject, completing a triathlon, calling the championship baseball game, or maybe racing your car faster than your competition.

Maybe it is teaching others about a favorite subject, optometric or another. Or making a research discovery or breakthrough. Maybe it is just being in your boat on a weekend afternoon with friends or family. Maybe it is making that 28-foot eagle putt, or bowling your first 300. Or perhaps, it is simply hanging out with folks you love.

For my father-in-law, it was playing and singing Bluegrass or Gospel music with others, especially family. His instrument of choice was the Dobro guitar. The song played or which of these genres was sung was not important, it was just important to play. For my dad, I think it was having family, especially the grandkids and his great-granddaughter around. He also loved to recount the family relationships of everyone in town. The funeral business allows one to learn them, and he loved to recount them.

For my mother-in-law, now 93, it is simply being around people. At parties, she reminds me of a 16-year-old girl leaning in to hear the current news, dare I say gossip, of all that is going on. For mom, now 80, I think it is preparing the holiday meal and having us argue over which of the cookies she made is really the best. That might be a tie with making a new genealogical discovery or breakthrough. How about you, what is it that really makes you feel alive? Maybe another way to say it is this: What are you truly passionate about?

Two people in my life who make me feel alive, grandchildren Isla (five years old) and Sladen (three years old).
Two people in my life who make me feel alive,
grandchildren Isla (five years old) and
Sladen (three years old).

I hope one of the things relatively high or your list is making a difference in peoples’ lives through our profession. It is a true privilege and a high call to be able to make a positive impact in the lives of others on a daily basis.

Each time I enter the examination room to care for the next patient, I expect that I will somehow be able to improve their life. Sometimes we underestimate the power of being able to see well. Certainly, having the opportunity to improve the lives of others through better vision can make one feel alive. It is a truly great way to live a career.

Life is not just about living, but about truly being alive.

Jeffrey A. Myers (OD’84)
BuckEYE Editor

 

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Jeffrey A. Myers (OD’84), BuckEYE EditorEditor's Letter

Maybe it is true for you, too. There are seasons of time in my life where it seems that my schedule of events and activities, or the demands and expectations of others, begins to take its toll. Maybe for you, it is the kids’ schedule, balancing work and parenthood, caring for family members, keeping the house clean and the laundry done, or practice demands.

For me this fall, it has been a busier than normal series of weekends of travel and the practice demands of ICD-10 and Meaningful Use 2. Each of the travel opportunities was great for spending time with friends and colleagues to strengthen relationships. The ICD-10 implementation in our office has gone relatively smoothly, as our scribes have stepped up and learned the system pretty well. Trying to attest this fall for Meaningful Use 2 is challenging, particularly when the rules were changed three days into the last 90-day attestation period. That doesn’t seem fair. It has all taken its toll.

One Saturday this fall, I happened to be home. It was great to just be at home and chill out a bit. It occurred to me that there is a physical limit to what we are able to do. Sometimes, we simply need to rest. That rest is accomplished in different ways by different people. Watching an old western or a romantic movie, reading, coloring, fishing, boating, sleeping (naps are not just for children), visiting with friends, or pursuing a hobby can all be ways that we vacate (the root word of vacation) the normal events, activities, demands, and expectations that are a part of our lives.

The holiday season from Thanksgiving week through New Year’s week can be a particularly demanding period of time filled with events, activities, demands, and expectations. It can be grueling, particularly if long distance travel is involved. Finding time to rest and rejuvenate can be difficult. There is often one more party to attend or one more gift to buy or one more friend to take to lunch. It is easy to watch the time evaporate and not achieve any rest.

I was recently reminded that the concept of Time Management is a fallacy. Time Management is really Priority Management. Priority Management is really about Choice Management. Where you decide to invest your time is a choice.

As this year comes to an end, I challenge you to carve out the time to truly rest. How you achieve your rest and rejuvenation will be individual for you, but make that a priority, a conscious choice. As you rest, be assured that you will be stronger for the next series of events, activities, demands, and expectations.

Jeffrey A. Myers (OD’84)
BuckEYE Editor

Jeffrey A. Myers (OD’84), BuckEYE EditorEditor's Letter

Over the years, Columbus has developed into a foodie town. The competition for the dining dollar has become tough. The good news for those of us who live here is that fine meals can be found all over town. Whether you are looking for ethnic foods or daring taste sensations, excellent meals by chefs who understand the blending of flavors to make an outstanding meal are readily available.

