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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 55  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 175-176

Practice, business and life

Medical Director, T. M. S. Eye Hospital, Salem, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Web Publication9-Mar-2018

Correspondence Address:
Dr. V Siddharthan
T. M. S. Eye Hospital, 51, L. R. N. Colony, Sarada College Road, Salem - 636 007, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/tjosr.tjosr_15_18

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How to cite this article:
Siddharthan V. Practice, business and life. TNOA J Ophthalmic Sci Res 2017;55:175-6

How to cite this URL:
Siddharthan V. Practice, business and life. TNOA J Ophthalmic Sci Res [serial online] 2017 [cited 2018 Mar 17];55:175-6. Available from: http://www.tnoajosr.com/text.asp?2017/55/3/175/226857

For the past 35 years in ophthalmology career, I have been gathering knowledge, experience, skill, insight, and wisdom. I wish to share some of them through this guest editorial.

Passing out as a postgraduate in ophthalmology, obtaining special training and exposure seems to be the easy part. We are not taught or prepared to enter into practice, lead a business, and balance our lives. It is an interesting learning experience to master the above three facets.


It is essential that we preserve our moral compass and that we give all patients the same high level of care that we would want for our own eyes. As simple as these sounds, it can be a challenge to balance scheduling, technology, insurance restrictions, and patient desires with sound clinical judgment, but I am confident that every ophthalmologist can meet this requirement, especially if it is reinforced regularly to medical students and resident physicians.

Be passionate about ophthalmology and enjoy being able to give patients the gift of sight – it is a powerful gift that truly changes people's lives. But, remember that all ophthalmologists, even master surgeons, have complications. The key is to appropriately manage these complications and work with the patients to maximize their outcomes. The difference between a complication and a lesson is taking the opportunity to learn from it.

Keep an open mind about new surgical procedures and products; you never know which one will revolutionize ophthalmology. The difference between perceived madness and genius can simply be the acceptance of peers, something that we've learned from the pioneer of phacoemulsification, Charles Kelman.

Sometimes, physicians can be like crabs in a bucket: They step on each other to get to the top, and when one finally reaches it, the others grab him and pull him back down. Aim to outdo yourself, instead of outdoing your peers. The best minds in medicine are in competition with themselves, not with their colleagues. Respect your colleagues and give them the benefit of the doubt.


In business, I've learned that I'm great at working hard and earning drop by drop, but unfortunately, I'm also an expert of losing money by the bucketful. Sadly, it seems that there are plenty of business sharks out there, actively seeking out prey. Doctors are notoriously easy targets for them because we have minimal business training and at our core we are trusting people who put the interests of others ahead of our own.

Too often, seemingly savvy business people lie, cheat, and steal in the pursuit of money. I've learned that it is better to pursue happiness and my passions first and that the best investment that you can make is in yourself. The best decisions aren't the ones that are most financially lucrative but the ones that make the most sense. Spending time in teaching surgery to residents, lecturing at ophthalmology meetings, and writing are all rewarding for me, but they're not the most profitable business decisions.

I have no idea how the business of ophthalmology will evolve in the future, but I am certain that if I continue to hone my clinical and surgical skills, I will have the ability to help thousands of people see better. And, with our aging population, there will always be a need for a good ophthalmologist.


I believe in the guiding light that steers me in times of hardship, confusion, and also joy. The “mantra” that leads me is “PCOK” pronounced peacock that stands for positive, constructive, optimistic, and kind. I try to base my thoughts, actions, and aspirations on the criteria that they are positive in nature or constructive, optimistic or kind.

For me, happiness is finding pleasure in my everyday life. And that's a blend of surgery, teaching, writing, traveling, and most of all spending time with those I love. Be a conscientious doctor, invest in yourself, and enjoy your life. It really is that simple.

The Journal of Tamilnadu Ophthalmic Association has grown in leaps and bounds; every editor contributing his/her best to take the journal to greater heights. As a past editor, I would say that Dr. Nirmal's contribution will be etched in golden letters.


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