Protecting Sight #139: How a penny can make you feel like a millionaire. Phaco chop & the ONTT. Leonardo’s obsession with divine proportion and squaring the circle.

Welcome to my daily learning journal. My daily goal is to watch one Ted Talk and one cataract surgery. I also plan to read one journal article and read/listen to a book chapter, short story or significant work.

Here’s today’s list:

1. Ted Talk – Tania Luna – How a penny made me feel like a millionaire. “As a young child, Tania Luna left her home in post-Chernobyl Ukraine to take asylum in the US. And one day, on the floor of the New York homeless shelter where she and her family lived, she found a penny. She has never again felt so rich. A meditation on the bittersweet joys of childhood — and how to hold them in mind.” (

Sometimes Brian and I walk through the park with Scarlett, and she rolls through the grass, and we just look at her and then we look at each other and we feel gratitude. We forget about all of our new middle-class frustrations and disappointments, and we feel like millionaires. 

Tania Luna (Ted Talk)

This 5-minute talk is filled with inspiration. Thank you for sharing your story, Ms. Luna.

2. Cataract Surgery – Uday Devgan MD – Learning Phaco Chop: you can do it!. Well Dr. Devgan writes, “Young surgeons need to learn to perform phaco chop — it makes cataract surgery efficient and increases safety. Less ultrasonic energy is needed and less fluid is run through the anterior segment, making for a faster visual recovery. Let’s be clear, it is not easy to learn — it will require studying videos, practice, and then more practice. But you can certainly do it and I have complete faith in you. This video shows the critical placement of the phaco tip and the chopper to achieve the type of combo-chop that you see in most of my videos.”

2B. Cataract Surgery – Filipe Lucatto MD and Juliana Prazeres MD. Complicated cataract surgery: Dropped nucleus (Instagram @retinatips)

AAO Image: Retrobular optic neuritis (link)

3. Journal – The Optic Neuritis Treatment Trial. Nancy J. Newman. Ophthalmology: April 2020, S172-S173. Excellent review of the ONTT which includes the landmark 1994 article by Beck, Cleary, Backlund.

4. Book Chapter – Leonardo da Vinci by Walter Isaacson. Chapter 13, “Math.” The best part of this book is looking up the images presented. (See Codex Atlanticus)

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