Close to 1,000 people a year will have their sight restored thanks to the delivery of two high-tech surgical units purchased on behalf of the Ophthalmology Department at LGH. The phacoemulsification units, which cost $85,000 each, are used to remove cataracts — one of the leading causes of blindness in Canada. The busy ophthalmology department had been relying on units more than a decade old, that used old technology and were in need of constant repair.
The new phacoemulsification (also known as phaco) systems include an ultrasonic probe with a tip small enough to make incisions that are self healing. As well as benefiting patients, the new units are easier to set up, are better for more challenging operations and have built-in capacity for future upgrades. The two new phaco units were delivered in the summer just as surgical services were being ramped up at the hospital.
This optical upgrade, which was generously funded by a donor who wants to remain anonymous, is just one example of the donor-driven improvements that have enhanced patient care at LGH. Dr. Carolyn Isbister, Division Head of Opthalmology at LGH is thankful for the donor generosity that made the purchases possible. “The difference is night and day”, she says. “We were one of the only hospitals in BC still using that technology. It had been in the capital budget for a long time and it was nice to finally get the upgrade.”