As we get older, the clear lens in our eyes can become cloudy. Our vision might grow blurry and faded. This is called a cataract. When symptoms first appear, you can use stronger lighting and glasses to cope with weaker vision. Eventually you may need more. Cataracts are treated by removing the cloudy lens with surgery.
Glaucoma is a group of diseases that damage the optic nerve, the essential link between the eye and the brain. They are one of the world’s leading causes of visual disability, which should be preventable with early diagnosis and effective treatment.
Colour blindness (which experts call more accurately “Colour Vision Deficiency”) is the inability to see some colours or to tell some apart from others. The condition affects more than one in 20 males and a smaller but significant number of females.
What causes colour blindness?
We can see because of receptor cells at the back of the eye called rods and cones. Colour is seen via the cones, which distinguish red, green and blue. In some people, one kind of cone is not working, like a colour TV set on the blink.
The main cause is genetic – you get it from your parents or grandparents. But colour blindness can also result from disease and accidents. Some causes we know about include: an acquired brain injury; eye diseases such as macular degeneration, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy; some drugs; and vitamin A deficiency.
Primary descemetorhexis for Fuchs’ dystrophy
Gregory Moloney, MBBS (Hons), MMed, FRANZCO, FRCSC – Ophthalmologist at Sydney Eye Hospital, Australia, describes results of his study of primary descemetorhexis for Fuchs’ dystrophy.
Recorded at the 2018 American Academy of Ophthalmology, Chicago.
You can read more in our October 2018 inFocus Newsletter.
Every year the Sydney Eye Hospital Foundation funds a number of Fellowships.
Experienced and talented eye doctors from Australia and overseas can apply for these 12-month positions, each in a different specialisation. Fellowships are keenly sought after and are a key Foundation funding goal: the worldwide exchange of knowledge and skills is vital.
Foundation Fellows work with patients, help train students in their specialisation and participate in research. The Sydney Eye Hospital benefits in numerous ways from these programs, including clinical research and national and international publication. Some of our Fellows are from developing nations and return to their country with enhanced skills from their year on the floor of this fully operational Eye Hospital.
Our current Foundation Fellows are:
Dr Zoya Rabkin-Mainer
Zoya trained in Israel. She has taught medical students, engaged in clinical research, and developed a special interest in glaucoma. She will take the knowledge & skills she gets here back to Israel and work as a glaucoma consultant. She’s thrilled by this once in a lifetime opportunity to work and study here.
Dr Lai Yong Tai
Oculoplastic surgeon Dr Lai Yong Tai trained in Malaysia and has held fellowships in London and Melbourne. She participates in public screening events and clinical teaching for medical students, junior residents and paramedics. Lai is keen to learn new surgical techniques from our renowned oculoplastic surgeons over the next 12 months in Sydney, here with her family.
Dr Neil Avery
Graham Lovett Vitreoretinal Fellow
Since 2009 Neil has travelled annually to St Ann’s Bay in Jamaica to help provide ophthalmic care to those who do not have access to specialised care. There, he has developed a special interest in small incision cataract surgery. He is looking forward to the opportunity to work at Sydney Eye Hospital and to learn from world class vitreoretinal surgeons. Away from work Neil and family are enjoying exploring Sydney and all it has to offer.
Dr Daniel Garcerant Congote
Mabs Melville Corneal Fellow
Daniel studied medicine in Colombia and ophthalmology in Madrid, where he is working on a PhD thesis on corneal topography. His goal is to improve his clinical and surgical skills in cornea pathology at our world renowned facility, and participate in the leading research the cornea team is performing. He hopes to pass on this knowledge when he returns to Colombia. Meantime he and his family are excited by the chance to visit Australia’s cities and beautiful landscapes.
Dr Elisa Cornish
Medical Retinal Fellow
Elisa completed her ophthalmology training at Sydney Eye Hospital. This is her second fellowship: last year she held the Professorial Uveitis Fellowship. Elisa is thrilled to join our renowned Medical Retina Unit to refine her skills. She will also continue her involvement with the macular research team, working to develop new treatments for the disease.
Dr Nino Hirnschall
Nino started his ophthalmic research at medical school in Vienna, before becoming a research fellow in London and completing a PhD in medical physics in Vienna. He is keen to learn from the cornea team at Sydney Eye Hospital, to improve his clinical and surgical skills and spend a year in this beautiful city together with his wife Karin. After the fellowship he will return to Austria to use the knowledge he has gained as a corneal surgeon and researcher.
Dr Zaid Mammo
Dr Eddie Donaldson Vitreoretinal Fellow
Trained in Vancouver, Dr Zaid Mammo has completed a one-year vitreoretinal fellowship at Columbia University in New York. He is thrilled to have the opportunity to learn from and work alongside some of the world leaders in the field of vitreoretinal surgery. On completing his fellowship, he plans to return to Canada to work as a consultant in a tertiary care centre. Outside work, Zaid is enjoying life in Sydney and exploring Australia.
