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Up Front | Mar 2003

With a Little Help From Our Friends

Does any single person really know it all? No way! That is why we make and maintain friendships in our professional and personal lives: to broaden our knowledge and perspective. This truism certainly applies to ophthalmic surgeons. Maybe the greater the degree of one's specialization, the more one depends on others.Like all medical students, as I passed through rotations, I became inundated with data from each discipline, including lists of differential diagnoses, invasive and noninvasive imaging and testing, treatment options, and more. At some point, I sat back and wondered how in the world my father, a general practitioner, survived a day on the job. I realized that no single person can fully comprehend all aspects of medicine, so I decided to enter a specialty. What better way to master a field than to select a single area of focus? The eye is only one organ system.

As I delved into ophthalmology, I again realized that no single person can fully comprehend all the aspects of ophthalmic disease and surgery and perform every procedure optimally. What was I to do? I completed a fellowship in cornea and refractive surgery.

Now, imagine walking down a busy Manhattan street, being approached by someone who asks your profession, and responding, “corneal specialist?” The blank stare and utter amazement of the inquirer should be hilarious to anyone. What if the inquirer then asked, “Do you specialize in the right or the left cornea?” You could reply, “Yes, I only work on the left, central corneas. I refer out all left, peripheral cornea cases.” If you specialize in cataract and intraocular surgery, just modify the above discussion.

You may ask what point I am trying to make. When someone focuses deeply on cataract and/or refractive surgery, he inevitably seeks help less frequently from a trusted and respected colleague in another field. In this and ensuing editions of Cataract & Refractive Surgery Today, we will consult experts on other aspects of ophthalmic disease in an effort to educate and update our readership on specific topics that relate to our collective clinical and surgical interests. These experts can help teach us how our surgeries affect other aspects of the visual system and ocular health. This month's focus on the cornea will be direct. It aims to augment the success of all our readers' beloved endeavors as cataract and refractive surgery specialists. Please enjoy this edition of CRSToday!

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