Subscribe to Newsletter
Business & Profession Professional Development

On What You See, and What You Become: #Motivation

From a young age, I have looked up to people who excel in their respective fields. There is something powerful about having a role model; watching someone achieve your own aspiration makes it feel palpable – and, therefore, it’s easier to follow in their footsteps. My role model was Dr. Aamer. I was 12 years old when he offered me the opportunity to attend a surgery for the first time. I still vividly remember my fast heartbeats while, standing on a ladder in a baggy scrub, I stood on my tiptoes to have a closer look. I eagerly followed every step in awe. The perfectly orchestrated flow of the surgery and OR environment made me realize that I was committed to achieving the same goal. When I stepped down from that ladder, I wasn’t dreaming of being a surgeon, I was planning to become one. I joined medical school five years later.

After obtaining my MD degree, I stayed true to what I promised myself at 12, and decided to enter ophthalmology. As I started my residency, the field and the people I encountered fascinated me; keen to share my knowledge and learn from my ophthalmology peers across the world, I was active on social media. Attending the 2016 AAO meeting in Chicago allowed me to expand my network and meet many inspiring ophthalmologists – names and faces, and their work – started to feel familiar. Yet, I was subconsciously looking for my new compass – my “guiding star” in the ophthalmology community.

The day I came across The Ophthalmologist Power List, I rejoiced. I didn’t get a guiding star but rather a galaxy. It was in 2016, and it felt like the Oscars of Ophthalmology! I remember how much I enjoyed scrolling through the names and discovering how they each contributed to advancing our field. Recently, I have had the privilege to work closely with one of these ‘stars’. Working under Florian Kretz’s mentorship has set new standards of excellence for me, and when the 2018 Power List came out, I was extremely proud to see his face featured. However, scrolling through the list I couldn’t help noticing that amongst dozens and dozens of profiles, women were quasi absent. The visual person that I am, I used my lunch break to quickly draw a graph and my assumption was true. Only 13 percent of the ophthalmologists on the list – and thus in leadership positions – were women: this was an awakening to me. What kind of message does that send to a female ophthalmology resident who aspires to lead in her field? Answer hint: the road is not paved. Though the increased number of female residents creates the illusion ophthalmology is getting close to achieving gender parity, that 13 percent reminds us of the truth. Across various fields, it is not easy to lead as a woman. Yet, the 12-year-old me refuses to accept this fact!

As ophthalmologists, we have chosen to dedicate our life to making sure that people see. Though gender parity is an issue across many industries, I believe that we as ophthalmologists have a prime role not only in helping people have healthy vision, but also a healthy visualization of what women can achieve in leadership roles. Visualization matters to all the 12 year olds out there who, like me, wanted to see someone like them achieve their dearest dreams. So while everyone is busy discussing gender parity in the Oscars, I think there is an equal sense of urgency for it in ophthalmology leadership. After all, no one would have been able to see disparity at the Oscars without a healthy pair of eyes!

Receive content, products, events as well as relevant industry updates from The Ophthalmologist and its sponsors.

When you click “Subscribe” we will email you a link, which you must click to verify the email address above and activate your subscription. If you do not receive this email, please contact us at [email protected].
If you wish to unsubscribe, you can update your preferences at any point.

About the Author
Imane Tarib

Imane Tarib is an ophthalmology resident at Military Hospital Mohammed V-Rabat, Morocco

Register to The Ophthalmologist

Register to access our FREE online portfolio, request the magazine in print and manage your preferences.

You will benefit from:
  • Unlimited access to ALL articles
  • News, interviews & opinions from leading industry experts
  • Receive print (and PDF) copies of The Ophthalmologist magazine



The Ophthalmologist website is intended solely for the eyes of healthcare professionals. Please confirm below: