Now that we are all techno post-pseudo-Millennials, I cannot find an ink pen anywhere. That’s right, people from the South call it an ink pen. If you do not call it an ink pen, you are either a transplant from the North or pretentious. Either way is fine by me. 

I do have a couple of ink pens that survived the Great Ink Pen Purge created by the Feds in an attempt to protect patient records by making it easier for any basement-dwelling hacker get all of them with the stroke of a key. Before, they had to break into my office and carry them out, which is way more effort than any hacker would expend.  

There are so many other things that have become extinct in the new frontier of optometry:

Pen lights. There may be a few holdouts who test every pupil every time with a penlight, but most of us know if anything’s messed up by the time we hit them with a slit lamp.  

PD ruler. Why bother? ODs are always griping about not being paid for giving patients PDs. Folks, anything on the patient’s chart is their information, not yours. If you like to fight over releasing PDs, just quit measuring them. You can’t give them what you don’t have. 

Trifocals. Now and then a patient wanders in who loves his version of “start, step and stumble,” but most aren’t very excited to have any lines on their glasses, much less two. 

Double segs. Another victim of the tech age where mechanics and electricians plug a gizmo in to reset everything instead of actually doing anything real. Have you noticed how soft their hands are these days?

Quarterly soft contact lenses. What? You still have some patients disposing of their lenses once every 90 days? That’s just two 90 packs of dailies lasting 22 years.  

Bandage contact lenses. You remember, the ones that were actually studied and approved by the FDA for this use only. I’ll bet I know what you really use.

Paper Snellen charts. OK, these are not extinct, but 100% of them are at the pediatrician’s office where your patient’s kid “just had an eye exam.” To be fair, they don’t need to see the pediatrician for a physical either because, well, they seemed healthy enough when we saw them.

Last-minute cancellations. I just stuck this in here because I knew you’d laugh. 

Shirt and tie. The last time I saw this in the office was me passing by a mirror. The staff and the patients absolutely loved it, so try it. 

Being on time. Now that we have 200 separate pretesting instruments, we might see our 9am by 9pm, but at least we’ll know the exact wavelength color of their irides and how long they slept. 

Confirmation calls. When patients had one phone in the house, two rings garnered an answer. Now everyone has a phone glued to their ear, but no one answers. 

Lunchtime office hours. I blame myself for this one. I started closing the office for lunch in 2006. This attracted patients like bears to honey, and they all came to pick up stuff as soon as I locked the door. 

Elevator music. Once a staple of every reception area, the soothing orchestral versions of the Beatles’ White Album has given way to big TVs explaining progressive spectacle lenses to people wearing ear buds listening to orchestral versions of the Beatles’ White Album. 

It’s OK, time marches on. The next generation will look back fondly on extinct stuff, too. Like ODs, if we don’t watch out.