Every year, we scope out 18 women who are driven by a desire to bring positive change and have achieved success in their chosen field as part of the Great Women Of Our Time awards. Meet 2019’s Science & Technology nominee, Dr Claudine Pang, Medical Director, Asia Retina Eye Surgery Centre:
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Meet Dr Claudine Pang – Great Women Of Our Time 2019 Science & Technology Nominee
When asked what she does for a living, Dr Pang gets straight to the point. “I make blind people see again. Yes, literally,” says the eye surgeon.
“I have a vision to bring eye care technology and innovation to communities-at-large and underprivileged societies. I strongly believe that technology can help improve awareness on eye health and give better eyesight for all.”
Part of this vision saw her create Singapore’s first mobile app focused on eye health. The Asia Retina app is free to download and allows users to assess basic visual functions that include visual acuity check, colour vision check and dry eye tests.
Our eyes are really important but the reality is that many of us don’t think about our vision unless there’s a problem; Dr Pang wants to change that.
“People think that their eyes are healthy as long as they can see. That is not true because a lot of eye diseases are silent and have little to no symptoms,” says the retinal specialist.
“In my work, I perform sight-saving retinal-repairing surgery to restore sight back to people who suffer macular degeneration, retinal detachments and more. I also treat more common eye problems like cataract, myopia and glaucoma.”
Her app is where the public can access clinically proven eye exams to curtail vision problems that could get worse in the long run.
“Ophthalmology is one of the few fields in medicine where you can see dramatic improvements very quickly. Seeing my patients recover so rapidly is most rewarding and what motivates me daily,” explains the mum-of-two.
The innate need to help people has been present in the good doctor since she was a little girl.
“I’ve always wanted to make a tangible difference in other people’s lives,” says Dr Pang. “I’ve always been more of a ‘people person’; I love helping people solve their problems and lend a listening ear. It helped that I was rather academic and human science came naturally to me. What better way to help others than to be able to heal them both physically and emotionally? That was what being a doctor meant to me.
“Resilience and grit are the most important qualities to succeed. In chasing our dreams, there will undoubtedly be times of rejection or failure that we will need to overcome. It is with true resilience and grit that we will pick ourselves up each time and persist in achieving our goals. Positivity in life is the next most important quality. People who are able to see the positive side of any situation will go far in life.”
Besides her day job as an eye surgeon, the 38-year-old medical director also volunteers with children’s charities when she goes abroad. That’s not all – she encourages her children to participate in giving back to needy communities with her.
“In my pre-college years, I did a lot of volunteer work and I had the opportunity to help build a children’s school in an underdeveloped country. I realised then that I wanted to continue such humanitarian work in less fortunate countries,” she explains.
“Being a medical doctor would be the most useful skill to have to bring to such countries as the people who do not have access to good health care would always be in need of medical care. I hope to inculcate this habit of volunteering in my children from a young age so that they may appreciate the meaning behind it and grow up to do the same on their own accord.”
Photos: Vee Chin & Tan Wei Te
Fashion Direction: Aaron Kok
Styling Assistants: Juliet Suen & An Lyn Chee
Hair: Jason Wong/Salon Nu, Grego & Ash Loi/Sonder Salon
Makeup: Keith Bryant Lee, Hongling Lim, Rina Sim, Wee Ming & Jyue Huey (for Shann Sok)
Location: 89NR, The Working Capitol, Botanico at The Garage & The Summerhouse
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