Protecting Sight #235: When the world is burning, is art a waste of time? Second opinions, decompensated strabismus, sarcoidosis, The Iliad, and a KOL Knockout Cataract Edition.

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, podcast, or significant work.

Here is today’s list:

1. Ted Talk – R. Alan Brooks: When the world is burning, is art a waste of time? “Is art worth it? ‘Hell yeah,’ says graphic novelist R. Alan Brooks — art has the power to scare dictators, inspire multitudes and change hearts and minds across the world. Reflecting on his journey to become an artist at a time when the world felt like it was burning, Brooks shares how creating something from a place of sincerity and passion can positively impact people in ways you may never know.” (

Excellent Ted Talk. I love his storytelling and perspective of art during times of peace and conflict.

Yet here is an astonishing number: most art historians — and I am one — would estimate that 99% of all such works ever made are lost to us. Some are deliberately and willfully destroyed for economic, political, religious or personal reasons, from tapestries burnt to yield their gold and silver threads to the implosion of the giant Buddhas of Afghanistan to the recent rumor of Impressionist paintings burned to cover the tracks of thieves. Those objects had been part of the 1% to survive, and now they are lost to us forever.

Yale College Dean Mary Miller Freshman Address 2013

And as I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I am fascinated by former Yale College Dean Miller’s estimate that 99% of art is lost. Imagine all the art lost to experience. Her 2013 Yale address is worth a listen!

2. Cataract Surgery – Uday Devgan MD – CataractCoach 1003: Why did the patient go elsewhere?

This CataractCoach episode is filled with life lessons for all physicians and surgeons. As surgeons, we strive for surgical perfection and patient happiness. We only want what’s in the patient’s best interests. “20/HAPPY” is as important as “20/20”.

3A. Andrew Lee MD – Decompensated strabismus

(Photo by Yoshihiro Yonekawa MD)

3B. The Wills Eye Retina Imaging and Surgical Conference – Enjoyed today’s unusual presentation case!

Achilles tending the wounded Patroclus
(Attic red-figure kylix, c. 500 BC)
(via Wikipedia)

4. Iliad by Homer – Book 13. Listening to the LoyalBooks free podcast version. (Wikipedia | Spark Notes)

5. Join us on Wednesday February 24 at 9 pm for KOL Knockout™: Cataract Edition — Maximizing the Use of Aberrometry, Femtosecond Lasers, and Advanced IOLs to Improve Postoperative Outcomes in Cataract Surgery. Registration (FREE CME!)

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