As an internationally recognised retinal eye surgeon who runs her own eye clinic and founded a non-profit organisation, Dr Claudine Pang is truly making it work. We find out how she gets it all done while being a mother of two young kids
We only have 24 hours in a day but with a little organisation and focus, we can achieve a lot within this time.
Dr Claudine Pang, an internationally recognised retinal eye surgeon who runs her own eye clinic, is a stellar example of someone who makes full use of her time. She has founded a non-profit organisation, Eye Care Without Borders, written a book and still manages to be around for her two young children every day.
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While many of us like to take our time to figure out what we are really passionate about and what will fuel us in terms of a career, Pang had it all figured out from a very young age and knew what she would have to do to get to her goal of helping the less fortunate.
“I was always interested in charity work from a young age. In my school days, I used to give weekly tuition at a children’s home and volunteer at the Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore (MINDS) and at an old folks home. In fact, one of the main reasons I wanted to do medicine was to provide medical care in underdeveloped countries where access to medical care is lacking,” she shared.
Pang got to work making that dream happen and in 2004, she graduated with a Double Bachelor in Medicine and Surgery (MBBS) from the National University of Singapore.
She started work in the ophthalmology department at the Singapore National Eye Centre where she worked for eight years while working towards her post-graduate degrees in Ophthalmology.
It was during this time that she also earned a membership to the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh (MRCSED), Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh (FRCSED) and Fellowship of the Academy of Medicine, Singapore (FAMS).
However, all that was not enough for the ambitious doctor.
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In fact, Pang even travelled to New York where she completed an 18-month fellowship at the renowned Vitreous-Retina-Macula Consultants of New York, Manhattan Eye Ear and Throat Hospital.
Shortly after, Pang became the first woman in the world to receive the highly coveted William H. Ross Surgical Vitreoretinal Fellowship at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.
With 13 years of ophthalmology experience behind her, Dr Pang decided it was time to venture out on her own and that’s when she established Asia Retina Eye Surgery Centre in 2018.
She wanted to be able to provide quality eye care to her patients in a way that was more attentive and personalised and figured that a private practice would give her just that along with the flexibility to care for her young children.
Of course, in all this, Pang never forgot why she went into medicine in the first place.
In fact, for years, she has been strongly advocating family mission trips where she brings her children to help underprivileged people in under-developed countries.
She also organises many medical mission trips with the entire Asia Retina Eye Surgery Centre team so they can perform cataract surgery and screen the eyes of villagers who might not have access to proper eye care.
In 2019, Pang decided to expand her efforts and founded Eye Care Without Borders, a non-profit organisation that aims to provide eye care and eyewear for people in underprivileged societies in Singapore as well as in other developing countries.
Together with Beyond Social Services, Pang and her team are able to look at the challenges that the underprivileged in Singapore face regarding their eye care and to help them out.
“It has always been a dream of mine to start an eyecare charity. My team and I had been doing regular trips to Cambodia and Nepal to give free eye care before this, so it was a natural and necessary progression to consolidate our charity efforts into a non-profit charity,” Pang said before adding that her team has been able to help about 3,000 people locally and in underdeveloped countries so far.