My kids have always been a lot smarter at math than me. In high school my son used to walk up to the board in AP calculus and fix the teacher’s mistakes so the problem would come out right. My daughter aced advanced physics in college despite a professor who apparently believed women were not genetically strong enough for such a “manly endeavor.” Jerk. 

So imagine my surprise when they both decided they did not want to become optometrists because they were intimidated by the math. (Now I know they just wanted to do something else.)

Yes, math is part of optometry, and the math we do is the physics of optics on steroids—the dreaded physiological optics. Now, I was never any good at math. I am more poet than abacist. I have no clue how I passed any course involving mathematics. In fact, I am not completely sure I actually did pass any course involving mathematics. Through optometry school, I never, ever checked my grade on any test I took in four years. I figured they’d call me if I failed and they never did. They gave me a diploma, so I assume I passed. If not, I hope they’re not reading this column, as my 36-year career may veer wildly to my fallback of hot dog vendor. 

Just in case, I have decided to use my creative right brain—apparently I have no left brain—to invent some mathematical equations that will keep them busy enough they won’t have time to dig through the PCO records to see if I passed math. 

Here goes:

  • OD years + (Pecan π × ∞) = My current weight    
  • 80° + sunny ÷ # family members appointed = 100% no shows
  • (Age + ♂) × 5 = minimum # of days he wears a monthly disposable CL 
  • (OD schools ÷ # of states) + 1 = 2 [note that the answer will probably change to 3 by 2021]
  • Diopters × ∞ = the add power I need these days
  • [(# × late patients) ÷ time my plane takes off tonight ] × day’s income + # dollars I’ve ever made = alimony I will pay for missing the plane to answer the patient’s 47 questions about their dog’s left eye @ 7pm
  • 92014 fee − $275.00 = per-encounter income derived from that stupid vision plan
  • Astigmatism in diopters + ½ of the stars in the universe − # times I’ve asked which is better, # 1 or #2 = # of times the patient should have said #1 instead of #2
  • @#^%*!  = my response to “my sister had LASIK and her doctor said she’ll never need glasses again”
  • Absolute Zero = -273.15°C = temperature I have to keep my office or my staff will quit
  • Absolute Zero = $ I get paid if I tell patients they can make payments
  • Absolute Zero = worth of my optometric degree if I cross state lines 
  • Absolute Zero = the chances either presidential candidate will do anything about Medicare
See, math can be important if it’s applied properly in your life. And for you folks that think math is easy, I have two words: %#@*() + *@$##! Apply that!