Wills Eye Global, Through the eyes of my grandmother
By Zubair Ansari MD
Hyderabad, a large city in the south central part of India, has always been familiar to me. I was born roughly 400 km from here in a small town along the Godavari river called Rajahmundry. Most of the family have since moved to Hyderabad, and as such, I have visited this city multiple times since I was a child. Every time I visit, I am humbled by the level of progress and development this city has experienced – whether it be through the creation of “Cyberabad” thanks to the large tech boom of the 2000s or the new high-speed rail that zips along the city. But most importantly, Hyderabad has always been considered home to me because of family.
I first learned about LV Prasad well before my time here. My grandmother was treated at its Kallam Anjali Reddy campus in Banjara Hills multiple years prior. It was the only place she trusted for her glaucoma, and once I entered into a residency in Ophthalmology, she would frequently recall her experiences as a patient there. She would often describe the impressive quality of the facility and the high level of treatment and care she would receive by the fellows and attendings.
With this in mind, I was overjoyed to spend a month here as a MSICS trainee. The first and foremost principle I learned at LVPEI is a dedication to the craft through high-quality research and patient care. LVPEI is and has always been a thought leader in many fields of ophthalmology such as the creation of the SLET technique for limbal stem cell deficiency after ocular burns. Thanks to the innumerable patients that walk through LVPEI’s centers around India, and the meticulous data collection through its proprietary EHR, LVPEI stands to make huge breakthroughs in the field of Ophthalmology through incredible data sets. Questions that other research institutes may not be able to answer through small sample sizes are virtually negated at LVPEI.
The next principle was altruism. LVPEI functions similarly to every major eye institute I have seen in America and Europe from prepping the patient to surgery to examining the patient postoperatively. However, LVPEI is able to deliver care to all backgrounds regarding their payor status. The way they do it is through the sight-savers program or a tiered payor system in which patients who are able to pay for their care subsidize the care for 4-5 “non-paying” patients. LVPEI also has a wealth of secondary cataract centers around the surrounding regions that host fellows and residents who can offer cataract surgery for all communities of all backgrounds.
The last principle was excellence. Every fellow is required to punctual, consistently well dressed and groomed, and to pay attention to every detail. This diligence is carried over to the clinical care of patients where every detail (small or large) is documented and attended to. This is especially true also in the surgical setting in which excellence is demanded and pursued by the consultants starting from installation of dilating drops, to delivery of the cataractous lens in MSICS. There is no doubt in my mind I am a better physician, surgeon, and person for participating in this culture.
On a more personal level, through LVPEI I was fortunate to see and treat patients with vision disabling cataracts through MSICS surgery. It was hard not to feel a special kinship with the patients I operated on. It was hard not to feel that the stories of my patients were ones of my own, of my uncle’s, of my grandmother’s. I am truly thankful to the chair of LVPEI Dr. Rao and LVPEI for being an incredible host and to Dr. Feldman and the Wills CAGO program for this special trip to the motherland.
Here are some attached photos of the trip including a photo with my co-trainee Ameeta who is a wonderful friend and surgeon who will be hopefully practicing in the Delhi area in the coming year and my surgical mentor Dr. Revathy who is a cornea, refractive, and cataract surgeon at LVPEI and easily one of the best surgeons I have ever seen.
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