The first 10 IRIS patients received cataract surgery in Katherine, NT on 26 March 2019 with a visit led by Darwin based ophthalmologist Dr Susith Kulasekara. This trip involved a small team from Darwin travelling to Katherine in the early hours of the day via a Charter Flight before a full day of operating on local patients who might otherwise still be waiting for their surgery.
Talking with the patients many had been waiting some time for an initial consultation but had been categorised as non-urgent, so were expecting a 12 month clinic wait and a further up to 12 month wait for surgery (and many had been referred into the hospital a few times, presumably not satisfying the eligibility criteria the first time).
A few patients hadn’t realised how bad their eyesight was until they had the eye-patch removed and went from only being able to read the top line of the eye chart to being able to read the bottom line. For most this was the first of their two cataracts being done.
The IRIS team appreciates the support from the staff at the Katherine Hospital and looks forward to returning on 20-21 June 2019.