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The ophthalmic community lost a dear friend and colleague earlier this year. Anupam Chatterjee passed away in February 2022. His name has Sanskrit origin and means ‘Excellence’ and ‘Incomparable’, two words that described him aptly. Any of his friends who knew him at any stage of his life will tell you about how he always enjoyed life to the utmost.
Anupam graduated Medical School from the University of Bristol and did his ophthalmology training at Leicester Royal Infirmary and Manchester Royal Eye Hospital. Whilst working at the latter he became friends with fellow ophthalmologist Sunil Shah. In 1994 they both started working for a new laser refractive surgery clinic in Manchester, Optimax. Here he met Shehzad Naroo, an optometrist who was undertaking an MSc in Manchester at that time. Around this time Anupam was one of the highest volume laser surgeons in the world and became popular on the international speaker circuit at refractive surgery conferences. Whilst working at Optimax, Shehzad noted that post-PRK patients showed a lowering of their intraocular pressure. Sunil, Anupam and Shehzad explored this idea with other colleagues and analysed data from over 1000 patients and wrote a landmark paper (Chatterjee et al. 1997). Sunil and Shehzad remember fondly how they would meet in Anupam’s house in Didsbury and sit around his new Gateway 2000 computer to write this paper. Anupam had a very handy knack of a power nap – he would be sitting on a settee whilst the others typed at the desk and mid-sentence he would stop talking because he had fallen asleep, then 20 minutes later, he would be awake as if nothing had happened. The original 1997 paper led to new research investigating how corneal properties affect intraocular pressure measurements and the development of instrumentation that specifically look at corneal biomechanics. Anupam was then heavily involved in a further paper translating these findings into a more clinical scenario with glaucoma and ocular hypertension patients. Today, diagnosis of glaucoma includes a measurement of corneal thickness. Anupam later worked with other private ophthalmology clinics and held posts in the NHS too. In his later life, due to ill health, he stopped performing surgery and worked mainly in the primary eye care sector.
Anupam on the left of the picture, Shehzad in the centre and Sunil (white jacket) on the right of the picture. Picture was taken at the British Society for Refractive Surgery Conference in 2001.