few months ago, I got a piece of glass in my eye while repairing a window, causing a conjunctival laceration. It was a Saturday evening, and my eye was starting to bleed. 

Instead of going to the ER, I called my optometrist. The office was closed, but she provided her cell number for emergencies. She took a detailed history over the phone, called in a prescription for an antibiotic and advised me of signs of infection to look for. If it worsened, she said, I should come in for an urgent visit on Monday morning. Then she went back to baking her Christmas cookies. No big deal; all in a day’s work.

It didn’t occur to me until later just how radical all that would have seemed not that long ago—after-hours call service by an OD, ocular injury risk assessment and triage, even the prescribing of a therapeutic pharmaceutical agent. But it all felt perfectly natural. 

When I started in this field (24 years ago!), none of that would have happened. Most optometrists subsisted on vision care—refraction and dispensing were their bread and butter. Clinical care didn’t go much beyond routine screenings. 

It’s exciting to see how much the profession has evolved and flourished, and truly gratifying to have played a small part in encouraging it through my efforts as a medical editor serving the field. Review of Optometry has always championed the advancement of optometrists’ clinical skills, and we continue that mission to this day.

In addition to launching a new column in February called Urgent Care that covers just such a scenario as I experienced myself, this month we kick off another forward-thinking department: Neuro Clinic. New columnists Michael Trottini, OD, and Michael DelGiodice, OD delve into topics in neuro-ophthalmic care for the practicing optometrist in 2015. Their debut column discusses a case of suspicious optic disc pallor that led them to order an MRI, identify an aneurysm and refer to neurosurgery. From the OD to the OR! Impressive, most impressive.

Also this month, we emphasize diagnostic skills and techniques so that you can make the all-important call with confidence.“Outside of laboratory settings, hard data is hard to come by; we often must rely on clinical instincts and expertise,” Blair Lonsberry, OD, says in his article about point-of-care testing. Building up those instincts is this month’s issue focus.

Optometry has progressed by leaps and bounds in the last two decades, and Review is pleased to be in the vanguard with you. But we’re glad to stay grounded too, having also launched a column on tried-and-true refraction last month. “Thank you for the recent Focus on Refraction article,” a reader wrote. “We in the trenches see so few things on these subjects we deal with day in and day out, as we do everything we can to help our patients to see clearly and comfortably.” Vision is just as vital as eye health, and we honor that great strength while still helping the profession to grow.