Seeing Things From Both Sides Of The Operating Table
Perhaps, like me, you wonder what might be going on in the laser eye surgeon’s mind while he is operating. Obviously he is going to be extremely focused … but on what exactly?
Dr Dan is famously quoted as saying that if a bomb were to explode in the next room and, while he was operating, he wouldn’t even be aware of it.
How then could Glenn Carp meet or even top that level of concentration.
“Actually, this is where I have an advantage over the Prof”, says Glenn.
But how could that be? Might Glenn have an analogy even more shocking and potentially disturbing than Dr Dan’s exploding bomb scenario?
“I’ve actually had eye surgery myself – so I know what it’s like”, he explains.
Dr Dan still has untouched perfect eyesight; but Glenn has experienced things from both sides of the operating table so to speak.
He first became short sighted at university and although his prescription wasn’t too high (minus 2 and a half) he also had an astigmatism.
Glenn found that he didn’t tolerate contact lenses well and that his sight problems were especially inconvenient on the sports field. Also, as a junior ophthalmologist in training, there was another huge disadvantage to wearing glasses: his specs acted as a barrier, preventing him from getting his eyes as close to microscopes and other optical equipment’s eye pieces as necessary. And the contact lenses, which would allow the eyes closer access, were proving uncomfortable.
Once in London and working alongside Dr Dan (or The Prof, as he calls him), Glenn had the opportunity not only to get his eyesight corrected, but also to discover first-hand what it feels like to be a patient on the operating table looking up at those bright lights.
“All patients are nervous and – although I had complete confidence in the Prof – I was no exception”, he remembers.
Undoubtedly the experience makes it easier for Glenn to relate to the emotions that each patient feels.
“The protocols we both use are identical – there is no difference in the treatment whether the operation is conducted by the Prof or by me. However, possibly, we have our own personal way of approaching the patients and helping them over their stress.
“It is a quick procedure – usually no more than 20 minutes for both eyes. Both the Prof and I are completely focussed during that time on two things: number one is the actual surgery and number two the patient himself.
“Everybody is nervous – even I was nervous when I had my treatment – but it is a matter of picking up on the subtle signs that the patient is presenting with so that you can make sure you can make them as comfortable as possible and to give them the time and space they need to cope with each step of the procedure.
“We want the surgery to be successful – not just its outcome, but also the whole experience. We don’t want our patients to come out of it feeling as if they have had a rough ride. It should be a very gentle, easy going experience… just a matter of lying down and looking at a little green flashing light and then, a few minutes later, sitting up and enjoying their new vision.”
Like all former patients, four years on and Glenn is still thrilled with the results.
As Dr Dan gets older and inevitably feels as if his arms aren’t long enough as he squints at print, then Glenn will be able to return the favour when it becomes Dr Dan’s turn to try out the LVC operating table for size.