Eleta Eye Institute Performs 5000 Cataract Surgeries Yearly

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 The Eleta Eye Institute says that it performs not fewer than 5000 cataract surgeries every year.

The institute’s Group Managing Director, Dr Benedictus Ajayi, disclosed this on the sidelines of the formal opening of the SKT-ALCON PHACO Training Institute and Ultramodern Cataract Surgery Suit and Lasers on Tuesday in Ibadan.

Ajayi, a consultant opthalmologist, said that cataract  remains a leading cause of preventable blindness and visual impairment  in people of all ages in the country.

He said that the newly equipped training institute would help address the problem of medical tourism and contribute toward the goal of tackling and preventing cataract blindness in the country.

According to him, the ultramodern cataract surgery suite and lasers will provide the phacoemulsification “phaco” and laser-assisted cataract surgery  which is currently the most common type of cataract procedure performed in developed countries.

The opthalmologist said that the laser-assisted catract surgery would offer a higher level of precision for certain steps in a cataract procedure.

“I get emotional every time I see a blind or visually impaired person.

“However, with cutting edge technological innovation, the reversal of cataract blindness is getting easier and easier.

“Today, we are gathered here to present to Nigerians one of the newest technologies in cataract surgery.

“Herein lies a complete surgical suite  with a phaco-machine and operating microscope equipped with artificial intelligence.

“This is Phase One and within the next few months, Eleta will aquire a Vitreeo-Retinal equipment, which costs about 250000 dollars to increase its reach in eye surgery.

“Once this has been acquired and installed, Nigerians would no longer need to travel outside the country for any type of eye surgery because eye care destination tourism will be here in Ibadan,” he said.

The opthalmologist said that Eleta Eye Institute had trained over 100 ophthalmologists  since its inception to address the shortage of skilled manpower in eye care and increase access to quality eye care and timely intervention.

According to him, a lot of people suffer from visual impairment and go blind due to low access to quality eye care and about half of cataract procedures  are performed by herbalists.

“As an institute we exist to provide excellence of service to the rich and the poor.

“One per cent of adults of over the age of 40 are visually impaired as a result of cataracts and most cataract surgeries are performed by quacks.

“Eleta Eye Institute is foremost in providing  surgical skill and training as well as hands-on experience to our residents.

“We are set to go higher by training Nigerian doctors in highly skilled phaco surgery and we are grateful to SKT-Alcon for their partnership and support,” he said.

The Managing Director of SKT Pharmaceutical, Dr Dung Nuhu,  said that the  phaco procedure commonly known as a Drive-in Drive Out (DIDO) surgery is performed within 90 minutes without overnight hospital stays.

Nuhu said that the modern cataract procedure usually helps restore vision lost to cataracts and reduce  dependence on eyeglasses after surgery.

“In 2010, 12 million Nigerians had cataracts and the National Eye Institute  has projected that the number is likely to grow to 30.2 million bu the year 2059.

“Thankfully, phaco cataract surgery is one of the safest and most effective surgical procedures for tackling the scourge of catracts.

“Many cataract surgeries in Nigeria still involve the use of over 2000-year-old traditional method called couching most often with poor results.

“Other conventional surgical techniques for cataract removal though result in good visual outcomes may require a patient to be on admission for up to three weeks.

“The phaco procedure is called the drive in drive out procedure because it promotes faster healing, reduces risk of postoperative astigmatism and complications like retinal detachment.

“An uncomplicated phaco surgery lasts only about 15 minutes for experienced surgeons while the extra minutes is for preoperative and postoperative medications and evaluation.

“Most patients find it easy to resume their usual activities within two to three days of surgery including TV watching, reading, driving and resuming official duties,.

“This is why we are here today to commission one of the world’s best cataract surgery machine with state-of-the-art theatre facilities, ” he said.

Dr Ayobade Ogundipe, the President, Opthalmological Society of Nigeria, said that 95 per cent of cataract surgery is highly successful with favourable outcomes.

Ogundipe, a consultant opthalmologist at the University College Hospital, Ibadan, said that fear of surgery and hospitals, high cost of surgery, low level of awareness and poor access to quality eye care were major factors for low cataract surgery demand in the country.

He advised people to seek the help of an opthalmologist immediately cataract was noticed to prevent permanent blindness and loss of vision.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the cost of phaco surgery at the Eleta Eye Institute is less than N600,000 while it costs a minimum of 2000 dollars outside the country. (NAN)

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