I think Ive seen it all. If I had a nickel for every time Ive said that, Id be rich. If I had two nickels for every time I thought it, but was wrong, Id be really rich. Now, imagine if I had a dime for every time I employed a clich.

I digress.

It just seems as though theres nothing that has not been thought of, invented, practiced, or in some way used to set ones services apart from the rest. We are part of a generation of specialization. Take my gym, for example.

My gym recently underwent a massive renovation to incorporate a new Mind-Body Center. This is how they set themselves apart. This is why I joined. You see, I have a thing for yoga. After all, what could be better than a sweat-free workout? Plus, it relaxes me.

Sometimes, when we go into corpse pose, I even sleep through my workout. Note that the corpse pose involves lying comfortably and remaining still; it is generally considered one of the most difficult yoga poseshence, my love affair with this form of exercise.

I also like yoga because it rarely changes. I take the same classes with the same instructor every week. But, last week, a new fill-in instructor appeared. She began the class by announcing that her style was likely different than what we were used to. Great, I thought, as I prepared to make my escape. But next, she announced that we were going to take it very slowly and do a lot of relaxing stretches in the lotus (seated) position. Hmm. Maybe I would excel at this new specialized yoga. I stayed.

Five minutes later, I was saying it again: I think Ive seen it all. Her kind of yoga involved YOGA FOR YOUR EYES! I really couldnt believe it. I wanted to stop her. Was this even safe? I couldnt help myself; I had to stay and watch.

By the end of the class, I was convinced that the instructor was insane. But, the oddest thing about the class was the response she got at the end. People clapped! So loud, in fact, that it woke me up. Normally we all shuffle out like zombies, but not after this class. Yoga-for-Your-Eyes-Lady, as I now call her, was a big hit. Everyone was asking questions after class, and wanted to know when and where she would be teaching again.

I dont get it, but for whatever reason, this instructors ability to offer something different was enough to energize the entire class except me (I was just scared and tired). But, I think the take-home point is that finding a way to set yourself or your services apart from others in your profession can lead to tremendous success.

Finding a niche or a specialty probably makes a lot more sense for optometry than it does for yoga. As such, it is the focus of the feature story, Make Your Specialty Your Success, (see page 29). Associate Editor Jennifer Kirby looks at two specialties this month: sports vision and computer vision. (Next month, look for part 2, which will explore contact lenses, childrens vision and low vision specialties.)

Specialization is also a main focus of this entire issue of Review. In the pages that follow, youll learn a lot about ways to set yourself apart. In Why Test for Blood Pressure, optometrists Christopher W. Lievens and Sonya Smoak describe how you can make a difference in the growing problem of hypertension (page 54). Also, in How to Put Genetics into Your Practice Now, Charles M. Wormington, Ph.D., O.D., offers eight ways to incorporate new genetic thinking into your diagnosis and management (page 61).

Finally, for information on a very unique optometric specialty, check out CSEYE, (page 78). Here, youll learn how the eye is used in forensic medicine, and how you can help detect and prevent crimes. This article is a little different, but it will certainly convince you that you have NOT seen it all.

Vol. No: 141:11Issue: 11/15/04