From Microns To Miles, Laser Technician Zach Moves Millennia In A Day


We are all encouraged to strive for a happy and fulfilling work-life balance. However, while self-help authors and life coaches might suggest obvious tips such as walking for an hour a day, or side stepping stressful office situations, it is unlikely any would come up with the combination chosen by London Vision Clinic laser technician, Zach.

“Yes, it would be hard to find an evening occupation more different from my day job”, says Canadian born Zach who joined the London Vision Clinic in 2008 – initially expecting to stay in London for only a year.

Zach’s job in the research department of the London Vision Clinic demands an intricate and in depth knowledge of the MEL 80 laser, the most accurate LASIK laser in the world (according to US FDA trials), and the revolutionary Artemis Insight 100 corneal scanner. It could be said that aspects of his work are almost futuristic; while in the evenings he shifts several gears to concentrate on the inner workings of our planet, mapping rocks and structures laid down millions of years ago as he studies for a degree in Geology.

“I find the largest contrasts are in the sizes I am dealing with. Here, at the London Vision Clinic, my calculations are in microns – thousandths of a millimetre – and then, in the evenings, I’m talking about millions of years and kilometres of distance.”

Although Zach enjoys living in London and his work at 138 Harley Street, he also thrives in the great outdoors especially relishing the field trips that are an essential part of his degree course at Birbeck, University of London. His geological travels have so far taken him to Greece, Morocco and the Isle of Skye, while the volcanic “grey moonscape” Canaries island of Lanzarote is scheduled for next year.

Despite all the differences, and Zach’s parallel interest in archaeology, it only takes a relatively shallow dig to come up with some correlations between his studies and his career in Laser Eye Surgery.

“As an in-house technician, and having attended a detailed course which included maintenance and calibration at Carl Zeiss Meditec AG in Germany, I know the MEL 80 inside out. It really is ‘my baby’.”

“It all comes down to science in the end – geology is also a science with lots of physics and chemistry in it”, he explains. Zach has a scientific mind, thinking numerically and enjoying taking an analytical approach. “Both aspects require precision and perfection … you cannot be sloppy or laxidasical in any way.

“One of my best subjects in geology is geo physics which is about using ultra sound to discover what’s under the earth. I definitely had a leg up here because of all the physics involved in the laser and the Artemis Insight 100 uses ultra sound as well. I already had the practical knowledge of how physics works in eye surgery so I could transfer it to geology.”

Zach expects to graduate next summer and his thesis – which features “mapping” – is due to be presented in April. In the meantime, this daily millennia shift of focus suits Zach just fine.