Maximizing IOL Fellowship

Dr. Atul Kamath M, MBBS, MS
  • Dr. Atul Kamath M completed his Fellowship in IOL from Sankara Academy of Vision, Coimbatore.
  • He completed his Ophthalmology Residency from Saurashtra University, Shri M P. Shah government medical college, Jamnagar.
  • He holds an MBBS degree from K S Hegde Medical academy, Mangalore.
  • Currently he is working as SR at KMC, MAHE, Mangalore.
  • He has 9 publications in peer-reviewed national and international journals. 


Q1. Why did you choose IOL fellowship?

A1. Cataract extraction with phacoemulsification is the bread and butter of every ophthalmologist. Majority of the patients presenting to an eye OPD anywhere around the globe will develop cataract. With advancement and the world heralding into refractive cataract surgery I was fascinated by this concept of making people spectacle free with simple and economical methods not relying on heavy investment and equipment.

Q2. Why did you choose Sankara Academy of Vision, Coimbatore for your fellowship?

A2. Sankara Academy of Vision  institute has a well structured programme giving one exposure from basic SICS to phacoemulsification to managing complex cases to iris claw implantation. But the most beneficial part is that the fellowship curriculum is closely integrated with the cornea department, thus giving a great exposure to cornea and refractive surgeries. This is what gives it an edge over other places.

Q3. What were your areas of interest?

A3. Management of routine and complex cataract cases and associated conditions including performing advanced anterior segment procedures involving cataract, IOL, Iris and Refractive cataract surgery

Q4. Is it mandatory to have had some surgical experience before joining IOL Fellowship?

A4. Not necessarily. The fellowship is created in such a way that somebody who has had no experience can gain tremendous confidence and manage complex cases at the end of his fellowship term.

Q5. How important is wet lab/simulator training according to you?

A5. I have seen many trainees getting anxious and hands trembling when they operate on an eye. A wet lab is more of a platform to boost one’s confidence and get rid of the anxiety issues and perform the surgery well. One can master the skill by spending more time at wet labs practicing and perfecting suturing techniques, rhexis and tunnel construction.

Q6. Clinics, Research, Conferences and Surgery – please elaborate on each, your challenges and how you tackled them and experiences.

A6. As there are primary and secondary DNB students attached to the institute, one gets automatically involved in clinics where you would be taking classes and attending classes. Also you would be exposed to a vast number of patients due to the high footfall in the OPD.

Our institute sponsors one international and one national conference for every fellow and DNB student, research is given utmost importance and also with the humongous patient data collection lot of large survey research can be done.

There is never a dearth in learning the techniques and nuances in surgery and procedures. From stepwise guidance to performing surgeries independently one can attain total confidence in any branch selected. Also, most of the fellows are sent on deputation to peripheral centres once they are confident and gained enough exposure and experience in their fields. This is one of the highlighting feature which makes the institute standout among the rest.

Q7. How to build a good rapport with your mentor?

A7. Mentor is more like an extended family member where trust matters a lot. Be frank, tell your problems – be it health, skill or anything. It makes your fellowship days more comfortable and relaxed. One is known to perform his best in a homely environment. Therefore loyalty and honesty with patience matters the most.

Q8. How important is the support of your colleagues?

A8. It has been said a friend in need is a friend indeed. True to this you need someone during your fellowship to talk and discuss all your day to day activities. Keep a colleague close to you and tell him/her all your queries, fears and problems. Most of the times they come up with the best and wonderful solutions to your problems.

Q9. How to cope up with the stress and not let it reflect in your work?

A9. Expectations Is the mother of all frustrations. Most of the times people hurry up in gaining new skill or starting a new technique and procedure and end up depressed if not done. Keep an open mind, staying calm and patient, giving your best in every task you perform helps you not get stressed and tensed. Take a necessary break in between, sleep well and eat adequately.

Q10. Quick checklist for young aspiring IOL fellows to follow during their fellowship.


  1. Life is all about passions. Be passionate. Keep your aims clear.
  2. Practice till you are perfect.
  3. Learn something new everyday.
  4. Teach your juniors – technique or knowledge- you learn a lot teaching and managing complications.
  5. Keep reading latest editions of renowned journals and stay upto date.
  6. Keep asking questions- this is the last place where you can ask questions no matter how stupid.