You have to admit it: “Vickers School of Optometry” sounds very impressive. All I really need to get started is, say, one student and his $200,000 tuition. I already have lensometers, phoropters, penlights and so forth. I even have the most important thing that every optometry school needs to be legit: The old guy in the clinic. Me.
I’ve always wanted to be the old guy in the clinic. I’ll never forget old Dr. Rybachuk calling me into his office to ask what I planned to do for a living after optometry school. I proudly chirped, “I’m going back to West Virginia to be an eye doctor!” He leaned back, eyebrows raised, hitched up his pants and replied, “No—really.”
At the new Vickers School of Optometry, our single student will receive an unparalleled education. That’s for sure. Here’s a peek at the curriculum:
• Integrated Biological Sciences. We’ll spend a couple hours chatting about all the “biological sciences” out there—none of which will make Mrs. Nono like her new reading glasses, but oh well.
• Physiological Optics. Back in the day, stimulus spatial frequency and pupil apodization meant something in this country. My student will take a real close look at Borish and we’ll use the critically important information to crank-call ophthalmologists.
• Practice Management. “What insurance do you take?” Does anything else matter? Of course. One must have a working toilet in the office. (This course will be pretty simple.)
• Contact Lenses. It turns out that all the 14-year-old girls in the world already have contact lenses so we’ll concentrate on 50-year-old girls who hate glasses. If you get them happy in contact lenses, you graduate with honors. (This course will take a couple years.)
• Opticianry. When my student applies for a residency in glaucoma, he or she will proudly have vast knowledge of nosepads and pantoscopic tilt. Most patients will never have glaucoma, but all will hate sore noses.
• Public Health. You can’t call yourself a doctor unless you have cursory knowledge of how health care is (d)evolving. Knowing your practice is just as important as knowing the health care complaint line, which I conveniently keep in my cell phone. You’ll recognize this number—202-456-1111—as the direct line to the White House. I offer it to my patients when they get annoyed with our incessant keyboarding or don’t want to tell us their weight and height.
• Refraction. Patients don’t give a crap about their epiretinal membrane and peripheral drusen. They do give a crap about seeing road signs and reading medicine bottles.
• Integrative Organ Systems. As a guitar player, I’ve found that it’s really hard to integrate organ systems. Many optometrists mess up their rock ‘n’ roll by minimizing the guitar and emphasizing the keyboards. My student will listen to “Whole Lotta Love” until their rock and roll is unmatched by any other school of optometry.
More young ODs are doing residencies. I can’t blame them. It sure beats working for a living. With all this new technology, it’s kinda like living in Mom’s basement at age 30 and playing video games all day. Vickers School of Optometry will only offer residencies to docs who have been in private practice for 25 years or more. We need all the help we can get if we ever want to be the old guy in the clinic someday. n