Up close with Dr. Biljana Kostovska
“Trust creates positive energy”
- We often hear the term refractive surgery. What does that mean?
Refractive surgery is a relatively new term in modern ophthalmic surgery and refers to laser correction of all abnormalities that occur in the refractive part of the eye. At Sistina Ophthalmology, the department of refractive surgery has been operating since 2015 and we have already had a substantial number of satisfied patients and as many who are interested in this procedure. Refractive surgery allows one operation to correct all abnormalities of the eye – myopia, farsightedness and astigmatism. After an intervention that is quick, safe and permanent, the patient can see perfectly without glasses or contact lenses. In such interventions, it is very important to prepare the patient in advance and talk to them to see what exactly they need. It certainly depends on their needs and lifestyle, on their requirements and expectations. The modern patient values their time more and more and tries to find satisfaction in everything they do.
- You were the first to implant multifocal lenses on patients. What are the benefits of that?
The benefit is great, especially in terms of quality of life, because of the comfort that these lenses offer. The limitations that patients used to have with eye aids now no longer exist. It gives them tremendous freedom and confidence in carrying out their daily activities whether it be work or leisure. The latest generation of multifocal lenses are three-focal lenses, which, in addition to providing good near and far vision, also provide good vision at medium distances. This is especially important for patients who work several hours a day on a computer.
- Which famous people have been your patients?
In our clinic, all patients are treated as “celebrities”. The staff makes everyone feel cared for and safe. I have an interesting experience with Igor Dzambazov, Magdalena Rizova, Valentin Nikolovski, Tatjana Stojanovska.
Dr. Biljana Kostovska and Igor Dzambazov
I have had a different but beautiful communication with everyone. Our energies merged. Some had to undergo surgery. One patient was afraid of a doctor, of a “white coa” in the literal sense of the word. When they would see the coat their pressure went up. When I realized that, I entered the examination without the coat, normally dressed. So we managed to overcome the problem. Another had a picture of themselves, with glasses, and I had to convince them that the installation of lenses is a practical, safe and permanent solution. Through a friendly relationship, we all came to a common solution for perfect vision.
- Do you think that the relationship with the patient affects the final outcome of the treatment?
Definitely. Trust is the factor that creates positive energy and a pleasant atmosphere. When the patient is relaxed and confident, everything happens faster and easier.
- What is characteristic of your family?
In my family, three generations of women are doctors. My mother is a transfusion professor and my daughter specializes in ophthalmology. We are all committed to this humane profession. This is interesting because in the professional part we fully understand and share. In our communication there is great synergy between the professional and the private, in the communication between the three of us.
- In addition to your professional life, you also have a rich social life. How do you do that?
I am a person who believes that when you want, everything is possible. At the end of the day, all the success I have achieved in the professional field are not enough, if I have no one to share them with. My mother’s happy smile after lunch together, conversations with my daughter, coffee with my friends, are all things that make me happy and motivate me every day to be better than the previous one. I want to go out, to go to concerts, to the theater, to the cinema. A particularly important dimension of my life is humanitarian activities. I want to help children, marginalized groups, anyone who needs it. I have been a member of the Lions for years and I am very active in that field.
- What is a stylish woman according to you?
A woman’s character builds her style. For me, the style should be distinctive and unobtrusive, striking but unpretentious, sometimes casual and sometimes strict. It is one thing to dress for work, quite another to suit up for your leisure activities. My daywear is different from my evening wear. I like to wear sporty but also elegant clothes. I love T-shirts, jeans and sneakers, but at the same time I love dresses, nice suits and high heels. I dress depending on the occasion, but also on the mood.
- White sneakers are an integral part of your outfit. Why?
Black and white combinations are my favorite, for every occasion. And the sneakers make my daily functioning easier. They can be combined with both sporty and elegant clothes. I must admit that I am associated with tennis, which is my favorite and I follow it with great pleasure.
- You like to travel. Do you have any favorite destinations or places you want to visit?
Italy is my favorite destination. Spain and its coastline are also among the most beautiful places to relax. There you can find peace and tranquility, but also have fun. I like the combination of nature with white sandy beaches. In summer, I love coastal cities that have a special charm and beauty. The beautiful Mediterranean cities, where the fusion of centuries and culture is felt. Such a city is for example Dubrovnik. I also want to travel to European cities, Rome, London, Paris, Vienna, Prague, and Amsterdam.
- Your patients say that you are unique in communication and in the treatment process, that they receive more than they expect. How do you manage to build such a relationship and a great experience for them?
Every patient has a different lifestyle and different needs. It is like for example when someone wants the sea, someone wants the mountain, someone wants a hotel, someone wants to camp.
The patient’s detailed history, expectations and desires are crucial in choosing a lens or type of treatment. Of no less importance is the doctor’s advice and the way in which the disease, the intervention and the postoperative course will be explained to them. Commitment to the problem, the reality of the expectations it has and their understanding are the three basic elements on which communication and the healing process should be based.
The availability of a doctor during treatment is extremely important. Whether it is during off-hours or on weekends. For example, I cannot imagine a patient being operated on a Friday and not hearing from them several times during the weekend to see how they are feeling.
Simply put, in the process of gaining trust, the more you give, the more you get in return.