Best holiday wishes from Clinica London
Milestones like year ends are opportunities to reflect on what’s come before and what we hope for the future. In this blog post, I’d like to review for you my path that’s led me to where I am now, and thank a few people along the way who have made Clinica London a reality.
My early experience as an ophthalmologist
I trained as an oculoplastic surgeon at Moorfields Eye Hospital. I first went to Moorfields in 1985 as a registrar having come up from Cardiff. I then did my full training there for nine years which included registrar research, senior registrar, a fellow in adnexal and then a fellow in oculoplastic paediatric ophthalmology and strabismus. I later became a consultant at Hillingdon Hospital and the Western Eye Hospital in 1994.
At Hillingdon, I set up the paediatric ophthalmology and oculoplastic service, and at the Western Eye Hospital I set up the oculoplastic service.
I then moved over to the Charing Cross, dropping my Hillingdon sessions so that I could concentrate on doing endoscopic endonasal lacrimal work. I went off to Boston to learn endoscopic endonasal tear duct surgery doing DCRs through the nose as opposed to through a skin incision. That was to treat patients with watering eyes as they were a very neglected group and suffered a lot from blurred vision, sore skin, and often lacrimal sac infections.
I was in a very fortunate position to be able to set up this new Lacrimal service at the Western Eye Hospital and Charing Cross Hospital (both now part of Imperial Healthcare NHS Trust). I also worked very closely with my ENT colleagues, my head and neck colleagues doing watering eye and oculoplastic surgery and reconstructive surgery around the eye and face.
Becoming a lead consultant specialist
As a Lead Consultant Specialist, I trained many young ophthalmologists – known as fellows – from all over the world and many specialist registrars all of whom have remained close as good friends and colleagues now that they are in their consultant posts. I enjoyed training, and it was one of the reasons that I did not want to leave the NHS, but I had the opportunity to start Clinica London, and so I finally did so, and we set up here at the end of 2010/2011.
At that time I was still partly in the NHS, and I was only doing a couple of days private here and then gradually I dropped my NHS sessions, took a sabbatical for two years to see whether I liked it away from the NHS and then decided not to go back. Clinica London was growing, and several other eye colleagues joined.
Growing Clinica London
I have been very privileged to co-found the British Oculoplastic Surgery Society (BOPSS) in the year 2000 along with Richard Collin my mentor and Brian Leatherbarrow one of my colleagues. Although Brian and I have never actually worked together in oculoplastics, I have always had tremendous respect for him. Like myself, he is an author. He has written books on oculoplastic surgery and I have written books on lacrimal surgery and ophthalmology, and we have worked together with British Oculoplastic Surgery Society which is now going from strength to strength. He is also a good teacher.
I have also run many meetings in reconstructive rejuvenation in watering eyes, and I have lectured internationally in the Far East, in Europe and the US. I have done charity eye work in Africa going to Mali, Cameroon, Tunisia and I feel very grateful for such a broad experience.
I am now concentrating my work in London and travelling a lot less as I have Clinica London to run as Medical Director. It is a small eye and skin clinic which is growing. We hope to have a couple more surgeons join us in 2018, and we are going up to three nurses, expanding reception and expanding admin. We now have a lot of machines including a laser for cataract posterior capsule opacification (PCO) and glaucoma. Many of our other devices are diagnostic used for ophthalmology, and we have skin treating machines such as cryotherapy, Intraceuticals and Ultherapy.
Although we are primarily a medical clinic, it also has an active aesthetic branch. That is mainly because I have trained as an oculoplastic surgeon.
As a teenager, I originally wanted to do art and languages, but my parents said that I should do medicine. I think I have fulfilled my ambitions by combining all of these. I love languages. I speak French, Spanish, Catalan and a smattering of Russian and I also apply my interest in art through my work doing delicate eyelid surgery and doing specialised fillers in the tear troughs, TearFill, SculptEyes, SculptVisage, Hyalofix. These are all treatments to do with non-surgical rejuvenation.
I am an eyelid surgeon first and foremost
I love doing upper eyelid blepharoplasty, and my favourite operation has to be ptosis. Every upper eyelid ptosis is different, and a challenge and the most important thing is to respect the essential look of that patient whether it be blepharoplasty or ptosis because the last thing I want to do is to change their appearance. I just want to increase their beauty, their attractiveness, the harmony between the different parts of the face and rejuvenate them so that they feel confident. I have seen many young patients come through and have upper eyelid ptosis done with me who are very unconfident, come with their parents, it is affecting them at their work or university, and then after the surgery, I see a changed personality with increased confidence and increase the ability to go forward independently.
What the future holds in store for Clinica London
Clinica London will be here for a few more years, and we will keep going with writing our blog posts to let you all know what is going on. Every so often we do patient events and hope that twice a year we will be able to see our patients here at Clinica London with a winter and summer event.
This coming year, 2018, we are planning our winter patient event in February, as January could be quite a cold month, and then we will do our summer patient event in June before the holidays while everybody is thinking about looking beautiful and being well for the summer.
We will also do a lot of teaching events for optometrists and GPs which is part of our educational programme, and I hope that many of you who read this blog or our various social media accounts will continue to watch out for these events that are advertised on our website and other meeting websites.
I just have to thank my team for being so super. We currently have Jenny Burrows in the Reception who is our Clinic Coordinator. However, we are expanding our workforce. An assistant, Elizabeth Grainger, will soon join her, which can help Jenny not to have to do absolutely everything. We also have Estrella Gil, our nurse, and we will have two more nurses starting very soon in 2018 who are ophthalmic, dermatologic and aesthetically trained.
We have our six consultants who cover paediatrics and adults, doing glaucoma, cataract and medical retina. I cover adult and children eyelids, watering eyes, dry eyes and general eye problems, plus the aesthetics such as blepharoplasty, ptosis and various fillers and techniques already mentioned such as TearFill, Hyalox, SculptEyes and SculptVisage.
I also want to thank the admin staff. We always seem to forget about them because they are in the background, but we have people in admin and finance who are the backbone of the clinic, and without whom we just would not exist.
My best holiday wishes to you, our patients
I look forward to seeing many of you in 2018. Have an absolutely wonderful Christmas and New Year break. It seems early to be doing the Clinica Christmas message, but it is nice to get towards the end of the year. It is a frigid day today that I am writing this. We had a flurry of snow yesterday, and the shops are full of people buying food and presents, and getting ready to stay warm inside, not necessarily by a log fire, but in a warm home with music, possibly some wine and friends and family.
Wishing you all the best for the forthcoming 2018.