Dr Shaan Wiryasaputra
Professorial Uveitis & Medical Retinal Fellow
Shaan trained in Singapore. Drawn to ophthalmology for its marriage of clinical medicine and surgery, she has chosen to pursue subspecialty interests in medical retina and uveitis. She is grateful for the opportunity to train at Sydney Eye and is looking forward to honing her clinical and surgical skills under the tutelage of our fine team.
You can read more about our fellowships and the application process on our Fellowships page.
Sydney Eye Hospital is on the verge of a breakthrough with the Corneal iFixPen and iFixInk. We need your support to help it happen.
The iFixPen holds the promise of instant corneal repair, out in the field, anywhere, anytime. When an eye suffers a surface injury, the corneal iFixPen will not only seal the wound but promote active healing of the wound site by reducing scarring and creating a biological barrier to ongoing damage. That barrier is iFixInk, which covers and protects the surface of the eye.
The Sydney Eye Hospital Foundation has adopted iFixPen as our next significant project.
The funds will go to the next phase of testing iFixPen and improving the technology in the lab and out and about. There are so many potential uses, for injuries in industry, the military, after surgery, and in remote areas where follow-up can be difficult.
If somebody sustains an eye injury iFixPen
is used to drop iFixInk into the eye to protect
and promote wound healing in the cornea.
We are on the verge of a BREAKTHROUGH!
With this discovery, we can bring quick, simple treatment to thousands of Australians.
Eye injuries can happen in the home, in traffic accidents, anywhere. In Australia alone, some 50,000 cases are reported annually of corneal injuries ranging from abrasions and ulcers to corneal melting and laser surgery complications. Corneal surgery is the world’s most performed operation. We already know that iFixInk works wonders on some human cells. If this oversized “pen” filled with iFixInk can be perfected, it could be a real game changer.
The iFixPen and iFixInk are joint projects of the Sydney Eye Hospital, the Lions Eye Bank, Save Sight Institute, the University of Sydney and the University of Wollongong. Medical breakthroughs are built out of collaborations and those collaborators include people like you and your generosity.
Please join us in this exciting venture. Donate today to make the technology a reality
- click open your Bic (that’s a famous brand of pen for you kids out there) and print out and fill in our donation form
- call our Donor Hotline: (02) 9382 7408
- donate online (Click here).
We’re launching our appeal now, near the End Of Financial Year, full of hope and dreaming of future eyesight saved. With your help, we can achieve this extraordinary dream.
Viewers across the nation held their breath on Sunday, 16 April as current affairs program 60 Minutes aired the moment that oculoplastic surgeon Dr Gregory Moloney, Staff Specialist, Sydney Eye Hospital, carefully placed a tooth into the eye of patient John Ings to restore the 72-year-old’s sight after years of blindness.
Orthoptists play a key role in assessing children and adults that approach the Sydney Eye Hospital with eye turns and disorders affecting the eye movements.)
We are university trained allied health professionals that specialise in providing thorough assessments of alignment of the eyes, movement of the eyes, and the ability of the eyes to work together. Orthoptists conservatively manage symptoms of double vision or eye strain that patients may experience from disorders affecting the function of their eye muscles or ability of their eyes to work together. By working with patients and understanding their needs, Orthoptists are able to help patients manage their symptoms and minimise the impact symptoms have on their daily activities and general wellbeing.
Orthoptists are also highly skilled in the area of treating amblyopia (or lazy eye) in children. Up until the age of 8 years, the visual system of a child is still developing. It is crucial that any reduction in vision is detected and treated as soon as possible to help the child’s vision and visual system to develop normally. If a vision defect is not found until later in childhood, it reduces the potential for normal vision following treatment. When a vision defect is found, the orthoptist and ophthalmologist work together with the child and their parents to treat and improve the child’s vision.
The Sydney Eye Orthoptists have a clinic dedicated to screening children to promote early detection of vision defects, eye turns, and eye muscle disorders that may impact a child’s vision and visual development. We also take part in the NSW Health State-wide preschool vision screening program that aims to provide all 4 year olds with a free vision screening and access to care when vision defects are found.
Orthoptists also have expertise in using specialty diagnostic equipment for assessment of chronic and age related eye conditions including cataracts, glaucoma, retinal conditions, macular degeneration, and diabetic eye disease.
The Sydney Eye Hospital Orthoptic department accepts referrals from optometrists, family doctors, and private ophthalmology clinics.
Sarah is a 13 year old girl from Coffs Harbour who first came to the Sydney Eye Hospital when she was 12 years old.
She was born with a large eye turn which worsened as she grew older and had seen an eye specialist close to home. Surgery was recommended to correct her eye turn, however, due to financial pressures this was not a possibility.