Easily the most successful restaurant entrepreneur in Columbus over the last two decades is Cameron Mitchell. He has built a restaurant empire that started with a single restaurant, Cameron’s in Worthington and now includes 12 different restaurant concepts across 25 units in 11 states. These concepts include M, Marcella’s, Cap City Diner, Hudson 29, Molly Woo’s, and The Pearl. To visit each of these is to go on a dining journey that allows you to savor entirely different menus and ambience. The two consistencies across the brands are the high quality food and service.

For years, we have celebrated a holiday dinner with each member of the staff and a guest. Early on, the meal was prepared in our home. Eventually, we moved to a restaurant for ease of service. We have gone to Granville Inn, Worthington Inn, Glenlaurel Inn, Shaw’s in Lancaster, and Ocean Club among others. This past holiday season, we went to Cameron Mitchell’s The Barn at Rocky Fork. This location used to be Hoggy’s, a barbecue restaurant on US 62 just northeast of Gahanna. The name does not adequately convey the level of food quality or service inside.

There were 28 people in our party. It was a Saturday night, and the place was packed. We had a private room. If you have ever been at a banquet meal like that or tried to prepare the food for one, you know the challenge it is to have all the entrées come out at the same time. Some restaurants would not even try. As things turned out, I witnessed one of the meals was not ready with the others. I understand; stuff happens. Serving 28 meals ordered from the menu simultaneously is a feat for any kitchen. So one of the meals was not ready with all the rest.

The waiter went to the fellow whose meal was not ready, and said something like this, “Sir, your strip steak is going to be another three to five minutes. I apologize. The chef has asked that we serve this to you so that you have something to eat with everyone else. We are so sorry.” On the plate was a piece of Prime Rib about the size of my hand. Just a little something to hold him over for the next five minutes until his steak was ready. Needless to say, we were all impressed by this level of customer service.

In our practices, mistakes will happen. Some are our mistakes; some are truly the fault of a vendor. To the patient, it really doesn’t matter. They simply want things to be right. The example we witnessed that evening contained several critical elements to correct a lapse of high quality service. These include acknowledgment of the mistake before the customer (patient) knows, direct confession of the error, ownership of the lapse in service, a solution that wows the customer (patient), and disregard for the minimal cost of the solution.

This model is an excellent one for managing lapses in your normally high quality service. Maybe you will find a use for it someday.

Jeffrey A. Myers (OD’84)
BuckEYE Editor

Jeffrey A. Myers (OD’84), BuckEYE EditorEditor's Letter

Most of the time, I skip eating lunch. This non-patient time is often used to catch up on post-op reports, plan for future testing for patients, meet with members of the staff on specific issues, or make phone calls that will take a little longer than can be done between patients.

Not long ago, I decided to give lunch a try again and thought that purchasing healthy would be a good choice. So, I tried a salad from a nearby pizza place. It was delivered in a large carryout container, with plenty of crackers and represented a good value to me. I decided to repeat the order the next day. This time the order came in a small carryout container, just a couple crackers and a different price. While confused as to what had happened and why the order was so different two days in a row, I did order the same thing a third day in a row. This order came back in a medium carryout container and a third price. I was baffled. What had impressed me and represented value at the first visit was not carried through on future encounters. My experience was consistently inconsistent.

You may have had a similar experience in life. Perhaps, like me, yours was in relation to a food establishment. Maybe your favorite author delivered a book that was not up to his or her normal standard. It happens when the sequel of a movie does not measure up to the experience of the first, or when that special candy is found at one store, but is missing the next time you go. Perhaps it is your favorite sports team that is inconsistent in its play. Maybe you found a perfect place to view a sunset that was awe-inspiring, but each time you have taken friends or loved ones to share the experience, it just wasn’t the same.

Often, we have heard that it is important to make a great first impression. That is valid. A great first impression goes a long way to securing a patient’s confidence in your efforts. Sometimes we forget that it is vital to sustain that first impression and be consistent. This is not necessarily easy for us or for our staff. Different days, different circumstances, different moods, and just the nature of being a human being all contribute to a natural tendency to be inconsistent.

Strive to be consistent in what you do for patients. Aim for a high-quality level of service. Work every day and with each patient to provide the best care you can in every situation. It takes attention and intention to accomplish this. Make the commitment to do it. Don’t allow yourself to be the example of consistently inconsistent. Be consistently consistent at a high level. Your patients will notice and appreciate it.

