Vincent Lee Wing-hong is one of a handful of doctors in Hong Kong who specialise in glaucoma, and is a leading researcher in combating the disease. But when Dr Lee left Hong Kong more than 28 years ago to attend university in the United States, examining eyes was the farthest thing from his mind. He studied chemical engineering at the California Institute of Technology and had been working in the industry for three years when he was stuck by what became a life-changing illness. 'It was Christmas and I had a high fever,' he said. 'I was very worried and ended up going to the emergency room at a Los Angeles hospital. A young doctor - an intern, I suppose - examined me, then patted me on the back saying, 'No problem - it's just a little flu. Go home'. I felt completely relieved. His style inspired me and I figured that's what I should do.' At the time, he was disenchanted with his career and he spent the next 18 months using that inspiration to move in another direction. He took the medical entrance examination, passed, and - he says - the rest is history. After working in California, Dr Lee, 46, returned to Hong Kong as head of Queen Mary Hospital's opthalmology unit. He now heads the eye centre at the Hong Kong Adventist Hospital and has a private practice in Central. He was recently appointed an honorary associate professor at the University of Hong Kong, where he and colleagues are carrying out research.