When I was a boy I dreamed of being an ophthalmologist. In elementary school we were assigned a project to interview someone from the profession we aspired to; I called to interview my ophthalmologist. The jerk never called me back. Even with this setback I kept my sights on ophthalmology. My parents who always went out of their way and pocketbooks to feed my curiosity bought me several medical books; I lingered over the parts describing the human eye. I memorized every structure. I became fascinated by vision at a microscopic level after reading about the structure of the retina. I learned about our rod cells, so sensitive that they can detect a single photon of light. Without rods we’d be be pretty useless after dusk. I was most intrigued by our cone cells; they’re concentrated at our fovea and come in three types; the RGB color model roughly approximates these three cone cell types. Cones allow us to see around 10 million different shades of color and they fill out the fine details of our lives. Without cones life would be very dull indeed.
Yes, I had it all figured out. My course was set and a life of ophthalmology was the only way for me…that is, until years later I actually walked into a hospital. It was then that I discovered that while the human eye is a structure of unmatched intrigue, children are my real raison d’être. And now after a some 17 happy years as a pediatrician I look back on those boyhood days with fondness but not regret. Vision of the past is, after all, crystal clear; vision of the future–that’s where things get wonderfully fuzzy.