1. What attracted you to the field of ophthalmology?
I can still remember my first visit to the eye doctor; I have been admiring that physician’s work since then. After I was accepted in a program to study medicine, it was clear to me that I wanted to become an ophthalmologist. During my studies, I was attracted to the constant technological advances in the field of ophthalmology. Other branches of medicine use a different language and have an isolated and independent view of human organs—at least that is how I perceive it. Several topics in ophthalmology interest me, ranging from the biomechanics of the cornea to the optics of vision. Even now, when I perform routine examinations, I feel the same joy and excitement I experienced during my residency.
2. You are one of the most experienced surgeons in your country, having performed more than 50,000 cataract and refractive surgeries by the age of 36. What advice do you have for new cataract and refractive surgeons? How can they build patient volume?
I have always worked at a private clinic, never at a government hospital or university. This has been advantageous, but it also has downsides. Because I was working privately, I could not afford to make mistakes. At the start of my career, when I was a medical director, I attended international educational programs, meetings, courses, and seminars to enrich my knowledge.
The expertise I gained from these seminars and meetings was helpful and useful for my research and publications. (These were published under the surname Ertan.) New refractive surgeons must be up-todate with current standards and technologies. The more knowledge and experience a doctor has, the more patients he or she will attract. To build patient volume, one has to be committed and, above all, have an ethical and scientific approach.
3. What are your responsibilities as a delegate for the International Society of Refractive Surgery (ISRS), and what does this role mean to you professionally?
International council representatives serve as points of contact for local refractive surgeons, thereby increasing the presence of ISRS in their region. I have been a member of this organization for 5 years. I participate regularly in the educational programs the ISRS organizes in different countries.
4. What do you hope to accomplish in the next 5 years?
One of my goals is to gain more experience through performing advanced refractive and cataract surgeries. I enjoy giving and attending lectures, and I have recently become a faculty member at the European School for Advanced Studies in Ophthalmology, where I will be giving lectures on refractive and cataract surgery. This is an exciting opportunity that will allow me to conduct more academic research. I am passionate about golf, but I do not have much time to enjoy my hobby. Therefore, another goal of mine in the upcoming years is to schedule time to practice my swings.
5. What is your most memorable international experience?
I was the one of the youngest women to earn the Achievement Award from the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO). I received this award in 2010 at the AAO meeting in Chicago. I am proud of the team I have built at our private clinics. Our research efforts led to this award and recognition among the ophthalmic community.