June 9, 2021

Raising funds for life-changing equipment at Northern Health

Northern Health Foundation has launched their 2021 Tax Appeal, seeking support from our community to raise funds for life-changing Ophthalmology equipment at Northern Health.

The team are aiming to purchase a new Phacoemulsification Machine and Ophthalmic Microscope for cataract surgical procedures.

The thought of losing your eyesight can be a terrifying and daunting prospect. Around 11 per cent of people over 40 years of age experience cataracts – a number that will rise as our community ages and our population increases. When a person experiences a cataract, there is a clouding in the normally clear lens of the eye, which causes vision to become proportionately reduced. If left untreated, cataracts will cause continual loss of vision and can lead to legal blindness or even total blindness.

Here at Northern Health, our Ophthalmology Surgical teams perform over 1,400 operations every year. Our community’s need for Ophthalmology Services continues to grow at a rapid pace.

With 2020 being a year like no other, we, like all other health services, faced significant challenges and adversity. Throughout the height of COVID-19, health services across our country were required to defer their elective surgery lists. Today, as the number of patients increase across the service, Dr Suheb Ahmed, Head of Ophthalmology, and his team are working tirelessly to bring this life-changing cataract surgery to each and every one of them.

“I am very privileged to do what I do. Having an impact on so many lives, by performing cataract surgery, makes me truly love what I do. Securing the funds needed to purchase both the latest Phacoemulsification Machine and Ophthalmology Microscope will give our patients in the north access to the very best in cataract surgical procedures anywhere in Australia,” Dr Ahmed said.

By introducing this new equipment, Northern Health will alleviate the need for patients in our northern community, and some regional areas of Victoria, to be referred to other health services for their care. With community support, we will provide additional services and subsequently increase the number of cataract surgical procedures we can perform, bringing with it reduced risks and improved efficiencies. Patients will receive the safest, most efficient life-changing surgery, here in their own community.

“Introducing the latest in medical technology will also put us on the front foot when attracting new surgeons. The ability to train our registrars and fellows, not only on the best equipment, but by some of the best cataract surgeons, will put us ahead of the game,” added Dr Ahmed.

Richard O’Hea

Northern Health patient Richard O’Hea explains the significant impact cataracts had on his life prior to being treated.

“My vision was very blurry. If I watched TV, I needed to wear really strong glasses – and reading captions was impossible. It was like I was always in a fog – I would constantly be rubbing my eyes thinking they had dirt in them. So, when I was finally diagnosed as having cataracts, I knew that I needed to be really proactive about getting it seen to,” Richard explained.

“I’m a really active person – the last thing I wanted was to progressively go blind. I renovate houses and want to continue to do so until I die. I use a lot of power tools and saws, not something you want to be using when your vision is impaired! The whole process at Northern Health – the operation, the staff from the moment I walked in the door – was fantastic,” Richard added.

Linda Romano, Divisional Director, Nursing – Surgical Services encourages our community to get behind such an important cause.

“I am often reminded of Fred Hollows when he once said – its obscene to let people go blind when they don’t have to,” she said.

Featured Image: Dr Suheb Ahmed, Head of Ophthalmology

To donate to this campaign, please click here.