Motto of Dr. Tatiana Shilova “Through the Thorns to the Stars”
For 20 years, Dr. Tatiana Shilova has combined clinical work with teaching activities. She works as a clinical professor and training surgeon in cataract, vitreoretinal and refractive surgery.
Tatiana Shilova is the head of the “Dr. Shilova Clinics” and the founder of the Russian branch of the international chain “SMILE EYES.” Surgical Professor Shilova performs on average up to 200 cataract surgeries, up to 30 vitreoretinal operations and about 100 laser operations per month, including all complex cases, cases of combined pathology and severe eye injuries. For 20 years, Dr. Tatiana Shilova has combined clinical work with teaching activities. She works as a clinical professor and training surgeon in cataract, vitreoretinal and refractive surgery.
She is a member of the European Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons (ESCRS) and the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO).
She was born in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Her father was a Soviet military doctor, a surgeon who served there. “I was a favorite late baby. Despite the fact that my father was constantly transferred from one area to another, in different countries, my parents tried to give me the best they could. I was always an excellent student at school and at the Institute. I was fond of ballet, and I graduated from music school,” she said.
Why did you choose to be a medical doctor? Where did you study?
Medicine is our family profession. My grandfather, father and aunt were doctors. Our family is a medical dynasty.
What drew you to ophthalmology?
Ophthalmology attracted me because it concerns the eye – a highly complex organ, and ophthalmosurgery is like a jeweler’s work. Excellent manual skills are needed here. Additionally, I was highly impressed by meeting the academician Fedorov. At that time, ophthalmology was a rapidly developing field of medicine, which was very interesting to me.
I have three daughters and a granddaughter. Each of them has gone her own way: the oldest became an engineer; the middle child is an architect; the younger one is an ophthalmologist, but she is making her own way in the field without my support.
What are you working on? What made you choose to specialize in refractive and cataract surgery?
I don’t have a narrow specialization in ophthalmic surgery. I like everything, and refractive and cataract surgery is only part of my palette. I enjoy performing surgery on the retina, vitreous and glaucoma. This not only allows me to operate on a large number of patients but also to see the eye as a whole and choose the optimal approach to solving the problem for the patient.
How has your career progressed? Can you tell us about your background?
I opened my first clinic in 2007 in a small town near Moscow. We gradually introduced technologies and developed a range of services. A few years later, a clinic was opened in Moscow, where more modern methods of treatment were offered. To this date, we continue to modern techniques, as well as conducting research.
Can you talk about your research, papers you have presented and awards you have won?
My recent research work has been devoted to micro-invasive cataract surgery, implantation of phakic lenses and multifocal IOL. I am actively developing SMILE-technology, which has become a favorite treatment in our clinic.
Which meetings do you attend and how do you prioritize?
I always like to learn about new technologies and the interesting experience of people who operate frequently. I do not like theoretical reports. Friendly meetings with colleagues, which are no less valuable than scientific conferences, are also interesting. I try to combine the two. For the sake of direct contact with outstanding and fascinating surgeons, I will cross many thousands of kilometers. Many specialists come to our clinic, and we also have something to show them.
What are you most proud of in your career?
I am a multidisciplinary surgeon, and I am able to perform at the highest level by performing diverse operations. I am also proud to actively promote the technology of ReLEx SMILE: I popularize it not only in the professional community but also for the public. I appear on television and publish articles and blog posts. I am also proud of the close-knit team that
I oversee. Together we realize the most daring ideas.
What do you enjoy most about your job? What is your niche?
I do not think that I have any particular niche, but many people call me “Dr. SMILE” — this is the operation that I like most and do better and more often than anyone in Russia.
What would you like to do that you haven’t yet accomplished?
I would like to create my own ophthalmological school and pass on my knowledge to the younger generation of ophthalmologists.
What can industry do to help support clinicians?
Modern doctors are extremely busy professionals who work in different countries and cities. I would like to see convenient distance education services for them.
Can you tell us your ideas about the future of ophthalmology? Where do you see the focus of innovation heading in the next five years?
I think the future lies in genetic engineering and cellular technology, which will be at the intersection of biology and IT.
What is on your daily to-do list?
I operate six days a week. My personal tasks are a daily call to my mother, walking my beloved dogs and using the treadmill in the morning.
What is the best lesson you have learned in life?
Negative emotions such as hatred or envy cannot be creative forces. Only love, which is the driving force of all actions, can be creative.
If you could go back 10 years, what advice would you give your younger self?
Believe in yourself and do not doubt yourself — you are doing everything right!
What do you like and not like about yourself?
I like my hard work and optimism, resourcefulness and dedication. However, my virtue is not punctuality — I often allow myself to be late.
What is the best/most memorable moment of your life?
The best moment is my birth — I wish I could remember it! What I remember is the birth of my children.
What do you do in your free time and holidays?
I love playing the piano, drawing and cooking delicious dishes. I also enjoy active sports and keep in touch with loved ones.
How many hours do you work in a day? How do you motivate yourself and relax?
I’m a military daughter; I don’t need to be motivated. If there is a problem, it must be solved. The problem sets itself. I work 12 to 14 hours a day because, in addition to surgical activity, there are administrative cases. We must also devote time to television projects. I relax with the help of sports and music.
What inspires you?
I am inspired by very beautiful things — classical music and painting.
Do you have a motto?
Through the Thorns to the Stars
Have you got a role model? If yes, who is he/she?
Yes, the academician Svyatoslav Fedorov-a man with tremendous energy, which instilled confidence in even the most insecure. His love of life, optimism and ability captivate me very much.
Anything you want to add?
I have changed a lot in my life, moving between countries and parting with people with whom I was not comfortable. Don’t be afraid of change — change is always for the better!