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Damien Gatinel

The Power List 2020 – Power List

Head of The Anterior and Refractive Surgery Department of The Rothschild Foundation, Paris, France

Your three wishes?

First, a lifetime of perfect health (physical and mental) for my loved ones and I (and perhaps everybody who reads this and is genuinely happy that I made it onto this list). Second, to benefit from technological advances that allow us to travel to different star systems or even different galaxies. With this level of progress, the human race could be at an advantage, able to alleviate some senseless conflicts in the world and even meet with an advanced alien civilization that has already found a cure for presbyopia. My third wish is being able to fully understand an orthoptic assessment!

Piece of advice for your younger self?

Never consider yourself too important, keep things in perspective, and enjoy every second of what you do, as time flies when you’re having fun. Don’t be frustrated if and when new ideas or concepts seem to take too much time to be adopted or are slowed down by the weight of the shackles of previous dogma. Challenge and be inquisitive about every recommendation or advice someone may give you, but not the last two, obviously!

The most unexpected moment of your career?

During AAO 2018, The Jack Holladay, whom I revere as a tireless pioneer in the field of applied visual optics, came up to me and asked for 10 minutes of my time as he wanted me to explain certain aspects of the new diffractive trifocal IOLs. It was a real “pinch me now” moment.

The most unpredicted turn your career took?

My career is a succession of unpredicted turns, which I hoped would not bring me full circle! It all began when I was actually a fellow in Medical Retina, where the Head (Gilles Chaine) fortunately recognized my early affinity to the art of refractive surgery, and kindly let me develop my interest in this subspecialty. As luck would have it, I was asked to pick up Dimitri Azar from the airport in Paris, as he was a visiting professor at Rothschild Foundation (I was the only fellow with a nice car in the department). Later on, he invited me to Boston to supervise some of my research projects which really built up my academic work. Around the same time I began a partnership with a French mathematician (Jacques Malet) who then generously dedicated several years of his time and talent, to help me realize some of my theoretical ideas.

Part of the Power List 2020

Find out more

From ocular oncology to tackling neglected diseases, our 2020 Power Listers are making their mark on ophthalmology – and beyond.

Go to The Power List 2020

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