1. Please give an overview of your role within Optegra?
As Consultant Eye Surgeon, I lead the refractive surgery at Optegra Eye Hospital Birmingham, including laser vision correction, lens replacement and private cataract surgery.
2. What first attracted you to ophthalmology?
The fact that ophthalmology offers a combination of medicine and surgery. The surgery is intricate and quite clean in comparison to most other surgical specialties. I also enjoy the physics aspect of ophthalmology, as well as using all the various gadgets.
3. What are the most common questions that patients ask you?
One of the common and difficult questions we as surgeons gets asked is ‘what would you do if it is for yourself’?
I tell them that if I were in the same position, then yes, I would do what I am recommending, followed by a quick, “but I’m not you.”
I may not have the same belief systems, fears, or acceptance of risks…. ‘Ultimately, you are the captain of your own ship… I am just pointing out what I think is the best course.’
4. Thinking about vision correction surgeries, what are your thoughts on how treatment options have progressed over the years?
Vision impairment is no longer a matter of age. Advancements in corneal and lens-based refractive surgery are helping us to optimize vision for an even wider group of patients.
In the laser vision correction space, LASIK and LASEK are both excellent procedures. SMILE is a great innovation, which offers a solution for patients who may not be good LASIK candidates.
Amongst the lens-based procedures, the newer generation of multifocal, trifocal and extended depth of focus (EDOF) lenses are incredible pieces of technology that provide customized vision options. The progress with ICL technology now allows options for patients who are not candidates for laser vision procedures. Better IOL formulas and advanced methods of biometry are also some of major progress towards better visual outcomes.
5. How would you encourage people to explore their options if they are frustrated with their poor vision?
We are fortunate to have brilliant research and studies on the outcomes for all available vision correction options. At Optegra our personal approach combined with exceptional facilities enable us to tailor solutions to individual needs. The best way to encourage people is to provide them with all relevant options and information and let them make informed decisions.
6. What attracted you to join the Optegra team?
Optegra is a centre of excellence and a leader in its field. The ability to provide patients with the most advanced technology in treatment combined with top class standards of patient care attracted me the most.
7. What brings you joy in your work?
Seeing patients thrilled with the outcome! Precise surgery, which restores sight! Honestly, can’t get better than that.
8. Greatest achievement/proudest moment of your career?
Every surgeon remembers the first time a patient says: “Thank you!” This was one of my very first cataract surgeries I performed.
A patient with bilateral white cataract came in through an eye camp from a very remote village during my time at Aravind Eye Hospital in India and I still remember the smile on her face before she left the hospital. She was finally able to see after a long time having thought she had gone permanently blind. It’s a moment I will never forget.
9.Funniest moment in your career?
I remember as a trainee, working in a busy eye casualty, a little kid brought in by parents for reported blurred vision by the child himself. It turned out it was because he just wanted glasses as one of his friends has got glasses recently and they want the same!
It is kind of funny to see these kids’ reaction when you put these makeshift glasses with no prescription. Funny to hear them say how well they see through these glasses with no power in it!
10. Your top piece of advice around eye health and protecting vision?
Always wear your sunglasses to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays when you are outside or driving during daylight. Quit smoking or never start. Eat Well – good eye health starts with the food on your plate.
11. What has the lockdown taught you?
Lockdown provided a unique opportunity to reconnect, create memories and evaluate priorities. I was never able to spend such quality time with family and kids – playing in the garden, board games and watching TV together…It taught me ways to discover simple pleasures in life.
12. Your perfect holiday?
Relaxing on the Caribbean beaches