Cataract centre sees little miracles every day

Imagine having only one “good” eye because you've lost most of your sight in the other. You're “good” eye – which you rely on to get dressed in the morning, drive and work – is starting to deteriorate. A haze surrounds everything you see, as if you're looking through a dusty car window. This is how David Halsall described his vision before surgery.

“The anxiety of losing your eyesight is overwhelming,” says Cecilia Gouveia, Registered Nurse with North York General Hospital's (NYGH) Cataract High Volume Centre. “With loss of sight, comes loss of independence. What we try to do is give our patients back the life they had. Every cataract surgery is a little miracle.”

The Cataract Centre High Volume Centre's innovative model meets the highest standard, and high demand, for cataract surgery and other eye-saving and sight-restoring procedures.

The centre's innovative model meets the highest standard, and high demand, for cataract surgery and other eye-saving and sight-restoring procedures like cornea transplants and surgery to treat glaucoma. Nurses, specially trained in sedation, monitor patients during surgery with oversight from an anaesthetist. Every operating room nurse is specially trained to handle ocular microsurgical instruments and assist ophthalmologists during delicate procedures on the eye.

“Hours after surgery I could notice the difference and within two weeks I was reading the small print on everything,” says David. “The surgery and recovery went so well that a month later I went back to do my other eye.”

“It's very rewarding to see how surgery, especially a procedure where your patient can go home right after, improves someone's quality of life forever,” says Deputy Chief of Ophthalmology Dr. Raj Rathee. “Once you have cataract surgery, you never need to do it again. Cataract surgery is a cure.”
Quick Facts
  • One of Ontario's busiest cataract centres
  • High patient satisfaction: Patients rate their care 90% or higher (2012­–13, 2013–14, 2014–15)
  • 15 ophthalmologists
  • 25 specialized ophthalmology nurses
  • Over 6,900 cataract surgeries performed in 2014–2015
  • Designated a regional cataract centre in 2010
  • Exceeds provincial and Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) wait time targets (from diagnosis to surgery):
       • NYGH Cataract High Volume Centre: 89 days 
       • Central LHIN: 92 days 
       • Province: 182 days
October 2015

This article appeared in a special print edition of The Pulse North York General Hospital's community newsletter. Subscribe now to receive the e-newsletter 10 times per year — it takes only 10 seconds.

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