Grandson, Sladen, cheering the Buckeyes on to a win over Indiana at his first Ohio State football game.
Grandson, Sladen, cheering the Buckeyes on to a win over
Indiana at his first Ohio State football game.

Jeffrey A. Myers (OD’84)
BuckEYE Editor

Jeffrey A. Myers (OD’84), BuckEYE EditorEditor's Letter

A few decades ago, in the early days of my career, I was actively involved in the Scouting program. Adult leader training was an area in which I spent much time and effort. As part of those training experiences, adults would be assigned to groups called patrols that functioned as a part of the training troop. A goal of this concept was to offer folks who had not been scouts during their own youth to experience what it was like to be a part of a patrol and experience how it functions.

One patrol was assigned the responsibilities of the Program Patrol. They had various responsibilities during the training session, and a member of the patrol would be assigned to carry the symbol of the Program Patrol, which was the Kando Horn. It was used as a reminder that when the Program Patrol was asked to complete a task, they would simply respond “can do” and would carry out the task to the best of their ability.

In my experiences in volunteer activities and in business with vendor partners and with staff, I have come to appreciate a “can do” attitude. If I asked you to identify staff or colleagues in a volunteer endeavor that you know who are “can do” people, you could likely identify them very quickly. These are the ones who, when presented a task, simply say “can do,” complete the task without reservation, with little oversight, and on time. They often take on more responsibilities but handle them with little apparent effort and complete them without complaint, being able to overcome obstacles in the process.

Likewise there are folks who are not “can do” folks. You might hear them say, “Not my job” when faced with a challenge. You can likely identify people like this in your experience as well. They are quick to tell you where a problem lies, complain if things are not exactly to their expectations, and point out the flaws and shortcomings of those around them. Everything seems to be a big deal and an insurmountable challenge for them. They spend time complaining to others in a group about what they perceive as the problems. Unfortunately, they don’t often offer solutions.

Dr. Myers with grandchildren (on lap) Isla and Dorian, and Sladen (over shoulder).
Dr. Myers with grandchildren (on lap) Isla and Dorian,
and Sladen (over shoulder).

To me, there is tremendous value in a “can do” individual, whether in family endeavors, volunteer relationships, or business relationships. Four staff members with a “can do” attitude far outshine eight staff members with a “not my job” attitude. To some extent, we can control the people that surround us. Maybe it is time to surround yourself with “can do” people. Life will be far more pleasant. Volunteer endeavors will be more fun. Practice will be far less stressful.

Remember we cannot control the attitudes of others, but we can control our own. Aspire to have a “can do” attitude in all you do. Overcome obstacles in all areas of life. Act in a way that people love to have you around. You will not need to wear a Kando Horn for people to know; they will just be able to tell.

Jeffrey A. Myers (OD’84)
BuckEYE Editor

Jeffrey A. Myers (OD’84), BuckEYE EditorEditor's Letter

Summer tends to be a time in which we ask one another, “What have you been doing?” in a way that is different than normal. School children are often asked what they did on their summer vacation. My summer was planned to be fairly typical. A sixth trip to Liberia in West Africa supporting our scholarship program at Phebe School and attendance at Optometry’s Meeting in Washington, DC where I planned to meet up with my sister and niece would fill the first part of the summer.

I returned home from Liberia on June 5. About an hour into seeing patients on June 6, I received a call from the local fire chief, who insisted on talking to me. There had been a fire inspection of the office while I was gone, and I couldn’t comprehend why he had to talk to me about that in the middle of morning patient appointments. It turned out that his call had nothing to do with the fire inspection. He was calling to share that there was a fire at my home, now contained, that had started in the kitchen.

I was on my way home in less than three minutes, after explaining my predicament to two patients and letting my staff and other doctor figure out what to do with the remaining patients scheduled for the morning. The firefighters were mopping up when I arrived home, and I was able to enter the house fairly quickly. The fire started with a malfunction of the toaster, climbed a wall, through cabinets, and the ceiling into the attic. My wife, Joyce, was the last to leave that morning, at about 7:45 a.m. The fire dispatch call was at 8:58 a.m. So the fire burned - unabated - for 75-90 minutes.

