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2020: What drives ODs crazy during the holidays


It’s 2020—what doesn’t drive optometrists crazy this year?

Optometry Times® asked Editorial Advisory Board members about holiday frustrations….see what they said!

But first, take a look at past suggestions:

What drives ODs crazy during the holidays 2019 edition

What drives ODs crazy during the holidays

6 things that drive ODs crazy during the holidays

15 things that drive ODs crazy during the holidays

Milton Hom, OD, FAAO

Editorial Advisory Board member

Azusa, CA

In past years, things usually slow down during the holidays. People spend more on gifts, travel, etc. With COVID-19, docs are busier than ever, especially with reduced scheduling and staff shortages. So before, lots of extra time during the holidays; nowadays not enough time during the holidays.

Mo Rafieetary, OD, FAAO

Editorial Advisory Board member

Memphis, TN

One thing might drive us crazy during holidays is a catch-22. Patients who are demanding follow-up visits or procedures at the end of the year since they have met their insurance deductibles. On one hand, it drives business; on the other, it can overburden an already busy schedule.

Related: ODs look back on 2020

Kathy Mastrota, OD, FAAO

New York City

Like many, the holiday season is my favorite time of the year.

In New York, the air becomes crisp and fresh.

I relish in wrapping gifts, preparing meals, lighting candles, and Christmas Eve Mass as I ready for sharing Christmas Day with my oh-so-small family.

It's pretty tough to get me down during this season—the holiday spirit bubbles within me.

Related: Holiday dos and don’ts for ODs in 2020

Chris Wroten

Editorial Advisory Board member

Hammond, LA

Patients waiting until the last minute to try to get surgery before year’s end due to deductibles renewing.

Mile Brujic, OD, FAAO

Editorial Advisory Board member

Bowling Green, OH

COVID and 2020.

This statement from a patient: “I’ll probably wait to get those new glasses. I have a lot of Christmas shopping to do.”

Jade Coats, OD

Editorial Advisory Board member

Rogers, AR

What drives ODs crazy during the holidays is when patients wait until the last possible week to use their benefits, then are mad that they can not be accommodated in such a short amount of time.

Related: ODs look to what 2021 will bring

Paul Chous, OD, FAAO

Editorial Advisory Board member

Tacoma, WA

No-shows are particularly distressing because of the high demand for eye care vis á vis utilizing vision insurance benefits by year’s end.

Patients who still don’t know how to wear a mask properly (cover your nose!!) after months.

Bill Townsend, OD, FAAO

Editorial Advisory Board member

Canyon, TX

Finishing up the year getting all the financials completed before the end of the year.

Leo Semes, OD, FAAO

Editorial Advisory Board member

Ponte Verde Beach, FL

Patients with unspent health savings accounts (HAS) waiting until the last minute to use them.

Justin Bazan, OD

Editorial Advisory Board member

Brooklyn, NY

Finding time to get everyone who needs to use up benefits seen! With COVID restrictions in place, it has become an extra challenge. Where we might have said, “No problem, just pop in and we will work you into the schedule,” now we need to come in early or stay late to accommodate the last-minute wave of patients who need to be seen before the end of the year.

Michael Brown, OD, FAAO

Editorial Advisory Board member

Huntsville, AL

Sappy, silly, upbeat Santa songs that hinder my savoring the many shades and flavors of my traditional holiday funk. Give me instead John Fahey's holiday guitar, Gregorian chant, and Lessons and Carols from King's College Choir, Cambridge.

Jeffry Gerson, OD, FAAO

Editorial Advisory Board member

Shawnee, KS

No shows.

The popcorn, cookies, and other goodies. How can I resist them all?

Pamela Miller, OD

Editorial Advisory Board member

Highland, CA

For doctors who are new in practice, as well as those who have been around for some time, it is likely that typically December is a lower income month, while the insurances, employment taxes, bonuses, property taxes, etc., are all pretty much due in December and the first part of the year.

It can be a big financial hit unless you have been saving up, paying ahead, or are an employee. Business owners are definitely being hit hard during this time of the year and even more so this year due to all the other outside influences.

An additional concern this year is the backlog of orders not being processed in California for doctors caring for Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP) patients—those jobs go to the Prison Authority and are currently backed up several months. Revenue doesn’t come in until the doctor receives the jobs.

The third element is the decrease in reimbursement by third parties and most especially the changes in some plans, like VSP.

Diana Canto-Sims, OD

Editorial Advisory Board member


Those last-minute patients on December 31 demanding to be seen because their vision plan benefits expire in 2 hours.

Barbara Fluder, OD

Editorial Advisory Board member

Valdosta, GA

In our practice, the biggest thing that drives us crazy is everyone trying to have cataract surgery before the end of the year. Unfortunately, they think they are the only ones who thought of this.

James Hill, OD, FAAO

Editorial Advisory Board member

Charleston, SC

Normally I would say losing sight of what is truly important in life with the go, go, go of the hustle and bustle of the busy holiday season. But, 2020 is different. I think we have all slowed down, had time for self-reflection, and appreciate how fast things can change in our lives.

Related: What ODs are grateful for this Thanksgiving, COVID edition

Scott Hauswirth, OD, FAAO

Editorial Advisory Board member

Aurora, CO

My answer to this is not much...Christmas Day “emergency calls” for medication refills and other items are a tad annoying. However, many people spend the holidays alone—and especially this year—and I think sometimes are just looking for human interaction. I think it can go a long way to spend just a few extra seconds or minutes making sure we project warmth and caring during the holiday season.

Melissa Barnett, OD, FAAO

Editorial Advisory Board member

Sacramento, CA

Patients who wait until the last week in December to schedule an eye examination to use their benefits.

Ben Gaddie, OD, FAAO

Editorial Advisory Board member

Louisville, KY

Having to work while all our friends and industry partners are off work for the holidays.

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