When Sarah started high school, she was bullied because of her eye turn. She was later diagnosed with depression as a result of the bullying she was subjected to.
Sarah’s mother was desperate to be able to do something to help her daughter. A friend of hers recommended that she contact the Sydney Eye Hospital to see if they could help.
After receiving the referral from Sarah’s family doctor, Sarah was given an appointment at our paediatric and strabismus ophthalmology clinic. Sarah’s mother was thrilled to hear that not only would she have the opportunity to have Sarah seen at the Sydney Eye Hospital, but also if surgery was recommended, it would be at no cost to her.
In January 2016, Sarah and her mother came for their first visit to the Sydney Eye Hospital. At the appointment, Orthoptists assessed Sarah’s eyes to help determine the type of eye turn Sarah had, the range of movement of her eye muscles, and whether her eyes were able to work together.
“Sarah’s eye condition was having a significant impact on her wellbeing and recommended that surgery was an ideal option.”
Following her assessment with the Orthoptist, Sarah was then seen by Dr Michael Jones. He recognised that Sarah’s eye condition was having a significant impact on her wellbeing and recommended that surgery was an ideal option for her at this point in time.
Within 6 months of her first appointment at the Sydney Eye Hospital, Sarah had eye surgery to straighten her eyes.
Ten days following her operation, Sarah and her mother returned for review so the Orthoptists could assess the positioning of her eyes post-surgery.
“Sarah’s mother shed tears of joy when she saw the smile on her daughter’s face with her eyes now straightened.”
Sarah and her mother were extremely happy with the outcome, with Sarah’s eye turn almost completely straightened. Following her surgery, it was clear to see the impact this had on Sarah’s general wellbeing. She was visibly happier, constantly chatting and smiling, and engaging with others.
Sarah’s mother shed tears of joy when she saw the smile on her daughter’s face with her eyes now straightened. When Sarah attends the Sydney Eye Hospital for eye reviews, she now enjoys sharing stories with the Orthoptists explaining how she now feels confident to stand up to the people that used to bully her.
Sarah will be returning to the Sydney Eye Hospital for her next review in a two months’ time and we are looking forward to hearing of her progress. (Name has been changed to maintain patient privacy and confidentiality)
NEW RETINA CAMERA SAVES SIGHT
A new ultra-widefield retinal camera can save sight by improving early detection of common causes of vision loss.
This latest advance in technology takes photographs of a large span of the retina’s outer edges, leading to a better understanding of how different conditions affect all parts of the retina. Some of the first signs of eye disease and systemic disease can be seen in the retina before they cause other symptoms, including vision loss.
The Sydney Eye Hospital Foundation (SEHF) is raising funds to purchase an Optos California ultra-widefield retinal camera for the hospital, to help ophthalmologists to see and diagnose these early, subtle changes – which previously went undetected – so they can be treated before sight loss occurs.
Demand for excellent eye care, including for conditions that affect the retina, is growing, says Kevin Gardner, the SEHF Chief Executive Officer.
“One of the main drivers of this growth in demand is Australia’s ageing population,” he explains. More than 85% of vision loss occurs in people aged over fifty. Diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration are two of the most common causes of vision loss worldwide and the risk for both conditions rises with age. Early stages of both of these conditions can be detected in the periphery of the retina.
“Early detection can have a significant impact on reducing sight loss. Research tells us that up to 90% of vision loss can be prevented with regular, accurate eye tests.”
The Optos camera system has an important role to play in early detection. Existing imaging cameras capture only 15% of the retina in each photo. Scattered light and obstructions such as cataracts, corneal pathology and astigmatism can reduce the quality of the photo. Patient’s pupils are dilated with eye drops in an attempt to improve the images, causing the discomfort of blurred vision and light sensitivity for some time after the examination.
“ EXISTING IMAGING CAMERAS CAPTURE ONLY 15% OF THE RETINA IN EACH PHOTO. IN CONTRAST, THE OPTOS CAMERA CAN CAPTURE UP TO 80% OF THE RETINA IN ONE PHOTO, WITHOUT DILATING THE PUPIL.”
In contrast, the Optos camera can capture up to 80% of the retina in one photo, without dilating the pupil. Photos are quick, painless and do not cause any discomfort to the patient. A bonus for patients is that we dramatically cut the time they have to spend in the clinic as they don’t have to wait for the pupil-dilating eye drops to work.
Photos are immediately available so patients can see exactly what the doctor sees when examining the eye through a high-powered lens and provide objective documentation of clinical findings. The photos can be saved for future comparisons to help monitor the eye disease and effectiveness of treatment.
With this, patients are better able to learn about their eye condition and treatment options and to make informed decisions about their eye care.
“At $155,000 for the Optos camera system, we think it’s a great investment that will benefit the 10,000 people with retinal conditions that the hospital sees each year,” Mr Gardner said.