Fire damage was limited to the kitchen, ceiling, and attic. Firefighters added two unexpected “skylights” in the roof, gained entry without using a key, pulled down two ceilings while another collapsed, and felt that a couple windows needed to be opened with an ax. As you would expect, the smoke was insidious in its damaging effects. Lost items include TVs, a stereo system, all appliances, virtually all furniture, all mattresses, and most kitchen pantry items and dishes. The reconstruction will include replacement of the entire roof structure, the roof, as well as gutting the kitchen, family room, living room, both bathrooms, and a bedroom or two. Our expected return date is March 1, 2018.

Counting our blessings, especially Margeaux Joy Shoup, our fourth grandchild, born on April 22, 2017.
Counting our blessings, especially
Margeaux Joy Shoup, our fourth
grandchild, born on April 22, 2017.

We have lived like gypsies in the interceding weeks, now in a large two-bedroom apartment with rented furniture until the reconstruction is done. But in the midst of all of this challenge, there have been countless blessings. They include:

  • No one was home, so no one was injured. It is just stuff, some replaceable, some not, but just stuff.
  • The paperboy passed and saw the smoke and called 911 before the fire damaged the entire house.
  • The battalion chief on duty and one of the firefighters are dear friends. Friendly faces mean a lot.
  • Our home insurance policy was in force. (Best news of the day).
  • Family brought us lunch, staff brought us dinner, and people called to offer us shelter for the next days.
  • We were able to meet with a highly recommended contractor and the insurance adjustor the next day.
  • Content recovery experts were on-site in a couple days, to begin to empty the contents of our home.
  • Dear friends have frequently offered meals and a listening ear.
  • Eight days before Optometry’s Meeting, I discovered my suits were lost, and Ginger Bishop at Macy’s took care of my needs.
  • Several changes to the house we had discussed will be able to be made in the reconstruction process.
  • We are really okay. It is just stuff, and we will persevere.

In the midst of all circumstances, blessings occur. Sometimes, we just have to look for them.

Jeffrey A. Myers (OD’84)
BuckEYE Editor

The “skylights” put in by the firefighters.
The “skylights” put in by the firefighters.
What is left of our kitchen, post-fire.
What is left of our kitchen, post-fire.

 

Jeffrey A. Myers (OD’84), BuckEYE EditorEditor's Letter

Seventeen years ago, I wrote an editorial about my first experience with cashierless checkout at a local grocery store. I have not made a habit of recurring themes, but the opportunity presented itself earlier this year.

I was in Philadelphia for a meeting, and as I was flying out of Philadelphia, I chose to have an early morning meal at the airport. As I sat at the restaurant counter, I was faced with the picture below. An iPad pro on a stand. The menu was on the iPad. In fact, the process is that one orders their entire meal on the iPad.

While the order is being prepared, the iPad is connected to the Internet. All the common social media sites are available, as well as CNN, the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg Business, Travel & Leisure, ESPN, a helicopter rental site and the airport information, all via apps. My bill was obviously paid without human interaction. The only human interaction was when my order was brought to me.

While efficient in many ways, this was a marginal experience for me. There are certainly times when traveling that time is of the essence, and I have little interest in interacting with anyone, sometimes because I am focused on a project while traveling. More often, when traveling alone, some human interaction is nice to have. Just having someone with a kind word, or some local knowledge makes the trip more enjoyable.

So, is this a glimpse of life to come? Will local restaurants adopt this concept in an effort to reduce labor costs and gain efficiency? A June 2017 report shares that McDonald’s, Wendy's and Panera Bread will collectively have thousands of in-store kiosks in place by the end of 2017. Digital ordering of pizza is about half of the orders in the industry. Starbucks reports about a third of its transactions are digital. Chipotle and Dunkin' Donuts have recently entered the digital market, and less than 10% of their sales are digital. This evidence would suggest it is not life to come; rather it is life that is here.

Does this signal the end of eat-in restaurants with table service? In three days over a recent weekend, we were at a restaurant in Lancaster, Ohio that had a 45-minute wait on Friday night (not uncommon); a restaurant that was busy on a Saturday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. but could handle more business; and a restaurant that was full and had people waiting on Sunday night at 6 p.m. No iPad or kiosk ordering in any of these locations.

Sometimes we want fast food on a menu we know that is quick and efficient, and can be just fine with little human interaction. Sometimes we want table service and someone to wait on us. Similarly, if we want a hamburger, sometimes a bag of White Castles will fill the bill, sometimes a couple of McDonald’s cheeseburgers hit the spot, sometimes we want a Wendy's double, and sometimes fresh ground beef that was grain-fed, a burger that is handcrafted and grilled over open fire is what we desire. All have different expectations, price points, and service that go along with them. We can choose what meets our desires.

