Chocolate and Onions

By Andrew S. Morgenstern, OD

Admit it: The first person who comes to mind when you think about cosmetic medicine is me, Andy Morgenstern. Who better to lead into AOC’s issue on aesthetics? Allow me to digress for a moment to properly introduce the issue. (Don’t worry, there’s a point to all of this.)

Joan Rivers was one of my favorite comedians. Not only did she break the mold of women in comedy, she did it with confidence that transformed her into a lightning rod for taboo topics—including her own penchant for plastic surgery. She embraced the adage that, if you can’t make fun of yourself, then you can’t make fun of anybody. Some of my favorite Rivers quotes were about cosmetic surgery. For example:

• “I’ve had so much plastic surgery. When I die, they will donate my body to Tupperware.”
• “I wish I had a twin, so I’d know what I could look like without plastic surgery.”
• “My face has been tucked in more times than a bedsheet at a Holiday Inn.”

It’s no secret that patients’ interest in wellness and cosmetic medicine continues to grow, especially in recent years. Common sense and professional experience tell us that if a patient is truly interested in a cosmetic product or voluntary aesthetic procedure, but an optometrist does not offer it, then that patient will likely spend money on that service at a competitor’s office.

By far, my absolute favorite Rivers quote is, “I succeeded by saying what everyone else was thinking.” Just like an eye doctor, she knew that her patients (in her case, the audience) came to her for therapy of the comic variety. She credited her success with taking the opportunity to talk to them about what they were thinking—and then offering them what they wanted.

Patients have questions for their doctors. Sometimes they vocalize them, and sometimes they don’t. Many times, patients have questions that go unanswered. It is your job—both for the satisfaction of your patients and for the health of your practice—to vocalize and offer all the procedures and products that you believe are in the best interest of your patients.

Cosmetic medicine can be a practice game-changer. When implemented correctly, it injects new (and often recurrent) revenue streams. It generates new patients that become dependent on the practice. Referrals increase, and your patients are happy because you helped solve their problems.

If I’m being completely honest, Andy Morgenstern and cosmetic medicine go together about as well as chocolate and onions. Thankfully, I have friends such as my co-Chief Medical Editor Walt Whitley, OD, MBA, and the Dry Eye Divas—Leslie O’Dell, OD; Laura Periman, MD; and Amy Gallant Sullivan, BS—who are experts in this department. Start turning the pages and let the cover focus authors guide you through this issue of AOC, which Walt had significant input in developing.

Most important, take Joan’s advice and start talking about what everyone is thinking.


Andrew S. Morgenstern, OD, FAAO
Chief Medical Editor