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Volume 48, 1998, p. vi

Thomas D. France, M.D.

Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning! Red sky at night, sailors delight!


The latter part of 1997 and early 1998 has been the year of El Niño. The dire warnings of unusual weather have proven true throughout the world. From rain storms on the West Coast of the U.S. that sent many houses tumbling down mountainsides, to a warmer than usual Winter in the Mid West, to a "summer" that was cold and wet in South America, the constant topic has been about the effect of this meteorologic phenomenon. It has even become the norm to blame all things on El Niño, even when they have nothing to do with the weather! The significant effect a change in weather can evoke reminds us that we have much to learn about our planet and that things we take for granted, may not always be so "clear and sunny."


This year's journal sheds some new light on a number of topics that we may have previously thought we understood quite well. The Sunday night symposium gives us two sides to a number of entities that may have seemed to have only one solution. Both sides have their proponents and argue effectively.


The named lectures by Mazow (Costenbader) and Kraft (Pratt-Johnson) deal, surprisingly, with almost identical topics as they look at what the future "horizons" of our field are likely to be in the coming new millennium. Dr. Demer and his associates discuss their new concepts of muscle action that have changed forever, our understanding of muscle insertions, functional origins, and concepts of the etiology of pattern strabismus. Finally, whether to treat amblyopia before surgical correction of strabismus is discussed at length by a number of experienced orthoptists and surgeons in the Case Comer. Their answers may surprise you!


This year has also been one of turbulence on the medical "front" with continued challenges from managed care and governmental oversight committees to maintain quality of care at a time of decreasing resources. There may be a drought on the horizon for the new crop of orthoptists and surgeons who may not be able to provide all their time and talent to their patients, if they need to be sheltering themselves from the "dust storm" of paper and regulations that have become so commonplace.


The year of El Niño might also be called the year of the journal's entry into cyberspace. With our webpage now "shining brightly" on line ( we are finding that many of you are using the new search engine to find articles previously published in AOJ but not easily found using the usual methods of library searches. (An average of more than 100 "hits" per day!) We hope this means that you are finding the website useful and worth the effort of keeping it up to date. The access to the Interest continues to increase with now well over 60 million using it. The obvious popularity of the pediatric ophthalmology list serv and the AAPO&S website to not only North American participants, but many others from around the world, is a sign that the world is shrinking, but not due to El Niño! What new weather patterns the next year will bring to ophthalmology is not as clear to us as it may be to the meteorologist. Will it be another year of unusual weather or a return to "normalcy"?

What ever the weather, there will be some "red skies" in both morning and night and we will need to keep our eye on the "horizons"!


Thomas D. France, M.D.