Picture of a digital signFor those of us in practice, we have seen pressures from online ordering of eyewear and contact lenses. Neither of these has sounded the death knell for retail in-office sales of eyewear and contact lenses. While there has been an effect, practice continues. What these restaurant developments tell us is that people are looking for easy ways to interface and do business. We need to be better at providing ways for patients to interact with us, not just with ordering, but all interactions. And when patients arrive in our practice, they should be greeted and cared for by folks who are interested in caring for people. The competition is stronger than ever, and we must do our best to offer something no one else can offer.

Jeffrey A. Myers (OD’84)
BuckEYE Editor

Jeffrey A. Myers (OD’84), BuckEYE EditorEditor's Letter

Let's go back to 1918 for a moment. Among the memorable events of that year were the beginning of Daylight Savings Time, the premier of the first “Tarzan” movie, and the end of the “War to End All Wars,” now commonly called World War I. Three notable births occurred. First, evangelist Billy Graham and second, former broadcaster Paul Harvey. The third is a fellow that none of you would know personally – Gene Wilson.

Gene passed away in late January at the age of 99 years, three months, and one day. He was a farmer, living virtually his entire life in the same house on a farm that has been in his family since 1818. He was the last of seven children to pass, born the sixth of seven, and their average age at death was 89, with four over the age of 90 and three over the age of 95. Only one sister lived longer, passing at 100 years and six months. His parents were born in the 1870s during the presidencies of Ulysses Grant and Rutherford Hayes.

My experience with Gene, (and everyone who knew him called him Gene) began in May of 1970 when I became a scout in Boy Scout Troop 71 in Groveport, Ohio. As a dairy farmer, he would frequently leave campouts at four or five in the morning to go home to do the morning milking and then return to the campout. As scoutmaster for 28 years, he rarely missed a troop meeting and took the troop to summer camp every year. He attended the 1973 National Jamboree with five of his scouts, and backpacked at Philmont Scout Ranch in 1991, when he was 72 years old. Over a 21-year period as scoutmaster, he saw 46 young men achieve the rank of Eagle Scout, a significant accomplishment in a troop that rarely comprised more than 25 scouts. He was a part of the scouting program until his death, attending troop meetings until he was 96.

Troop 71’s scouts were Gene’s boys, hundreds of young men over six decades, cared for, encouraged, mentored, and prayed for by an adult who made them a priority. Gene just simply built us into better men than we would have been otherwise. He used the scouting program and his life to inspire us.

His legacy? For his 98th birthday, as well as for the calling hours following his death, dozens of men, from teenagers to men in their 70s, made time to be there because of the influence he had on them in countless known and unknown ways. His funeral, on a cold February Saturday, at his home church, saw 100 people in attendance.

Gene Wilson 1918-2018
Gene Wilson 1918-2018

That's Gene's legacy. What about yours? I have been around people who are deeply focused on their legacy in one arena of life or another. While I am not convinced that this should be one’s focus, there is truth in understanding that your actions, large and small, will create your legacy. Knowing your principles and priorities, caring for the advancement of others more than yourself, and living a life consistent with these thoughts can provide an example worthy of emulation in the areas of your life that you influence.

Give it some thought. An introverted dairy farmer left his indelible fingerprint on the lives of hundreds of men just by being himself, with little thought of what his legacy would be. Nonetheless, his legacy is powerful in those lives he touched. What can you begin doing today to strengthen the impact of your legacy?

"The great use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.
—William James

Jeffrey A. Myers (OD’84)
BuckEYE Editor

Jeffrey A. Myers (OD’84), BuckEYE EditorEditor's Letter

Earlier this summer, I made my seventh trip to Liberia in West Africa for an educational mission that a good friend and Liberian native, David Kudel, and I established in 2010. We have traveled each year beginning in 2010, except for 2014 and 2015 due to the Ebola crisis. Thanks to the support of our local church congregation and friends, we will present our 1,000th student scholarship this year.

Even in Liberia, there are things to learn about caring for people and handling business. David is pretty careful about the restaurants at which we eat in Monrovia. We have a couple places he trusts. We noticed that the proprietor of one of the places we frequent has a new restaurant. We decide to give it a shot.

