A bittersweet and optimistic close to 2021

From the Chief Optometric Editor

I write this month’s editorial as I sit on a plane bound for Charlotte from Boston. I am returning from the American Academy of Optometry’s annual conference, and it has been terrific! The education was stellar as expected, safety protocols put in place were appropriate, and it was just great seeing people again. The familial aspects of optometry cannot be overstated. We truly are family. I saw people I haven’t seen in years, and it was as though we had been apart for a week or so. Also, industry support was very noticeable. It always is (thanks to the consistent support we get from industry), but this year it was exceptionally apparent. I first thought my perception was off because I’ve been away, but I was wrong.

A course I particularly enjoyed was “Life of a Novel Drug: From Birth to FDA Approval” presented by Roya Attar, OD, MBA, FAAO, and Mohammad Rafieetary, OD, FAAO. I found it kind of fascinating how drugs gain approval through various Food and Drug Administration channels as well as how we differ from Europe. Those who know me best probably think I’m just being nice because Drs Attar and Rafieetary are good friends of mine, but I have to say they took a seemingly dry topic and made it more than worthy of my attention.

One aspect of the conference made me sad, however. As many of you are aware, Gretchyn M. Bailey, NCLC, FAAO, our editor in chief and content channel director, has moved away from Optometry Times®. I am thankful she is staying in the eye care arena, but this meeting was different. We would typically spend a portion of the conference in a makeshift office located in some corner of the hotel lobby as we held meetings back-to-back for the better part of a morning. We jokingly called it “holding court." If we saw value in attending any event, day or night, we went with our Optometry Times® hats on. I will miss working with her and truly appreciate all that she did to make Optometry Times® the publication it is today. I wish her all the best.

As we all look to close out another memorable year, we turn our eyes to 2022 in wonder of what it will bring. What pharmaceuticals and technologies are going to come down the pipeline in the next year? What aspects of eye care in the arena of COVID-19 will have staying power? What aspects of conference attendance in the arena of COVID-19 will have staying power?

We’ll just have to wait and see, and, as this year comes to a close, I’m very thankful that we will wait and see together as what we are: a family.

Happy New Year from all of us at Optometry Times®. We thank you for your readership and for the opportunity for us to deliver on our promise to you: practical chairside advice