A day in the life: working as an eye surgeon

Mr Adonis El Salloukh is an eye surgeon working in Cardiff. A specialist registrar, he chairs the ophthalmologists in training group (OTG) for the Royal College of Ophthalmologists

How did you start your career?

I’ve been interested in becoming an eye surgeon since I was eight years old – I was fascinated by the complex anatomy of this organ. During my medical school training, at St George’s in London, I travelled to India to help with eye camps where we funded free surgeries to restore eyesight for those who cannot afford to pay. That was a pivotal moment which led to my full commitment to the specialty.

What do you start with every day?

I am usually either doing an outpatient clinic or an operating theatre list. First I prepare the notes and see the emergency patients in the clinic. After that, I assess patients that need surgery then operate on them. 

I see a variety of patients from all backgrounds and ages that need urgent eyecare treatment. I am always so excited to go to work and I thoroughly enjoy every minute of my day. It gives me so much joy to see patients happy after restoring their eyesight with medical or surgical treatment.

What are the main challenges?

This is one of the most rewarding jobs in the world. You are providing a service to restore one of a person’s most important senses, their vision! It requires working day shifts and weekends during training to deal with any emergencies like trauma, acute loss of vision and detecting manifestations of other medical conditions in the eye.

What do you love about what you do?

I love every minute of my job. In clinics, I get to uncover the reasons why the patient has lost their vision and give them treatment in the hope of restoring their vision. 

In surgery, I am operating on one of the most delicate organs in the human body. I work with microscopes and perform microsurgery to fix their eyes. After seven years in training, I still get very excited to go and do the best job in the world.

How do you wrap up your day and prepare for the next?

I finish by checking notes for the next day. Some days I am on call, so I review acute emergencies and then head to home. Normally, outside of work, I am either in the gym or playing squash. I go to sleep early to prepare for the next exciting day.

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