There are times when I wish I had eyes in the back of my head.
A good example is when I’m trying to back slowly out of a parking space while flanked by a pair of ginormous SUVs.
I don’t have periscope eyes, so I can’t peek around blind corners. Plus, my neck is stiff after years of hunching over a slit lamp. As a result, I can’t turn my head as well to get a good look around.
No matter how slowly I creep, a pedestrian or speeding vehicle always seems to cross my path.
Previously from Dr. Brown: It’s not easy seeing green
Enter my new sedan with all its safety features, including a pair of forward-facing “eyes” that help me stay on the road and avoid hitting vehicles in front of me, a blind spot monitor, and a high-resolution backup camera that seems to have as good a view as many military night vision scopes.
But my favorite of all is the cool “cross traffic” alert that sounds an alarm when I’m in reverse and pedestrians or vehicles are about to pass behind me.
Even if I were to have a total brain fart or lose my hearing (both increasingly possible) and keep backing up, the safety system completely takes control of the car and brings it to an abrupt stop before I do something I regret.
The designers of my car knew that no matter how good a driver I fancy myself to be, I’m not infallible. The extra technology fills in some of the gaps that my aging gray matter and synapses fail to connect.
A similar scene played out in my exam lane during a recent encounter with a patient who had diabetic retinopathy.
Extra eyes within the exam room
I’ve always prided myself on my ability to visualize clinically significant macular edema (CSME) and passing that skill on to my students and residents.
“Don’t look at the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE),” I tell them. “Look in front of it.”