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Cover Focus | June 2019

Technologies That Tell Us Where Ophthalmology is Heading

About 2 decades ago, long before I had to juggle the responsibilities that come along with a professional career, marriage, being a mother to three daughters, and training for Ironmans and endurance running, and in the stage of my life when I had a lot more disposable time on my hands, I loved reality TV. I’d nestle up on the couch to watch an episode or two of CBS’s “Survivor” and “The Amazing Race,” NBC’s “The Bachelor,” MTV’s “The Real World,” or just about anything on HGTV.

Nowadays I don’t watch much TV, if any at all, but every once in a while I find myself lured back to reality shows. Late in the night, as I am nursing my 6-month-old, Melanie, I might throw on an episode of HGTV’s “Fixer Upper” with power couple Chip and Joanna Gaines or Netflix’s “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” with the lovable Antoni, Jonathan, Karamo, Tan, and Bobby.

Even these modern takes on reality TV include at least one mainstay from the original reality TV that I grew up watching: Each character is, so to speak, typecast. The villain, the victim, the loner, the partier, the bad boy (and girl), the class clown, the dreamer. This list goes on. Anyone who watches this type of programming knows that each individual is more dynamic than how he or she is portrayed, but TV networks seem to love to label a person by his or her strongest personality trait.

Something similar can happen in ophthalmology, where there is tendency to think about a certain technology or treatment in its simplest terms—what it was designed to do or to treat. But each one tells a larger story, of the innovation that has come before and will come after. By looking as a whole at the technologies and treatments that are on the cutting edge now, we can see where ophthalmology is heading.

The articles in this cover focus are not exhaustive, and there are many more technologies and treatments that tell us where ophthalmology is heading that either are available today or are being researched. We hope that the topics covered here do, however, represent some of the things we could potentially see in the future of ophthalmology.

Laura Straub

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