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From Peer to Peer

How do you define a rising star in ophthalmology? It’s not easy. Two years ago, we used the cut-off of 40 years and under. The quality of our cadre was the highest – but had we made the age limit too low? Was it fair on people who really were only just establishing themselves in their own right as an ophthalmologist of renown, after years of training? I had to draw the line somewhere – but was it in the right place? This year, we’ve drawn the line in a different place – and it’s no longer the “Top 40 Under 40.” We’ve changed the name to better reflect our initial intention: “Rising Stars.”

I know some of you dislike “Top Doctor” lists – Harry Quigley says as much in his In My View article in last month’s issue (1). But this is no such thing. It is not a public popularity contest. I view the Power Lists as an opportunity for peers to let other peers know that they respect them and their work. And though it’s true that the list is subjective – isn’t that the glorious part, given that the people voting are almost entirely ophthalmologists?

I do recognize that such lists rarely recognize the people on the front line, working way beyond their contracted hours to clear a clinic or complete that day’s list. But this magazine is your magazine. If that’s the situation you face, day in and day out, talk to us. These issues need to be raised, and if you work with us to tell those stories, they’ll get a good airing.

The Power Lists are all about celebrating effort and achievement. I’m very fortunate as Editor of The Ophthalmologist to be able to talk to the big names featured, and when I ask them how they got to where they are, nine times out of 10, they tell me, “I was in the right place at the right time.” But let’s not be under any illusions: they’ve worked incredibly hard to get there too. That deserves an immense amount of respect. Kudos to them.

Of course, many of the rising stars of today will become the leading lights of the future. And the future of eyecare is one where aging baby boomers are presenting en masse with age-related eye disease – many clinics are already full to bursting point. But I see the research that these rising stars are performing – and it looks like much of it should be game-changing. So we’re celebrating these ophthalmologists’ achievements today, but if their work pays off, I really hope we’re going to be celebrating them with far more gusto in a decade or so.

Mark Hillen

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  1. H Quigley, “How good a doctor are you?”, The Ophthalmologist, 39, 14–15 (2017). Available at:
About the Author
Mark Hillen

I spent seven years as a medical writer, writing primary and review manuscripts, congress presentations and marketing materials for numerous – and mostly German – pharmaceutical companies. Prior to my adventures in medical communications, I was a Wellcome Trust PhD student at the University of Edinburgh.

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