Mr. Arthur Cummings ranks high on this years theophthalmologist.com's top 100 List
Consultant Eye Surgeon and Medical Director, Wellington Eye Clinic; Consultant Ophthalmologist and Head of the Department of Ophthalmology at The Beacon Hospital, Dublin, Ireland
Arthur is behind some of the smartest and most advanced interventions and instruments in refractive surgery, and his opinion – borne of years of experience at the leading edge of the field – carries considerable weight. He currently sits on the medical Advisory Boards of more than 10 companies in the ophthalmic space, including lasers, IOLs, diagnostics and dry eye diagnosis and management. His research interests include refractive surgery, cataract surgery and corneal surgery for keratoconus. Arthur’s an entrepreneur too; he was part of the team behind Clearsight Innovations’ ocular biometer, which recently made its way to a successful exit. If you had any doubts about his influence, let this fact put them to rest: he’s currently the President of the European Division of AECOS.
What have been your career highlights?
“There have been many highlights along the way and this is what makes ophthalmology such an interesting and exciting career. The gratitude that patients show on a daily basis creates job-satisfaction for ophthalmologists. That’s our baseline. Over and above that we enjoy technological advances at a pace that no other medical specialty does. In fact, there is so much technology in our field that it can sometimes become overwhelming and you have to keep your wits about you when making purchasing decisions. We have amazing meetings where colleagues, industry and the funders participate in the same meeting e.g. AECOS and this is a platform that I have not seen in any other medical specialty. It generates excitement and it creates an innovative environment. Becoming European President of AECOS was certainly a highlight for me. My son Brendan deciding to specialize in ophthalmology was also a career highlight for me.”
*What are your goals for the future?
“I want to expand the Wellington Eye Clinic into a more comprehensive eye clinic with world-class services across the board. Today we specialize in cataract and refractive surgery and have recently introduced an excellent glaucoma service. We have a way to go yet to get all the sub-specialties covered so this will keep me busy enough for the next decade. I want to continue to work with scientists and physicists and people smarter than me to bring new innovations to ophthalmology that increase efficacy and safety of our procedures.”
What has been your most successful collaboration?
“ClearSight Innovations was the first major private and personal collaboration that went all the way to an exit, and for this reason has to be the most successful. It involved working with friends like Michael Mrochen (qv) and that made it even more rewarding.”
What are your plans for the next 10 years?
“I want to expand the Wellington Eye Clinic and I want to continue to be involved in the innovation space both in a personal capacity working on our own projects and as an adviser on various medical advisory boards for industry partners. Being a part of a bigger picture that goes on to enjoy success and improve patient outcomes and safety is immensely satisfying.”
What drives you day-to-day?
“Patient satisfaction. It’s the first line on the Wellington Eye Clinic’s Mission statement: Patient satisfaction is our first priority. This approach ensures not only that you pursue excellent outcomes for patients but also that you treat patients respectfully and kindly so that they are just as satisfied with the experience at the clinic as they are with the actual outcomes of the surgery. I am supported by an excellent team at the clinic and I like to see them excel and grow and make the most of their opportunities too.”
Who have been your mentors?
“There have been many that have played different roles throughout my career. My first experience in private practice was in Pretoria, South Africa, where I worked with two super-star ophthalmologists Eugene Meyer and Piet van Rensburg. They introduced me to the nuances of private practice. The head of the department in Pretoria where I specialized, Professor Hennie Meyer, was an inspiration – as was his successor, Professor Polla Roux, who showed his students respect for patients. Working alongside Michael Mrochen for the past 15 years or more and the prospect of continuing to collaborate with him excites me. Michael’s mantra of not making any assumptions is easier said than done but it continues to lead to innovation when you do practice it. Guy Kezirian has been a mentor since I first met him more than 15 years ago and he has taken that to a new level with his Physician CEO course presented at Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in Chicago that I recently had the pleasure of completing. There are numerous colleagues that have influenced me very positively and this list contains many of them.
Many great inspirations for me personally may never appear on a list like this just because they may not be well known, but they continue to play a very important role in my life. I am inspired by people that are fighters and who succeed against the odds. In private practice, we have many people just like this that mentor me on a continual basis without ever realizing it. Ophthalmology is deeply infiltrated by really good people that are generous, intelligent and kind and it’s a great pleasure to be part of this wider family. Finally, there are the engineers, scientists and industry experts that teach me every time we meet about the things that we doctors just don’t know enough about and they too continue to educate me.”