Dr. Rahil Chaudhary, Director, Eye-7 Hospitals, recently joined NewsX for an exclusive interview. Having grown up in a family of doctors, Rahil developed a passion for medicine from a young age. “I grew up in a family of doctors, my maama, chaacha, all of them were doctors. My father was an eye surgeon, so I was kind of following in his footsteps. That is where you develop a passion for the field you see them working every day.”

Dr. Chaudhary holds the record for most number of laser specs removal surgeries in India. He attributes this to the new laser removal technology, ‘Contoura Vision’ that Eye-7 hospitals have been utilising. “It’s a matter of chance. We were the first to introduce laser specs removal, and we recently introduced Contoura Vision. It’s a cutting edge technique which can give you ’super-vision’ after the surgery, and it’s housed only in select few facilities in India. That’s why you’re seeing people from all over India, and even around the world, trying to get the surgery.”

Opthamology is an elective field, and deals mostly with the elderly, because of this, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on his work. “We don’t have many emergency procedures, so the elderly they’ve been avoiding surgeries right now. Obviously, nowadays, old people are scared to move out.” He says though, that there are two sides to the story. “On the contrary, I see a lot of youngsters now coming in for their laser specs removal surgeries. Earlier, they wouldn’t, but now, I think during lockdowns and work from home they are actually able to make time for these procedures, and take advantage of them.”

The pandemic will also create a “new normal” in medicine, according to Dr. Chaudhary. The government of India has relaxed tele-medicine laws, and they’re here to stay, in his view. “Patients prefer to get a first opinion on the phone, and only come to the hospital if it’s necessary. Obviously, most of the hospitals are only serving COVID patients right now. Additionally, tele-medicine helps those people living in rural India. Earlier, they could not get a super specialist’s opinion, but now, they can and plan their whole trip and coming down to a city, on the basis of that. “

There are currently only around 20,000 eye doctors in India, almost all in urban areas. Many people in rural areas around the country, are unable to receive treatments because of this. “Many times there are problems that can cause blindness, and would not be difficult to fix. For example, cataracts. It is a simple procedure, but some of these basic procedures are not available in many parts of India.”

Prognosticating on the future of Indian medicine, Dr. Chaudhary focuses on the problems plaguing our health infrastructure currently. “Indian medicine is on par with the world in the cities, but in the rural side of India, facilities really diminish. People in rural parts are not able to take good treatments. I think, in the future, we’ll be growing and going to places where people can get the facilities and treatment they need.”

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