2018 saw a perfect start for Dr Claudine Pang, a Consultant Ophthalmologist and Medical Director. With many years of practice in different parts of the world, she has embarked on a new challenge of opening her own private practice in Singapore. As one of Miss Kaya’s ambassadors, we were happy to interview her to understand what drives her in her career and life.
Dr Claudine Pang
MBBS, MRCSEd, FRCSEd, FAMS (Ophthalmology)
Consultant Ophthalmologist and Medical Director
Asia Retina Eye Surgery Centre
290 Orchard Road, Paragon Medical Suites, #15-10 Singapore 238859
Q: A meaningful life is…
Q: What do you enjoy most about your work?
A: I very much enjoy connecting with my patients on a deeper level and getting to know their sincerest personalities and even idiosyncrasies. A doctor-patient relationship is a very unique and privileged one; and I enjoy being able to using this privilege along with my microsurgical skills to effect a real improvement in patients’ lives. I realize through all my interactions with patients that sometimes they need more than a drug or medication to feel better. Often, they need a listening ear or a comforting touch and I feel privileged to be able to make them feel better when I can.
Q: What’s one common misconception that people have about ophthalmology?
A: A lot of people believe that they are disease-free as long as they can see. What they don’t realize is that many eye conditions are rather silent until it could be too late. Regular eye screening is an effective way to maintain eye health and prevent eye diseases or blindness. Going to the eye doctor for yearly routine checks should be valued as much as going to the dentist regularly!
Q: What was the toughest moment in your career? How did you overcome it?
A: Being in a predominantly male-dominant field (especially so for the vitreoretinal subspecialty of ophthalmology), it was difficult being the only female fighting for positions that are traditionally filled by men. I recall countless interviews where I would be the only female in attendance. As honored as I was with the opportunity, it would involve awkward and often unjust situations. It was difficult altering societal mindset that I could be as effective, if not more, than my male counterparts. It was always an uphill battle for me, with constant discouragements and belittlement from male superiors. However I persevered with brazen, persistent grit despite numerous setbacks. Eventually, having been awarded the highly sought after Surgical Vitreoretinal Fellowship at the University of British Columbia as the first and only woman in the world to do so, it was one of the most gratifying and rewarding moments of my life.
Q: How do you spend your days off from work?
A: These days I spend most of my time off work with my children. I’m a firm believer in parenting with a presence, which means being present for all the small, mundane and routine ‘chores’ like feeding them or putting them to sleep; in addition to the big and momentous events. Most of us don’t realize how important it is to our kids to have their parents around them, even when there is no specific scheduled activity. I believe it allows them to feel secure and assured that parents are always present for them in their lives, regardless of the event. And what I’ve learnt for myself is that the most magical moments I’ve experienced with my kids actually happen when I least expect it, while doing the simplest of things together!
Q: How do you see the medical field developing in the next 10 years?
A: The medical field in the current day is moving toward wellness and preventative care, which means preventing diseases before they even occur. I see the future of medical care will be centred around early detection of an individual’s disease potential through genetic screening, where everyone would be able to get a full genetic sequence to find out all the diseases we are predisposed to and in turn take proactive measures to prevent them before they occur. As it stands, current day research in gene therapy is already proving to be very promising in our near future.
Q: What would you say to a young aspiring doctor?