As we enter the restaurant, tables are set for about 75 people with linen tablecloths, cloth napkins, napkin rings, real silverware, drinking glasses, and banquet chairs. It was beautiful. Jazz music plays in the background on a pretty substantial sound system, and the World Cup semifinal with Russia and Croatia is on the television. The only other people in the place are the bartender and the guard; not necessarily a good sign on a Saturday night at 7:30 p.m.

The menu is extensive with appetizers, soups, fish, chicken, beef, and pork. They even have prawns, shrimp, spareribs, burgers, and wraps. So many choices, how does one choose? David goes first and orders fish fingers – they don’t have it. He then orders beef fried rice, and they do have that. My turn and I order the tomato soup and the prawns. No prawns. I ask for the shrimp; no shrimp. I then ask the waitress to tell me what is available on the menu. She says to order something else. I counter that it will be easier to order if I know what is available. She reports that the fish, chicken, and hamburgers are available, but she is not sure about the fishburger. I ask for the fishburger and she reiterates she is doubtful about it, so I order a hamburger. And the waitress disappears.

We become engrossed in the World Cup match that ends in regulation and extra time in a 3-3 tie. Meanwhile, we have not seen our food. Forty-five minutes pass before we see the waitress and our food. David receives a huge plate of rice with beef. I receive a fishburger and fries. No tomato soup. We are told that the chef has gone home and the kitchen crew in the other restaurant does not know how to make it.

The chef has gone home. Lovely setting, beautifully appointed, air conditioning, TV, music, all ready for a fine dining experience, but it is all a facade because the chef has gone home. The menu is a sham due to availability or ignorance of preparation. They were not ready for prime time.

This can be likened to a practice where the doctor is not in the office when there are patients to be seen and nobody bothers to tell the patients. One element of handling this is the professional responsibility we have to be in the office when we have agreed to be there. The other element is one of managing expectations. If you cannot deliver your normal level of service, it is important to communicate that to your patients as quickly as possible.

What about you, are you ready for prime time? Do you have the equipment, products and trained personnel to help you to deliver a high level of service? Can you properly manage the cases that are regularly presented to you? Do you have an appropriate referral network of optometric and ophthalmological colleagues to manage those cases you cannot or are unwilling to manage?

I encourage you to not be like the chef who has gone home, leaving his business high and dry and unable to deliver the service promised.

If you are interested in our work in Liberia, you can review our blog: davidandjeffliberia.blogspot.com. Croatia did win that semifinal game 4-3 on penalty kicks.

Jeffrey A. Myers (OD’84)
BuckEYE Editor

Jeffrey A. Myers (OD’84), BuckEYE EditorEditor's Letter

Well, we are into that time of year again. The time when we are reminded to be thankful with a holiday named Thanksgiving. The time when many faiths celebrate some significant event in their belief or tradition. While we are reminded to be thankful, our media blitz has more to do with where to get the best sale before our neighbor gets it. We are told that more stuff is a good thing and that the more toys and stuff we accumulate, the more successful we will be seen to be. While I think most of us would agree that this statement is a facade, it doesn’t keep us from the malls or shopping websites.

While we are reminded to be thankful, do you take any real time to be thankful? A synonym for thankful is grateful. I like it better, because for me, it conveys a sense of humility. Have you taken some time this season to think about what you are grateful for?

As I mull this thought, I, like some of you, am guilty of not really elucidating my gratitude. So, let me share my thoughts and perhaps they will stimulate some of yours.

I am grateful for family. Our moms are still living; my mom is 83 and Joyce’s mom is 97. We are fortunate to still have this connection with our heritage and enjoy them. We are grateful for our children who, each in their own way, are weaving their life into the fabric of society. We are continually blessed by our grandchildren, each unique and special. Our siblings and their families add richness and depth to the family experience. We are grateful for all of them.

I am grateful for my health and home. Most days I feel 37 years old, though that is a long distance in the rear-view mirror. I have minimal aches and pains, and can do most physical things that I want to do. After experiencing the fire last year and being displaced for 11 months, I am grateful to be back in our new and improved home. While not totally settled, we are steadily making progress.

I am grateful for a profession that allows me to serve and care for people and improve their lives each day. I am grateful for the many opportunities I have had to serve within the profession and the very special experiences I have had through that service. I am grateful for the ability to give with my time, talents and gifts.

