Dr. Arun C. Gulani, dubbed “the Da Vinci of Eye Surgery”, talks about how he threads ophthalmology and fashion together. . .
Dr. Gulani is an ophthalmologist specializing in advanced Kerato-Lenticulo-Refractive (i.e. the full spectrum cornea and lens-based surgeries), which includes all versions of LASIK, premium cataract surgeries and corneal surgeries, to provide patients with spectacle independence.
Originally from India, he completed his postgraduate in ophthalmology and earned the coveted gold medal. While still a junior resident ophthalmologist, he wrote the first textbook on Color Doppler for eye tumors, which attracted the attention of renowned eye surgeons and universities from all over the world. And at the young age of 25, he was invited to receive the Becton Dickinson Career achievement award in Philadelphia, where most of the competing candidates were in retirement age. “Having received numerous invitations from the U.S., I proceeded with refractive surgery while it was still in its infancy, and was even called ‘Buccaneer Surgery’,” he said.
According to Dr. Gulani, he was naturally attracted to ophthalmology when he was exposed to it during surgical rotations in medical school. “Not only was it a combination of surgical artistry at its highest form, it also provided for my desire for innovation, along with near-immediate gratification from patient’s visual outcomes,” he said.
In 2003, he founded the Gulani Vision Institute at the Southpoint area of Jacksonville, Florida, based on his philosophy of a “High-Tech” and
“High-Touch” approach to patient care. The institute soon grew into a globally acclaimed ophthalmology center, receiving patients and students from all over world.
An eye for fashion
Impeccably dressed, even in the slightest details, Dr. Gulani’s love for high fashion is evident in his practice. To him, it is important to be well-dressed as it reflects his pride in his work and his desire to impart elegance wherever he can.
“Fashion is my parallel passion, just like eyes are. In my practice, my penchant for colors, symmetry, beauty and elegance is always the driving factor to bring out the best in each and every person as I custom-treat each and every eye to fulfill my patients’ best vision potential,” he shared.
In 2017, Dr. Gulani launched his fashion line – Gulani Fashion. “My fashion line is as unique as my practice is. In fact, my tagline for Gulani Fashion is “For Those Who Have Arrived” – for people who aspire to look their very best. Once again, just like my eye surgeries, I don’t offer choices. I will decide what is best for my clients based on each person’s unique characteristics – their background, desires, body type and what I feel should be the colors and cuts that would suit them best, for both men and women. Then, I celebrate their looks just like how I celebrate their vision,” he said.
In fact, his artistic sense can be felt and seen in his everyday life. For instance, he uses colors in full range from suits to scrubs to the lighting in his surgery suite and colors of medical instruments. “One surreal observation is that somehow (without knowing it), I always seem to be wearing the color that coincides with the color of the theme of the conference at which I am speaking,” he noted.
A fulfilling life
Dr. Gulani believes that each one of us is born with our internal GPS, and it is this GPS which he has allowed to unfold throughout his life, creating beautiful, unique outcomes that the world is able to regale in today.
Even though he has received numerous national and international awards and recognition, to him, his best achievement is his family and the fact that he was able to help so many patients around the world.
“My proudest achievements are my family and the blessing that I have gathered from so many patients from all over the world for nearly three decades, and from having mentored so many to achieve the best of their potential. My passion for eyes and fashion has never allowed me to feel that I am working at all, and when my patients celebrate their outcomes with me there is nothing higher or greater that I can look forward to,” he said.
When he is not busy with fixing eyes or designing clothes, Dr. Gulani loves to spend time with his family, and indulge in his other passions, namely modeling, sports, travel, Porsche-racing, as well as eating ice-cream and candies.
As a sought-after mentor and speaker, he constantly encourages eye surgeons to stop talking about technology and in-the-box thinking, but to rise beyond and accept the artistry of eye surgery in delivering vision beyond 20/20 in every patient.
“It is a constant pleasure to share my work with colleagues worldwide, and despite how exciting our progress in the eye care industry may be, I am dedicated to change the mindset of eye care providers to believe that no patient should be wearing glasses or contact lenses, as they are a mark of disability whose time of extinction has already passed,” he said.
“They say imitation is the best form of flattery and I must say I am gratified to see lately, doctors dressing up, allowing pictures with patients and even using my ‘thumbs up’ sign tradition, which I introduced nearly three decades ago,” he quipped.
Editor’s Note: This story was first published in PIE Magazine Issue 11 (EURETINA 2019 Paris issue), Media MICE’s magazine on the posterior segment of the eye.