Last June, I wrote an article for Modern Optometry, in which I listed the 10 most interesting and informative optometry-related podcasts that my ears couldn’t get enough of. Considering the unprecedented circumstances that we find ourselves in, with many of our colleagues not working at the moment and looking for ways to productively spend their time, let’s take another look at this list and make some much-needed adjustments.

Since the list was published back in June 2019, a few new podcasts have been developed, while others on our list have fizzled out. This list factors in all of that. We also have a few big moves, with a new top three! Without further ado, below are the top five podcasts you need to be listening to, COVID-19 edition:

1. Try Not to Blink

This was No. 2 on last year’s list. Hosts James Deom, OD; and Roya Habibi, OD, have really hit their stride. Their mixture of friendly banter and clinical tips and their ability not to take themselves too seriously have made this a must-listen for me. This weekly podcast is for optometry students and optometrists of all ages, locations, and practice modalities. Episodes are released each Monday and cover the field, from news and hot topics to tips and tricks of the trade. Drs. Deom and Habibi eschew the interview-style podcast that has dominated our profession in favor of a “late show” feel, creating an overall easy listening experience and making this podcast a great way to wind down after a long day. Keep up the good work, you two!

2. Power Hour

This podcast sat at No. 10 last year, but host Gary Gerber, OD, has upped his game and become the voice of optometry during the COVID-19 crisis. By holding townhall-style virtual meetings nearly every night, Dr. Gerber is providing essential information on what it will take for us not only to survive the outbreak but also to flourish afterward. For example, during a 2-night town hall on March 25th and 26th, Dr. Gerber hosted presidents and CEOs from 17 of the biggest companies in eye care, who discussed how they can help us and our practices get through the COVID-19 crisis.

When our country is not in a crisis, Dr. Gerber prides himself on hosting optometry’s only live radio talk show (available to listeners live online and after airing). The show airs every Wednesday night at 9:00 pm EDT. Each episode typically addresses the challenges, trends, and opportunities we face. Listeners submit questions, feedback, and ideas for future show topics.

3. Defocus Media

It is tough for me to rank this offering fairly because Defocus Media hosts six different podcasts that report on all eye care news. One of my personal favorites is the channel’s namesake podcast, Defocus Media, hosted by Jennifer Lyerly, OD; and Darryl Glover, OD. In it, experts discuss the hottest topics in the optometric industry, innovative practice philosophies, practical applications of new technology, and disruptive innovators and the effects they have on the profession. Another favorite of mine is the Optoturban podcast, which explores the intersections between the field of optometry and current social, political, and religious trends in the United States. The ODs on Facebook podcast is another gem that highlights the most compelling topics in eye care with the goal of sparking parallel discussions among the ODs on Facebook community.

4. The MOD Pod

Much like Defocus Media, Eyetube hosts a wide variety of podcasts, Modern Optometry’s very own The MOD Pod serves up select articles from each issue in audio form, read by the authors themselves. For a limited time, video episodes of The MOD Pod are dedicated to covering the COVID-19 pandemic. They will be live-streamed twice a week and will cover topics such as optometrists who’ve tested positive, legislation, telehealth, handling employee layoffs, and more.

5. Specialty Lenses Unplugged

This is a personal favorite of mine as a dry eye and specialty lens guy. Hosted by industry veteran Craig Norman, FCLSA, each episode features a lively discussion of the key contact lens topics today. Mr. Norman’s ability to attract world-class guests and his unparalleled knowledge make this podcast a great listen for any of us who would like to understand any variety of specialty contact lenses better.

Looking for more?

The shows below are both interesting and informative.

Eyetrepreneur

Father and son Drs. Raymond and Perry Brill release a new episode every Tuesday morning that highlights independent eye care leaders, whom they refer to as wizards. The goal is to recognize these wizards while discussing medical treatment and management, business dilemmas, and optical development.

20/20 MONEY

20/20 Money, hosted by Adam Cmejla, a certified financial planner and experienced wealth adviser, brings clarity to financial concepts and strategies that affect us.

New York Eye Doc

The New York Eye Doc podcast is hosted by Damaris Raymondi, OD. It features inspirational interviews with key members of the profession and Dr. Raymondi’s thoughts on health care, patient-centric health issues, and her life as an optometrist working and living in what many consider to be the greatest city in the world.

Ophthalmology off the Grid

Another Eyetube podcast, and one featuring my close friend and colleague Blake Williamson, MD, with cohost Gary Wörtz, MD. From disruptive treatments and technologies to tried-and-true ophthalmic practices, Ophthalmology off the Grid approaches topics new and old with curiosity to deliver an honest look at ophthalmology. This podcast has also been covering the COVID-19 crisis in eye care.