A Fond Farewell To Joe Barr

message from the publisher

A Fond Farewell To Joe Barr


I started working as a sales representative for Contact Lens Spectrum not long after Joe Barr became editor. From the start I admired his values, work ethic and recognition of the many bright and creative people in the contact lens field — qualities at the core of his success as an editor. Joe is acutely aware of the many people who have contributed to the understanding and development of contact lenses, but he reserves a special place in this pantheon for Contact Lens Spectrum founding editor Dr. Neal Bailey, who defined our editorial mission — a mission which Joe has been careful to not only maintain, but to cultivate.

Joe is fond of quoting Dr. Bailey's description of Contact Lens Spectrum as a place where people "can tell their version of the truth about contact lenses." Joe embraced this fundamental principle when he took over as editor in 1989 and then wove it into his own version of the publication's role: To be a place where people in the contact lens field can tell their stories. Joe made it his mission to ensure that Contact Lens Spectrum tells the story of contact lenses thoroughly and from all perspectives. Everything he has done reflects his commitment to that mission.

Telling this story has stirred up controversy (any honest and meaningful journalistic effort always will) and brought us our share of criticism. Joe has always accepted this criticism as a necessary, even important, part of the job and addressed it in a fair and balanced fashion — and without compromising his, or our, integrity. Joe also recognized the importance of this process in prompting us to question our editorial position and approach, an exercise any publication worth its salt must go through from time to time.

Joe's work as an academic, researcher and clinician, along with his time in industry, endowed him with an understanding of and sensitivity to every aspect of contact lenses and earned him the respect and admiration of people throughout the field. Craig Norman once asked me who would replace Joe if he "gets hit by a beer truck." Periodic discussions about this scary prospect made us wonder if we'd ever find the right person. We should have known Joe would consider a succession plan in much the same way his mentor Dr. Bailey did with him. Joe recognized the talent and drive of Dr. Carla Mack, who has worked alongside Joe for two years as a contributor, column editor and trusted advisor. Dr. Mack's impressive background, which has important parallels to Joe's, coupled with her experience working on the publication, make her a natural successor.

Although it has always been his nature to dismiss this notion, Joe has been a source of guidance and inspiration to contact lens fitters around the world. His contributions to the contact lens profession have been many and varied, but we are especially grateful for his work on Contact Lens Spectrum. Thank you, Joe. We will miss you.