Meet the visionaries. -Dr Nick Mantell

This month we are introducing an exciting new content series called “Meet the Visionaries” so you can get to know our amazing professional team at Eye Institute a whole lot better.
This week we interview one of Eye Institutes well loved, long-standing Ophthalmologists Dr Nick Mantell.

What is your favourite weekend activity?

Wind foiling – it’s like windsurfing but with a ‘hydrofoil’ which is essentially a large fin that holds the board above the water, – like the yachts in the Americas Cup.

It’s quite difficult when you first get started, but when you start to get better at it, it’s really fun. That and stand up paddleboarding. I love being out in the water, it’s a great way to unwind and it’s really good fitness as well.”

We hear you perform your surgeries in bare feet?

When I’m operating, I like to do it in bare feet, a little bit like I like driving a car in bare feet as well. I can get a better feel for the foot pedals, the pedals we use are so precise and can actually be quite complicated as there are 3 or 4 settings. So when I’m in bare feet I feel a better sense of connection and precision operating the sensitive pedals.

Do you have a pre-surgery ritual?

I do, before surgery I never have coffee, I feel it tends to slow you down a little bit when you have coffee as you can get a fine tremor from caffeine intake. I also like to get to surgery reasonably early, relax and take time out so that there are no distractions and I can focus on the surgery ahead.

One of the things we are most proud of at Eye Institute is our charity and community project involvement. How you are involved in giving back?

I’m honoured to be the longest-serving board of trustees member at the Fred Hollows Foundation, New Zealand.
It’s an organisation committed to providing eye care to people in need in the Pacific and Papa New Guinea regions. The focus of the Fred Hollows Foundation NZ is to teach people how to look after themselves and create sustainable solutions. For the time that I’ve been there, we’ve established a training facility in Fiji, the Solomon Islands and smaller training facilities in Papa New Guinea, we train local doctors to provide services to local people.

As part of that, we have seen an amazing transition where the governance of these facilities and training have been passed onto local Pacific Island doctors who trained in the Pacific.

As an organisation, we have performed 1000’s of cataract surgeries throughout the Pacific each year, as well as managing the eye care needs of the Pacific people.

Dr Mantell concluded our interview with; “… I love working at Eye Institute, it’s fantastic, a great job, I’m really lucky to do what I do, I love having such a positive impact on people’s lives every day.”
Keep a lookout on our Facebook and Instagram channels next week to meet another member of our professional team at Eye Institute.