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Aug 2013

Eye Care Centre Marks 20th Birthday by Performing 20,000th Cataract Surgery

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Auckland Eye performs its 20,000th cataract procedure to mark its 20 year milestone. Founding specialist, Dr David Pendergrast, says the landmark surgery is a nod to how the practice has evolved.

Philip PolkinghorneA leading Auckland eye care centre has marked 20 years in business by performing its 20,000th milestone cataract procedure.

Auckland Eye founding specialist, Dr David Pendergrast, says the landmark surgery is a nod to how the practice and the ophthalmology industry have evolved over the past two decades.

The rise of technology has given Kiwis with eye conditions a more optimistic future than ever before, he says.

“Twenty years ago, cataracts were still usually being removed through quite a large wound. Then the phacoemulsification technique was introduced, which allowed a much smaller wound. It is gentler and more precise and results in more rapid recovery of vision and less chance of infection,” he says. “Now, we have the advent of cataract surgery using a femtosecond laser (laser cataract surgery) which, we believe, provides a further increase in safety for the eye and predictability of visual results, hence better outcomes for the patient”.

“More sophisticated intraocular lens materials now mean we have the ability to put lenses into babies’ eyes when they have a cataract removed, whereas they had to wear thick bottle like glasses before. This has meant a huge leap for how we can service little ones, providing them with a much better outcome,” says Dr Pendergrast.

While cataract surgeries make up the majority of the procedures Auckland Eye performs, it also conducts various others; including lasik eye surgery, which it was the first to perform in Auckland.

Another of Auckland Eye’s founding directors, Associate Professor Philip Polkinghorne, says a range of other surgeries have been “impacted massively” by technological advancements, such as those which affect the elderly.

“In the past five years, superior technology and new medications have enabled us to treat wet macular degeneration, which is basically the beginning of a medical condition that usually affects older adults and results in loss of vision. If we catch it in its tracks at this early stage, we can stop further vision impairment, whereas nothing could be done before – there was no hope,” he says.

Dr Rosser says that developments in the wider eye care industry have helped to promote the evolution of Auckland Eye.

“We started out as a bungalow and now we’re a booming practice, which has grown from 4 to 14 surgeons, with more than twice the consulting rooms and operating theatres. We’re still too big for our clinic facility, so we’ll continue expanding our premises this year,” he says.

“For every year we’ve been here we’ve helped an average of 1500 Kiwis improve or restore their eye sight through cataract procedures, and in the past six years our cataract surgeries have grown by 30%.”

Auckland Eye has catered to steadily growing patient numbers by opening Oasis Surgical, a private theatre complex, in late 2011.

It is the only combined ophthalmic practice and surgical centre in Auckland to hold accreditation with Equip, recognising its quality of patient care.

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Mark Devlin
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