Take career advice on Ophthalmologist profession from Akhilesh Kant

Akhilesh Kant (Ophthalmologist)

Insights

  1. The journey from education and training to actual practice is a long and costly process and you require intense patience to undergo the process.
  2. There are no holidays and duty calls must be attended regardless as the patient’s well-being is at stake.
  3. You have no work-life balance and your social life is always affected.
  4. To have a successful career you need to be warm, kind and gentle with your patient in order to help them relax.
  5. The cost involved in educating yourself to become a doctor is extremely high and you will face problems if you are financially unstable.
  6. Initial pay is not as good compared to the work required.

Profile Details

Name – Akhilesh Kant

Profession – Ophthalmologist (Eye Doctor)

Age – 51

Gender – Male

City – Kanpur

Industry – Health Sector

Where have you been born and raised?

I was born in Kasauli, Himachal Pradesh. I have three elder sisters and one younger sister. My schooling has been done from Government High School, Kasauli. For my plus two, I went to DAV College in sector 10 Chandigarh. My father was a Microbiologist. He retired as the Deputy Director of Central Research Institute in Kasauli. He was highly educated, he held M. Sc., M. Phil. and a Ph.D. degree in the field. My mother is a homemaker.

Who all had the most influence on you and how?

My father is the person who inspired me the most in life. He taught me the key to success is hard work and dedication. He taught me to be modest, despite him being a well-respected scientist.

Please give us a summary of your career.

I enrolled in the Indira Gandhi Medical College (IGMC), Shimla to pursue an MBBS degree in 1984. After graduating, I was accepted by the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh in 1991 to pursue a Master of Surgery (MS) degree in Ophthalmic.

I started out at the Sitapur Eye Hospital in 1994. Later, I came to Kanpur in 1998 to work for the Jawahar Lal Rohtagi Eye Institute. I spent a brief amount of time (between 1999 and 2000) working for the R.K. Devi Memorial Hospital. I started out my own practice in 2000, and currently devote most of my time there, apart from being a consultant surgeon at the PPM Hospital since 2008. I have also conducted various medical camps around the rural areas of Kanpur from 2004 to 2009.

Which institutes are best for the education/training of Ophthalmologist?

In my opinion, I would say PGIMER in Chandigarh, RP center AIIMS in New Delhi, IGMC in Shimla, Govt. Medical College in Chandigarh and Sitapur Eye Hospital are the colleges you should consider if you want to specifically become an ophthalmologist.

PGIMER and RP Centre provide the latest knowledge in these respective fields and the others are very sincere in their approach.

What are the costs associated with the education/training of this profession?

The initial cost of doing MBBS is borne by the candidate and varies from place to place. The average is 1–2 Lakhs per annum in Government Sector and 5–10 lakhs per annum in private institutes.

How does one enter this profession?

After completing MBBS, you have to complete your practical training for at least a year before you could pursue a post-graduation in Ophthalmology (MS, DOMS or DNB) to practice in this field. Post your graduate degree, you could go for a two-year super-specialization degree (M.Ch.).

However, at the time of writing, only two colleges in India offer such a course. You could also pursue an FRCS degree after his MS, which would give him the license to practice and work in hospitals abroad.

What is the range of salary one can expect when starting out as Ophthalmologist?

5–10 years of experience – 1–2 lakhs INR per month

10–15 years of experience – 2–3 lakhs INR per month

20+ years of experience – 3–4 lakhs INR per month

Above figures are tentative and may vary from individual to individual

Please describe your work. What do you typically do on a normal workday?

My day starts at 11 AM with the Out Patient Department which goes on till 2 PM. After that, I perform eye surgeries from 2 PM to 3.30 PM. I give myself a break till 6 PM. followed by OPD from 6–8 PM. Initially, my Sunday evenings were off, but due to my age, I decided to keep Saturday evenings off as well. However, given the nature of my profession, patients could come knocking at my doorstep even late at night, especially during the festive days of Deepawali, where accidents involving the eye is a common occurrence.

What are some of the positives, which would encourage someone to consider Ophthalmologist as a career?

Practicing medicine is a noble profession and there are many positives to consider. Some of them are:

  1. It’s a blend of earning money and social service side by side. You are giving back to the society by treating them. You give people hope by healing and making their lives better.
  2. If you are sincere and good at your job then the sky’s the limit for growth as there is high stability in this career.
  3. Being a doctor brings you a lot of respect and adoration in the society.
  4. The income is high and the demand for good doctors in India is high as well, therefore, it is a win-win situation.

What are some of the challenges that you would want someone to be aware of when considering this career/job?

It is a very demanding career. You are dealing with the most important and delicate faculty of the human body.

Some of the negatives to consider are:

  1. You have to be alert all the time. You will often be required to give up personal activities in order to treat your patient.
  2. The cost involved in educating yourself to become a doctor is extremely high and you will face problems if you are financially unstable.
  3. Initial pay is not as good compared to the work required.
  4. You have to shoulder the tremendous responsibility of the well-being of your patients. If anything goes wrong your credibility receives a hard blow.

What are the relevant trends/skills/technologies that are currently commanding a premium in your job profile?

Some technologies that one needs to be aware of and that are absolutely necessary are Lasik surgeries, semi-robotic cataract surgeries etc. One needs to be extremely patient, precise and careful while doing the surgery.

What kind of person would be happy as Ophthalmologist?

A person who has a lot of patience and a cool temperament. It will lead to a bad outcome if you enter the surgical room in an angry, unpleasant mood. You will also be required to calm down the patient and keep him in good spirits because many a time the patients feel scared. It goes without saying that the person should have a surgical bent of mind and should be clear and precise.

Given another choice, what would you do differently as far as your professional selections are concerned?

I would have loved to play cricket professionally because I would enjoy the fame and glamour that comes with it.

What would be your advice to students or professionals who are just starting their journey on a path similar to yours?

I would tell them to just be consistent and be focused. It goes without saying, of course, that hard work is the key in any and every field.

Contributing Writer – Surabhi Sanghi