Up close with Dr. Mirjana Sazdovska
“With the patients we are a team that always wins”
- You work in the same industry with your husband, i.e. you are both doctors. Even your son is a doctor. Is that an advantage?
Basically, yes. We both understand when we are often away from home due to work responsibilities. Although we are not in the same specialty, we often exchange opinions about a particular disease.
- You deal with diagnostic and treatment of retinal diseases. Apart from surgery, how can these diseases be treated?
In addition to the operative method, medical treatment of retinal diseases is performed, primarily with the application of anti-WEGF treatment. It involves injecting certain drugs into the inside of the eye. The drugs Eylea and Avastin are most often applied in our hospital. The application of these injections is performed in sterile conditions and is a one-day procedure. It is performed under local, drip anesthesia and is a completely painless intervention. Injections are given once a month, usually for three consecutive months. Then there is a pause. The assessment of whether to continue anti-WEGF therapy depends on the findings of optical coherence tomography (CT). It is a procedure that monitors, among other things, the condition of the central parts of the retina – the macula, more precisely it monitors the presence of swelling in that part of the eye. Often the application of these injections can take several years. With the help of this therapy, the condition of the retina is stabilized, sometimes even regression of the changes, withdrawal of the swelling and reduction of the pathological blood vessels. This results in improved visual function.
- You work with patients whose treatment lasts longer and the results are not always what you and the patients mostly want. Do you have a special approach towards the patients because of that?
I always try to communicate positively with patients through which they will understand the treatment process. Whatever the vision problem, it is large enough for the patient and worthy of full attention. Very often I have patients who have other systemic diseases that make it very difficult to treat vision problems, and because of that, they are more sensitive and vulnerable. Then I pay close attention to the way I tell them about the treatment options and the maximum expectations regarding the improvement of the vision. I pay a lot of attention to accepting the condition as it is, and with continuous care and treatment, over time, we will overcome it together.
- What is your lifestyle?
I think that the lifestyle is dictated by the profession. As a teenager, I used every free moment to play sports. In recent years I try to use the weekends and whenever I can to travel outside of Skopje. Now, I spend time in nature, mostly with family and friends. It gives me extra energy to work, it makes me feel better.
- What do you like to do most in your free time?
Unlike before, I have more free time in recent years. That’s because my sons are grown up, so I don’t have that much work around the house. I am still not engaged in caring for grandchildren, although I would like to. For now I have a granddaughter, who lives in Germany with her parents, who work there as specialist doctors. We see and hear each other every day, we visit them twice a year with my husband, but this year the pandemic disrupted our plans. I miss my granddaughter very much. Let’s hope that this difficult period for everyone will pass and life will return to normal.
- Do you like to read? What kind of literature do you like the most?
Of course. I have to admit that although I occasionally read contemporary literature, I prefer classical.
- Does the doctor’s approach to the patient affect the final outcome of the treatment?
Yes, it has a huge effect. When they understand you and feel confident in what you are telling them, patients are ready to follow you, to be disciplined with the therapy you prescribe, to come for regular check-ups, and to be encouraged about the decision to have surgery if it proves necessary. Then the patient and I become a team.