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September 1986

Preparations for Eye Care in the 21st Century

Author Affiliations

New York
Read as the 42nd Annual Gifford Memorial Lecture at the Chicago Ophthalmological Society, May 23, 1986.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1986;104(9):1290-1293. doi:10.1001/archopht.1986.01050210044023

In the 20th century, eye treatment has progressed literally from leeches to lasers. This is the first century in which physicians can reasonably expect to cure patients, not just tend them. We can achieve remarkable, technology-based feats of medical cure; in fact, we have the highest quality of medical services in the world. But were our services confined to traditional systems of health care, the American public could not afford them much longer.

When the 21st century begins, the selections of alternative health care provision systems will have been made. By then we will know whether private practice can survive and on what terms. In any case, there will be substantial challenges to our society and our profession. John Naisbitt, author of Megatrends, emphasizes that all American society is in transition and that most of us hold on to old ways for fear of the future. He goes on to

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