American Academy of Ophthalmology

American Academy of Ophthalmology

Joel Hunter, MD
Joel Hunter, MD
Refractive Surgeon, Hunter Vision Updated 05/19/17 10:54 AM

Knock, knock.
Who’s there?
A bunch of super nerdy people.
The American of Academy of Ophthalmology who?
We’re nerds.

I made that joke up this year after attending the Annual AAO Meeting in Orlando. 25,000 people who spend their lives working on eyeballs all descend on a city once a year for this meeting. I am fully aware that I am one of these nerds. I am reminded of it every time I make a joke in a room full of people like, “I’ll have my Diet Coke in a bottle, because I can’t stand to use glasses!” and am met with stares of indifference and/or pity. All that to say, I love the AAO meeting because it feels like coming home.

This year, I was invited to teach a few courses. I have a couple preachers in my family and asked them, as truly excellent public speakers, how they get ready for talks. It turns out they prepare for weeks! I decided then that I would lower my aim from “excellent” to “very good.” My favorite course was teaching people new to refractive surgery how to do LASIK. A lot of people sign up to get to do LASIK on pig eyes (you read that correctly) each year at AAO. It is really thrilling to be there and help the first time someone does a procedure that they could end up doing for the rest of their life. I remember when I did LASIK for the first time during that course. It is really satisfying to watch things come full circle.

Each year at these meetings, I’m reminded how happy I am to get to do what I do for a living. I spend between 60 and 80 hours a week looking at, operating on, or discussing eyeballs and couldn’t be more thrilled with it. It is part of what makes me think God puts some pretty specific desires in our hearts. Who would think that anyone would want to spend that much time with eyes? But I was made to be an eyeball doctor. And if that makes me a nerd, it just has to come with the territory.

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