Looking back over the past year, filled with quarantines and lockdowns, I got to thinking about the famous quote sometimes attributed to Einstein, that the definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” But can it work in reverse? Can being forced to do the same thing over and over again—like, say, sitting in the house for 12 months—and HOPING for a different result make you a little insane too?

After witnessing a large-scale, prospective, randomized, multicenter study (n=7.7 billion), it seems that yes, indeed, a pandemic lockdown can make you a wee bit crazy.

But do these effects of the pandemic have to be permanent? Is it possible for us to find a way out? If so, how?

Unfortunately, I don’t have clear-cut answers to those questions, but one thing that helps a lot of people during trying times is actually—paradoxically—reaching out and helping someone else. Helping to ease others’ suffering is a balm for your own, and ophthalmologists are perfectly positioned to help many people who really need it.

Specifically, blindness consistently ranks among individuals’ worst fears when it comes to their health—right up there with cancer and heart disease. Though losing one’s sight is truly a frightening proposition, and some diseases still resist treatment, you as an ophthalmologist—and a cataract surgeon in particular—have the ability to restore sight that was lost, to allay what might be some patients’ darkest fear.

But what does a cataract surgeon fear? A tough case, riddled with the potential for complications that could result in a patient losing some vision? If that’s the case, then allow us to help you with this month’s articles on how to be prepared for the cases in which things don’t go so smoothly: You’ll learn ways to handle cases of zonular weakness and malpositioned intraocular lenses; the pros and cons of key cataract surgery techniques, as told by your colleagues; and how to manage challenging, sometimes nightmare-inducing cases of cataract in the setting of uveitic glaucoma. 

There’s good news on the COVID front too: As I write this, just over 12 percent of the U.S. population has been vaccinated, with more joining those ranks every day. That, and the first hints of spring you’re no doubt seeing as you read this, are enough to lift anyone’s spirits. 

It’s enough to make you go out and do something different and, hopefully, get a very different result than you got in 2020.



— Walter Bethke
Editor in Chief