Dr. Papageorgiou: Greetings Johnny, great that you took the time to talk to me. You are an optometrist and we plastic surgeons love the eye, the so-called gateway to a person’s soul. Through eyelid lifts, we try to improve their function and aesthetic appearance, but it’s best if you just introduce yourself briefly.

Johnnie: The honor is all mine. I follow your blog and I have to say, you’ve got something quite interesting going on there. This connection between function and aesthetics from different angles, or the intersection of different professions to explore this topic.

Dr. Papageorgiou: Thank you.

Johnnie: I am a second-generation optician, my father practiced this profession for decades, and I learned a lot from him.

Dr. Papageorgiou: Some say that the first generation builds something, the second keeps it alive and the third destroys it. But you didn’t keep something that was already there alive, you created something completely new, you took it a step further. Your store has an incredibly unique style. Your selection of glasses is insane, I’ve never seen anything like it anywhere. But why on earth is your front door locked? I’ve never seen that either. Explain that to me, please.

Johnnie: It’s evolved that way, especially since I started taking my dog to work. We started locking the door so that when he was younger and more unbridled, he wouldn’t accidentally escape when a customer came in. And over the years this has become so established. It’s hard to believe, but yes, we hardly have any spam customers, people who come in to pass the time, ask 10000 questions and steal our time. Everybody who wants to come in comes in, of course, but mainly customers who know why you came.

Dr. Papageorgiou: Interesting. That’s as if I would never pick up the phone in my practice, and only answer mail inquiries about liposuction in writing, after a form has been filled out completely and correctly. Or make the consultation so expensive that only determined customers take advantage of it. A very strong concept. But now tell me, how did it all start?

Johnnie: After working as an optician for several years and living in NYC for a few years, I came up with this idea. With my best friend Rossou, hence the name Johnnie Rousso. The essential idea was to offer unique eyewear, yes almost exclusively collector material, so lots of vintage or handmade and one of a kind pieces, and also pure artist eyewear, so one of a kind pieces designed by artists, in a uniquely designed store in an atmosphere all its own. As you can see, my store has a counter, similar to an old whiskey bar, so it’s a quaint, exciting, inviting personal atmosphere. It’s all designed by DarchStudio, who also designed your practice in Rhodes and Bern, and through whom we met in the end.

Dr. Papageorgiou: Exciting approach. Some would say: very courageous. Courageous step, since it clearly escapes the usual approach. Also a bit risky to set yourself so far apart from the others.

Johnnie: I see it differently. I’ll be completely honest and hope it’s not misunderstood. I hate average. I think average is the worst thing there is. Let’s take it philosophically. To live average, to think average, to orientate on the masses destroys the uniqueness of everyone and therefore inevitably the totality. Average is stagnation.

Dr. Papageorgiou: Average equals standstill. Unbelievable, but I once had a lecture in which a professor of medicine preached exactly this. I disliked this statement at that time, with the years however I come exactly this ever more near.

As already mentioned above, as plastic surgeons we inevitably combine function with aesthetics. As far as the eye area is concerned, for example, an upper eyelid lift to widen the facial field with a fresher appearance at the same time, and possibly mini Botox to reduce the frown line. How is that with you?

Johnnie: It’s complicated for us. You have to recognize a lot of factors in order to achieve a good functional and aesthetic result. For example, if the customer wants to impress and exude authority, thick glass frames are usually recommended, but at the same time they are not suitable for permanent wear. So we have to consider the daily function here as well.

Dr. Papageorgiou: It struck me that a person who is not primarily well dressed can have an impressive appearance just by having a matching glass frame. So this detail, frame yes framing, around the eye area has a very special significance. Much more significant than the footwear or the shirt.

Johnnie: Yes, exactly, the first thing you unconsciously analyze about a stranger is the face and the eyes. Of course, with a good choice of frame, you can get a lot further with successful eye framing.

Dr. Papageorgiou: Well, I often caught myself in my younger years that my first look was not at the face but at the figure of a female person.

(both laugh)

Johnnie: There are different qualities of seeing. There’s seeing in focus. OK. Certainly important to be able to read something. But there are many more.

Dr. Papageorgiou: Like, for example ?

Johnnie: To give you an example. Another quality is the Peripheral Field of View or the synchronization of both eyes. What is the result of the two eyes together, both can be perfectly adjusted, but it doesn’t mean that the result of both together is perfect.

Dr. Papageorgiou: I know that. It’s like assuming the perfect liposuction with the perfect tummy tuck will give the ultimate result. The reality is, with such combination procedures, however, you have to be more careful with liposuction and more careful with tightening, so that the blood flow remains secured. After all, my studies are a few years behind. Therefore my question: Is there similarly as with the hand function, thus right-handed and left-handed a strong thus dominating eye, thus right-ophtalmist or left-ophtalmist? Politically there is this. So the one eye is blind, is it on the right or on the left. Is there this also scientifically ?

Johnnie: Politically blind are many eyes, both right and left. But the answer is yes. The right-handers usually have a dominant left eye and the left-handers have a dominant right eye.

Dr. Papageorgiou: Then I have learned something. And what else is there?

Johnnie: There’s also the quality of visual memory. Super important and interesting.  So let’s take a person with very good visual memory. What does that mean, visual memory? Let’s say this person walks the same 2km to work every day. People with a very good visual memory recognize and understand, as you walk, the distance to your destination and the time it takes to reach your destination, in coordination with your walking rhythm. People with a less developed optical memory do not do this as effectively. So that means time is also optics.

Dr. Papageorgiou: Brilliant. Then I close this very pleasant conversation with the song title of Nina Simon: Who knows where time goes?

Johnnie: Nina is right up there with me.

Dr. Papageorgiou: That’s exactly why we get along so well. Peripheral Optics. Thank you very much for the interview.