I am honored to leave you with my thoughts as we start looking forward to 2021. Many of us are guilty of wishing 2020 away. This year went something like January, February, November. It is as if the months in between just disappeared from sight and memory. It has been the strangest of years, possibly in our lifetimes. December may be a great time to pause and reflect—about ourselves, about our nearest and dearest, about our patients, about our practices, about our staff, about the world at large, about our planet. Are we making sustainable choices in our lives?
David Attenborough, aged 93 years, released the documentary A Life on Our Planet: My Witness Statement and a Vision for the Future. After watching this incredible 83-minute documentary, I could not help but think anew about these questions that face us all. Sir David documents how our natural world has changed in his lifetime. We all must pull together with more sustainable plans for the future.
What about our medical specialty? In learning more and more about our area of specialization, do we not potentially start knowing less about other areas of ophthalmology, not to mention about medicine or general well-being? Is this sustainable? Some key opinion leaders believe not. At the recent virtual ESCRS meeting, a keynote topic was dedicated to this question.1
This brings me to the November/December issue of CRST Europe. As anterior segment surgeons, we need to know about the optic nerve, the macula, and the retina. Our contributors address a broad range of glaucoma- and retina-related topics, including comanaging patients with glaucoma (pg 32), when to use MIGS (pg 36), IOL selection in retina patients (pg 44), and much more.
In ophthalmology, we need collaboration. In eye care, we need improved collaboration between optometry and ophthalmology. We need to focus on being more patient-centric. We need to provide better patient experiences, greater convenience, improved safety, and increased efficacy. In this way, we sustain our profession and our service to the community at large.
Attitudes have changed this year. Consider how we think about essential workers. We live in an era when governments have access to free money. Let us look toward a more sustainable future. Let us expand the safety net for all. Let us train workers for better skills and hence better futures. Nothing is prewritten. We get to write our own futures.
Have a wonderful, festive season of peace, reflection, good health, and good company. Let us look forward to 2021 with hope and a sense of responsibility and sustainability.
Arthur B. Cummings, MB ChB, FCS(SA), MMed(Ophth), FRCS(Edin)
Associate Chief Medical Editor
Physician CEO, Wellington Eye Clinic, and Consultant Ophthalmologist, Beacon Hospital, Dublin, Ireland
1. Lynch P. Excessive subspecialisation in medicine is not sustainable. EuroTimes. October 2, 2020. Accessed November 11, 2020. https://www.eurotimes.org/excessive-subspecialisation-in-medicine-is-not-sustainable/