The Power List 2020 – Power List
Medical Director, Centre for Sight, UK
Piece of advice for your younger self?
What a great thing hindsight is? I would basically say “Stop worrying too much and enjoy the journey.” Although I did have a great time on the journey, especially the early period at medical school, as I progressed further I – like many colleagues – had all sorts of concerns and worries which, thinking back, probably provided me with a level of motivation and influenced me to excel whenever I could. However, I think I probably could have altered priorities a little and perhaps taken more opportunities to enjoy life a little more. I have, over the years, realized that with the right intent and a good value system (and of course luck), we all eventually get to where we want/deserve to be, socially and professionally.
The most unexpected turn your career took?
While I was in a practice in New York, my brother – an ENT trainee – saw a misplaced advertisement in the BMJ at the top of the Plastic Surgery section for a Corneoplastic Consultant at the Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead. Knowing I had trained in cornea, it piqued his interest and he made a call to the region requesting further information, which he faxed to me in New York. Reading through all 9 pages, I could not have designed a more appropriate fit in terms of my training and interest at the time (high risk keratoplasty and ocular surface reconstruction). Although I had not really been interested in coming to the UK, I applied for the job and the rest is history. Moving from Manhattan to East Grinstead was a dramatic change that provided me with the opportunity to look after so many complex cases and work with the fabulous scientists at the Blond McIndoe Research Centre, and develop tissue engineering techniques for epithelial transplantation. That serendipitous event completely changed the direction of my career and I am very thankful to my brother Hamid for taking notice of that misplaced advertisement!