I am grateful for the many freedoms we have in this country and often take for granted. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve outside of the profession in many ways. It is with gratitude that I think of the many special opportunities I have had simply by saying “yes.”

What about you? Maybe it is worth a few moments this season to honestly think about and consider what it is that you are grateful for. If you have been fortunate as I have been, it may be a long list. Even if you are struggling with something right now, there is something that you can be grateful for. Start there, and you might be surprised how much you have to be grateful for.

Jeffrey A. Myers (OD’84)
BuckEYE Editor

 

Magazine cover photos from 2019

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Jeffrey A. Myers (OD’84), BuckEYE Alumni EditorAlumni Editor's Perspective

There is not a one of us who doesn’t face a challenge at some point in our life. It is a common aspect of every life. Whether a health challenge, a marital issue, passing of a loved one, a financial concern, difficulty with a child, or a practice/business issue, we will all face challenges, likely many of them, over the course of our lives. Some will be easily overcome; some will take every ounce of effort we can muster to withstand.

I don’t usually point to other articles in the magazine, but two of our articles highlight folks who are facing health challenges straight up. Emeritus Dean Richard Hill is one. While I highly respected him as he taught me corneal physiology, I have come to truly love this guy in the 35 years since I graduated and have had the privilege to call him a colleague. His approach to treatment for Parkinson’s disease, motivated by simply wanting to make the best of his remaining years, is like a true scientist. He asks the question, “How can I be better?” and uses the scientific method, so familiar to him, to get to the answer. Along the way, he inspires us and demonstrates by example, a way to face adversity, without fear and with confidence.

I was in school at the same time as Paul Endry (OD’85). I did not know him well, but we share many of the same experiences and friends. As I had the opportunity to interview him for the article, he explained the effects of a practice ending and life changing bicycling accident. While he now needs assistance for many tasks, it is his attitude that is powerful. He shared his story in a very matter-of-fact way, recognizing that there were many challenges in his life before this accident. He sees this as his current challenge, encompassing all his attention and energy. He looks to life after recovery and focuses on what will be. What a powerful way to approach an unexpected accident.

Recently, I attended a meeting where Vicky Schmidt spoke powerfully about her experiences in the health care system following an auto accident in 2001. A T-5 spinal cord injury has left her without the use of her legs. She also experienced a brain injury and collapsed lung. Her story of recovery was emotional because of what she went through worrying about her husband’s recovery from a traumatic brain injury sustained in the accident and the recovery of her two small children. These challenges were in addition to her own efforts to simply recover to be her best. A couple years ago, she became a wheelchair tennis champion. Through her whole presentation, there was never a complaint about the why of what happened, only on how she placed her attention on being her best and caring for her family.

We don’t usually choose our challenges; they often just appear. There is no shame in having challenges, we will all have them. Some only last a few minutes or a day or two. Some last months or years, and some last a lifetime. But how we face those challenges, how we handle adversity, that is a measure of our character. I am honored to have these folks in my awareness to inspire me when I face challenges. I can only hope to be as strong as they have been in facing the challenges of my life.

Jeffrey A. Myers (OD’84)
BuckEYE Alumni Editor

Jeffrey A. Myers (OD’84), BuckEYE Alumni EditorAlumni Editor's Perspective

Through my life, I have been blessed with reasonably good health. I have certainly had my fair share of minor aches and pains, but nothing that was truly debilitating. Earlier in life, 80+ mile backpacking trips were commonplace. Notwithstanding a 60th birthday this spring, most days I feel 37 years old. Truly, I have been fortunate.

In the last three months, terms like heel spur, plantar fasciitis, mildly bulging discs, sciatica, near-complete tear of the plantar fascia, and piriformis syndrome have all been added to my medical history. I have not been feeling 37 years old lately. Most every step for the last three months has been made with some level of awareness or pain. The pain has been debilitating enough that I was unable to walk and made an emergency room visit in an effort to get relief.

Twenty-four days of injected or oral steroids, two injections of Toradol, and maximum doses of ibuprofen have all been used to manage the pain/inflammation in an effort to make me comfortable. The use of a boot and massage therapy of the piriformis muscle by my wife have finally provided some relief. I believe I am healing now and recovering and seem to be better each day.

Clearly, I recognize that many of you have (bravely) faced much more significant diagnoses. Some of those have been lifethreatening or more debilitating or longer lasting than mine. My sharing is not intended to diminish the impact of those issues in your life. Rather, I tell my story to provide a platform to share a few observations about clinical patient care that should serve as good reminders for us.

