From Emu Creek To Harley Street

Although during her career, Dani had acquired a wide range of nursing qualifications and experiences, she had never worked with eyes before so, in April 2007, when she accepted the position at the London Vision Clinic, she found herself on another fascinating learning curve.


Recently promoted to “Senior Nurse”, Dani ‘s responsibilities include helping explain to patients pre and post-operative procedures.

She and the other nurses are on hand to help calm nerves and anxieties before the operation and to answer those frequently asked questions such as: “What happens if my nose itches and I need to scratch it?” (In case you’ve forgotten the reassuring answer… nothing that a patient might do during the procedure will effect either the operation or its outcome).

Dani is also part of the theatre team assisting either Dr Dan or Glenn Carp while they operate. Handing the correct instrument at the exact moment it is required is especially challenging as the surgeon will never look away from his microscope’s eye piece. His theatre nurse will be standing very close by –almost touching his shoulder and making sure that the instruments are handed over in the pre-established sequence and at the correct angle and pressure. During operations she will become literally his right-hand help (or in Dr Dan’s case, his left-hand assistant).

Dr Dan is famously quoted as saying that, while operating, he would not hear a bomb if it went off in the next room. Dani confirms that the atmosphere in surgery is “intense” and, any words exchanged are whispered quietly.

After surgery, patients need to learn the post operative procedures including the sequence of the various eye drops. Some of us also need lessons in how to put in the eye drops and are nervous that we might inadvertently touch our eye with the dropper. (Dani told me that this is a highly unlikely scenario – in fact she has never heard of it happening.)

“I suggest that it is wiser to err on the side of caution. If your head is tilted back, chin upwards, and your hand with the dropper is resting on your nose you will be in the correct position. Once the drops are in, immediately switch over to the other eye “, she explains.

There is definitely a knack to putting in drops and it seems that after a couple of misses – resulting in drops dripping down our cheeks –most of us quickly learn the ideal technique.

I am certain that Dani and the other nurses at the London Vision Clinic would emphasise that all their patients are equally important to them. That said, I suspect that Dani’s impartiality will be put to the test early next year when she finds herself caring for her own much-loved father when he will cross the globe from Emu Creek to Harley Street to have his eyesight corrected by Dr Dan.