The Circle of Life and the Value of Human Connection

By Dr. Paul Gooch

The human mind is an amazing thing. The ebbs and flows of our humanity are deeply influenced by the way we remember things. One of the most fascinating elements of human memory is “situational memory,” which is the effect of environmental context on how we recall things. This effect is why it is easier to remember acquaintances in the places that we know them rather than when we run into them randomly.

One of the greatest pleasures of my job as an optometrist is that I get to witness the circle of life unfold in front of me, in my exam chair, one patient at a time, as if I am watching a movie of a mighty tree growing in time-lapse style.
Because we get to see our patients on some regular cycle, usually yearly, we get to experience this time-lapse effect in what feels like real time. As my patients and I get to know each other over the years, the sensation I feel when they sit in my exam chair is “Really? It has been a whole year since you were here? It feels like yesterday!”

And then I get to learn their tragedies and triumphs while we are catching up during the exam process. From birth to death and everything in between, life is on full panoramic display. Situational memory. What a gift we possess—one among the many…

Because I love word play, I often tell people that I bend light in an optometric sweat-shop for a living. But it is so much more than that. As I flip “better one or two” dials and operate marvelous technological machinery to understand the health of your vision, it really is just the circle of life on display. It is the value of human connection. It is friendship. It is the breathtaking vista of interesting people who live interesting lives, seen one patient and one year at a time.

Let us help your eyes throughout the circle of life. Call us at 435-673-5577 to schedule an appointment or visit us online at