What is Alex Shortt’s training and experience?

Interview transcription

We interviewed Alex Shortt to find out about his training and experience.

Alex Shortt: A question I’m often asked is why I chose to become an eye surgeon. For me, it was quite a personal family experience. When I was seven years old, my great aunt developed severe cataracts. Over time, she lost all her vision. She then went on to have cataract surgery, and I went into the hospital with her and saw her after the procedure. The impact that the cataract surgery had on this family member was immense. She went from being blind and disabled to have a whole new lease on life again. For me, as a young child, it left a huge impression, and I decided then and there, that this was what I wanted to do for a living.

The next step along the journey was studying medicine at University College Dublin. I really enjoyed the physiology, pharmacology and scientific aspect of medicine. So, immediately after qualifying, I went back to university and did a Master’s degree in physiology.

I then started my clinical ophthalmology training in Dublin. I was lucky enough to be offered a position at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London to continue my training. I moved to Moorfields and after nine years of training – during which I also undertook a PhD in ophthalmology looking at stem cell technology to treat eye disease – I finished my training and became a consultant at Moorfields Eye Hospital. I worked there for four years.

During that time I specialised in very complex cases of severe damage to the surface of the eyes and using corneal transplants and stem cell transplants to try and rebuild the surface of very badly damaged eyes.

I also took an interest in lens implant technology and laser vision correction and using these advanced technologies to improve vision in patients who were extremely dependent on glasses and contact lenses.

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Alex Shortt: In 2017, I took the decision to actually leave the NHS and to establish my own independent practice, so that I could have more control and more ability to offer the treatments that I was specifically specialising in, to work with the complex and interesting patients. Furthermore, I wanted to provide a more personal service, where I could give more one-to-one face time and more dedication to patients as they go through their treatment journey.

The most rewarding part of the job and the thing that keeps you going on twelve to fourteen hour days are seeing patients after treatment when you have improved the quality of their vision and the quality of their lives tremendously and they’re just beaming. They’re sitting in the waiting room, reading the paper, smiling without any glasses. It never gets old. The feeling of appreciation and having fulfilled and often exceeded the expectations makes it all worth it and never wears off.

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About the author

Mr Alex J. Shortt | Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

MB BCh MSc PhD FRCOphth PGDipCatRef

I’m Alex Shortt, a highly trained academic researcher and Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon based in London’s famous Harley Street medical district. I trained and worked as a consultant for 14 years at London’s Moorfields Eye Hospital. I specialise in advanced technologies for correcting vision, including cataract surgery, implantable contact lenses and laser vision correction.

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