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Words from the Wise

On what gives the job meaning:

“If I can improve someone’s chance of finishing school and getting a proper education, it makes me very proud, but I also know that everyone needs their sight, whether it’s a farmer or a housewife. When, after surgery, they are able to get back to their normal chores, I feel my work has meaning. Manual workers are not as vocal as office workers when they lose their sight, but their work is equally valuable and important.”

– Gladys Otto, One in a Million

On the importance of teaching:

Teaching and mentoring is something I really value. It’s a wonderful experience to help a young person get their first grant or write a critical paper that moves them forward in their career. I’ve had the opportunity to mentor many people and I have enjoyed it a lot. I think it’s an important thing for us, as we gain seniority in our careers, to use our experience and impact to support the career development of younger clinician-scientists.

– Janey Wiggs, Jumping After Your Passions

On practicing during the Russian Invasion of Ukraine:

“As a practicing surgeon, I never thought that I would be spending so much time watching news from the front, and I did not imagine that I would be able to determine the source of an explosion by the sound of it. Now, my main task as the President of the Ukrainian Vitreoretinal Society (UVRS) and one of the coordinators in Ukraine is to organize the logistics of international ophthalmic care coming to us. And this is something I have never done before.”

– Andrii Ruban, On the Front Line

On the crossover between photography and ophthalmology:

“All ophthalmologists have an intrinsic understanding of how the laws of optics and biology allow us to see clearly focused images; after all, we repair the human camera! One might think that our knowledge about the eye maps to photography in a fairly linear way. However, these two domains often diverge – and that’s where it becomes interesting! […] In a way, our eye functions like a very basic point-and-shoot style camera. The differences in how large-sensor DSLR and film cameras record an image and how our eyes perceive it are vast. I look to exploit those differences.”

– Marc Safran, Double Exposure

On difficulties of the job:

“The hardest part of my job is guiding patients to set appropriate expectations. You can never tell what will make a patient upset or afraid. Yesterday, in succession, I saw a 20/40 post op patient who was ecstatic and a 20/20+ patient who was miserable. Helping patients work through these issues is a huge part of caring for them.”

– Douglas Koch, The Winning Formula

On advice for people in the earlier stages of their careers:

“If the ‘old boys’ tell you your idea is not going to work, don’t let it stop you – listen carefully, understand their arguments, and use them as challenges to overcome – but don’t ignore them. When we launched corneal cross-linking, pretty much the whole ophthalmic field was against the idea. We could’ve stopped, but we kept going, using the experts’ experience and knowledge to our advantage.”

– Michael Mrochen, Impactful Solutions

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About the Author
Jed Boye

Associate Editor, The Ophthalmologist

I have always been fascinated by stories. During my biomedical sciences degree, though I enjoyed wet lab sessions, I was truly in my element when sitting down to write up my results and find the stories within the data. Working at Texere gives me the opportunity to delve into a plethora of interesting stories, sharing them with a wide audience as I go.

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