First, address your patient’s chief complaint. Sometimes, we overlook the patient’s original complaint. Be certain that you are doing something to bring relief to the chief complaint. If you cannot, find a practitioner who can. That is the whole reason the patient is in front of you.

Second, we cannot make progress in treatment until the correct diagnosis is made. Little progress was made in my case until we determined that there was a partial plantar fascia tear and that a spasm of the piriformis muscle was the source of the sciatica. Treatment for those issues has brought relief. Know that when you institute a treatment and the patient does not improve, that should indicate a review to be sure you have the right diagnosis. Conditions do not usually get better unless you are treating for the right one.

Third, sometimes there is more than one diagnosis. A chief complaint of pain following an ocular tree branch injury may be explained by a corneal abrasion, but don’t overlook the iritis, and plan to dilate so you don’t miss a retinal detachment. Manage all diagnoses. In my case, both the foot and the hip have needed treatment to get relief.

Lastly, being able to responsibly manage pain is a gift that we have to share with patients. Ocular pain can be debilitating, whether from abrasion or iritis. The provider who manages that pain will be the patient’s hero.

I am grateful for the nine healthcare providers who have been a part of my case, for my wife’s therapy and care, and my office staff who have helped me to miss virtually no work due to this episode.

Jeffrey A. Myers (OD’84)
BuckEYE Alumni Editor

Twenty years ago, Joseph Barr (OD’77, MS’79) visited me on a Wednesday afternoon when I was working in the Disease Clinic at the college. He had a volunteer proposal for me. How would I like to serve as the Editor of the college’s alumni newsletter? While I had handled an organizational newsletter a number of years before, I really had no idea the journey that could occur depending on how I answered the question.

The answer was yes, and the journey has been a blessing in many ways. As a result of answering that question, many opportunities were opened up to me. Included was the privilege of serving the college under four deans, writing 54 editorials and 67 articles. Unique in the alumni communications world, my service as Editor was voluntary. I followed the service of Arol Augsburger (OD/MS’71) and Dr. Barr as former editors. We were able to move to a color format and magazine quality over the last 20 years and won two university awards. Now, I write my final BuckEYE editorial.

The real privilege of the position has been to meet, get to know and to tell the stories of some of our amazing alumni. The alumni stories that have been told span the Class of 1937 to 2007. The stories include deans, industry vice-presidents, military leaders, hobbyists, musicians, authors, travelers, legacy families, missionaries, researchers, and volunteers in the profession. All the stories are different, each one fascinating in its own way. Getting to live in our subject’s world for a short period of time to understand their passion has been incredibly enriching.

I am grateful for the freedom of creativity offered by each of the four deans I have served; Richard Hill, OD, PhD; John Schoessler (BS’65, OD’66, MS’68, PhD’71); Melvin Shipp, OD, MPH, DrPH; and Karla Zadnik, OD, PhD. I value the trust each of them placed in our team. I appreciate the leadership and officers of the Optometry Alumni Society over that time including presidents Richard Marquardt (OD’97), Roger Saneholtz (OD’74), Vince Driggs (OD’85), and Stephanie Baxter (OD’08) who have been unwavering in their support.

It is the relationships built with the members of the production team over the years that are most valuable. There have been too many people to name them all here. Each has brought their unique experience and perspective to the effort and created the BuckEYE as you know it today. Robert Newcomb (OD’71, MPH) has been a consistent cheerleader for the college and our alumni. Barbara Fink (OD, MS’85, PhD’87) consistently championed diversity on campus and through magazine articles. Rachel Childress has gotten to know our alumni as part of her own family over the last years. Sarah Cupples has taken the helm as Editor in this last year. She is eminently qualified to do the job and will do nothing but make our alumni look good.

The BuckEYE as you know it today would not look as fine as it does without our Senior Graphic Designer Kerri McTigue. She is a consummate professional and takes the words that many of us write and makes them look fabulous every single time. We are fortunate to have her on our team.

Thank you to each and every person that has helped in some way over the last 20 years. It has truly been my privilege to serve and has been a labor of love. Almost since my graduation in 1984, I have been a volunteer somewhere in optometry. This has been my favorite and most rewarding opportunity. Thank you to all, and please accept my gratitude.

Jeffrey A. Myers (OD’84)
BuckEYE Alumni Editor