Introduction

Sixteenth-century conquistadors and 21st-century optometry patients have little in common. The former, obsessed with spreading the glory of the empire and amassing mounds of gold, destroyed kingdoms atop horses. The latter, obsessed only with their smartphone screens, merely place their ocular surfaces at risk. (No destroying the Templo Mayor in Tenochtitlan for them, thank you very much. They would rather read this news article while waiting in line at the grocery store—a much better use of their time.)

Still, humankind manifests common threads of passion from millennium to millennium and from century to century. Cave paintings demonstrate that the desire to represent the world existed before the written word. Ancient myths reveal that a contemporary child’s questions about rainbows’ origins were also asked by early civilization’s shamans. Expeditions for the Fountain of Youth show that the desire to turn back time existed well before Cher sang about the possibility.

In that sense, perhaps modern optometry patients do share some qualities with the conquistadors. As legend tells us, Ponce de León led an expedition in 1513 into the bogs of La Florida to find the Fountain of Youth. He may not be so different from the patient who casually complains about his or her crow’s feet while sitting on the other side of the slit lamp. They’re both seeking the same thing, after all: the trappings of youth.

Modern medicine offers luxuries that Ponce de León did not find in the bogs: affordable ways to hide the wrinkles and lines that remind patients that they’re getting older. Luckily for optometrists, incorporating those luxuries into their practices is well within their professional purview. Indeed, as doctors who spend their time exclusively around the eyes and orbits, who better to suggest a quick pick-me-up to the nearby skin?

Inside this issue’s cover focus is a series of articles outlining why the marriage between optometry and aesthetics is good for patients and practices, as well as crash courses in the basics of aesthetic care. Readers with questions are encouraged to contact the authors via the information in their biography boxes at the end of each article.

And if you find that your patients aren’t asking about cosmetic contact lenses, presbyopia correction, cosmetic use around the eye, and fillers/injectables, ask them where they get their water. Maybe they found that fountain Ponce de León was seeking so long ago.