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Generally, a man must commit a heinous crime, donate prodigious sums of money, or have mortality intervene to have an editorial directly questioning who he is. With this letter, I certify that, at least, as of this writing, none of the above has occurred.
None the less, some concern has been expressed regarding my credentials to write the essays that accompany the cover photographs for the BJO of the past few years.1
As was hinted in the editorial “Eyespots to eyeshine”2 early in this series, my education in this regard is not appreciably different from that of most of the readers, but that education has been a powerful tool. Presumably, Papalkar and Francis1 are both ophthalmologists and have been trained with a science background, medical school, and the appropriate residency requirements to qualify for their chosen profession. This education allows us to understand optics, neurology, and biology at both a clinical and a basic level. I am also certain that these authors have a highly curious intellect. For proof of that proposition, I offer the fact that they read their journals, ask critical questions of the authors, and question credentials. This is key to the question at hand.
As ophthalmologists our training, curiosity, and the pursuit of truth and honesty will provide the dividends of self education. We are, after all, entirely self educated. As a teacher, I can only hope to recruit, stimulate and, with luck, inspire my students to become better ophthalmologists than I—a teacher’s ultimate goal. I can help to open the door to knowledge; the student must walk through it.
With these essays, I hope to teach a bit of comparative ophthalmology and optics and to stimulate your interest and thinking. All essays are written with the assistance of scientific evidence previously published on the topic and often vetted directly by those who did the original work or by others in the field. In the interest of space, I reference only a few of these publications. If the reader discerns mistakes, notifying me will enable me to correct them.
The editorial asking the question “Who is Ivan Schwab?”3 can be answered simply by “one of you.” I am flattered by the interest in my qualifications, because that tells me that you are reading your journals; in particular, you are reading my essays, and above all, you are asking questions. Stay tuned.