Not All Surgeons Are Created Equal
There’s a barber I’ve been going to ever since I was six and I first rebelled against my mum’s quick and easy bowl haircut.
I remember how I would look forward to going every few weeks to Henry’s and getting my hair cut by the old veteran Henry himself. I’d climb up and sit in the aeroplane-shaped seat and for the next ten minutes be treat like a sergeant general in the Royal Air Force.
Henry had served and cut hair in the war. I used to think this meant he had a little barbershop with his aeroplane seat in the middle of a field, and that he spent his days giving soldiers, including the enemies, crewcuts and hot shaves.
At least this would have explained why he was so much better at cutting hair than my mum.
Later, though, I realised what it was that really made Henry so good at his job. It wasn’t his friendly mannerisms and graphic stories, his thousands of hours of experience, or even the fistful of sweets he would always hand me before I left. In theory, any hairdresser could have had all of this and still have done a shoddy job.
What made Henry so different was his dedication and belief in his craft. His tools were always shining and meticulously laid out on the counter; he made sure his customers were comfortable and knew exactly what they were getting, and he’d never rush no matter if you were his first or last of the day.
The Henry’s of the world are not as commonplace today as they once were, but there are still many people and organisations out there today who demonstrate the same level of dedication and care in what they do.
You can see this in some of the clinics and surgeons in the field of Laser Eye Surgery, with the wide range of quality services and expertise available. And as such, if you know how what to look for, you can find clinics and surgeons that are equally dedicated to their craft as Henry.
Knowledge Dispels Fear
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There are a few things you need to look out for, but here we’re going to focus on three of the main ones that can help you determine a surgeon’s quality.
You can tell a lot about a laser eye surgeon by the clinic in which they work. And you can tell a lot about a clinic by the technology it uses.
This is because Laser Eye Surgery is a procedure grounded in technology. And as such, can vary greatly according to the types and specifications of equipment and systems being used.
For instance, with the power of the revolutionary Artemis scanner, surgeons are able to safely treat very high prescriptions and other cases in which patients would normally be deemed unsuitable.
Likewise, the level of technology used in a clinic’s screening process can be hugely influential on the outcome of Laser Eye Surgery. More tech means more data and more accurate measurements, and, as a result, a safer and greater outcome.
Like most areas of work, there is a minimum amount of work you must do to become “qualified” and start working in that field.
In Laser Eye Surgery, this is the certificate from the Royal College of Ophthalmologists that is awarded to doctors on successful completion of a one-day examination. It’s a good start provided by a highly respected organisation, but it is nothing more than that — a start.
As well as having attained this basic qualification, a laser eye surgeon should have enrolled in further training. Unfortunately, the availability of specialist refractive training is limited in the UK, and so many surgeons learn on the job. However, there are some courses they can do, for example, the 12-month fellowship in Laser Refractive Surgery, developed by London Vision Clinic founder and Laser Eye Surgery pioneer, Professor Dan Reinstein.
Awards and recognitions
Other than analysing a surgeon’s technology and training, you can go a step further to finding out if a surgeon is truly dedicated to their discipline by researching if they’ve received any awards or recognitions, either in training or practice.
As well as showing a commitment to their craft, such accreditations can also demonstrate a specialised ability in a particular expertise such as ReLEx SMILE or cataract surgery. A prime example is Mr Alastair Stuart, surgeon and specialist in ophthalmology at the London Vision Clinic.
Among some of Mr Stuart’s achievements include best paper in refractive surgery at a UKISCRS meeting, trainee prize at the London School of Ophthalmology, a South West Thames trainee prize, and the best video prize at a UKISCRS meeting.
A few minutes talking to a surgeon like Mr Stuart, and you know you’re in the right hands:
“Knowing that I’m working to the best medical standard in the industry allows me to live in accordance with my values of accountability and responsibility,” — Mr Alastair Stuart