Home Trending The Two-Minute Rule and AI: A Conversation with Dr. Roya Attar

The Two-Minute Rule and AI: A Conversation with Dr. Roya Attar

Dr. Attar in orange jacket near the podium at her AOA talk on AI in optometry
Dr. Attar spoke about AI in optometry at a session during Optometry’s Meeting in June.

The two-minute rule, a concept popularized by the book Atomic Habits, by James Clear, suggests that when you start a new habit, it should take less than two minutes to do. This principle resonates deeply with Roya Attar, OD, FAAO, MBA, DHA, an optometrist and professor at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, as she navigates the evolving landscape of artificial intelligence (AI) in optometry.

In a recent WO Voices podcast, Dr. Attar shared her journey into the realm of AI and its profound implications for optometry. Her interest in AI began gradually, sparked by the introduction of automated screening for diabetic retinopathy in primary care settings. This moment marked the beginning of her deep dive into AI, which she soon realized had been evolving for years.

The public’s awareness of AI took a significant leap forward with the release of OpenAI’s ChatGPT, a development that caught global attention. Dr. Attar believes this moment was pivotal in bringing AI to the forefront of public consciousness. She sees AI not as a future threat but as a current and transformative force, akin to the Industrial Revolution. “Every industrial revolution has benefited us, despite some losses. AI will make mundane tasks easier, though it may also take away certain jobs,” she posits, maintaining a cautiously optimistic outlook.


In her daily and weekly routines, Dr. Attar engages with AI in various capacities, and this is where the two-minute rule comes into play. From using free versions of platforms for research during her doctoral studies to anticipating AI integration in clinical settings, she sees immense potential. For example, she needed ideas for her son’s graduation party; AI helped. She likes to write letters to places she’s been as a follow-up. AI makes it easy.

AI can provide her with a starting point–a two-minute entry into whatever she’s trying to accomplish. “A lot of times, just getting started is a struggle. With the exception of having to organize or clean, AI can help me with almost everything. I can prompt: give me a few ideas for a lecture on ___ or suggest a different way to approach this topic. And it does,” she says.


Those unfamiliar with AI are often apprehensive, perceiving it as a fleeting trend, she says. In contrast, those who have experienced its capabilities are more receptive and enthusiastic. She encourages skeptics to try AI tools like ChatGPT, emphasizing the ease and efficiency they bring to daily tasks, whether planning a menu or a trip or generating professional correspondence.

Dr. Attar says that it can be a good resource for professionals. She recently diagnosed a patient with accommodative esotropia, a diagnosis she doesn’t make often. So she turned to AI as a checklist as she was generating a treatment plan. But whether she’s using it for her own guidance or to draft her patient notes, “It’s like having a resident that writes clinic notes, but I still review and approve them,” she explains, underscoring the continued need for human oversight.


There are some challenges, such as developing robust oversight to ensure privacy concerns. But Dr. Attar sees AI as a valuable tool that can significantly reduce the administrative burden on health care professionals. Surveys of physicians reveal a widespread desire for AI to handle clinical notes, allowing more time for direct patient care and personal well-being. “It can take the stress off,” she says, reflecting a sentiment shared by many in her field.

She concludes with a call to action, urging everyone to embrace AI with an open mind and explore its potential benefits firsthand. “Just take a look at it, use it, and then make a decision on it,” she advises.

Listen to the full podcast here.

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