Teaching trip to Africa a real eye opener for Spire Regency surgeon

A LEADING eye surgeon at Spire Regency’s hospital in Macclesfield put his skills to good use in Africa training doctors in modern cataract surgery techniques.

Mr Say Aun Quah, who is a Consultant Ophthalmologist at Spire Regency and also works at Leighton Hospital in Crewe and Macclesfield District General, travelled to Ghana with the Eye Aid for Africa charity.

He and Spire Regency Consultant Ophthalmologist colleague, Mr Mark Neugebauer, were part of a pioneering new approach which saw Ghanaian doctors trained in new eye surgery techniques using more up-to-date equipment. The idea behind the initiative was to leave more of a lasting legacy compared to previous trips, when volunteers had given their time to perform operations without any provision for after they had returned home.

Pharmaceutical firm Alcon donated the refurbished cataract ‘phacoemulsification’ machine to Eye Aid for Africa. Mr Quah then used the equipment to teach the team at Ghana’s second largest hospital - Konfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi - the techniques to remove cataracts more effectively. Meanwhile, Mr Neugebauer trained another team of doctors on an Argon laser machine, which is used in the treatment of diabetic eye disease.

Mr Quah, 43,  said there were several benefits to the more modern techniques – used in this country for the past 20 years – compared to the old-fashioned procedures still practiced in Ghana, where access to new technology is limited.

“The wound created with this method of cataract removal is much smaller, meaning there is less discomfort for the patient,” he explained.

“It also leads to a quicker recovery time and patients can see much sooner – often within 24 hours compared to up to a week or longer with the older methods of cataract surgery.

“We can achieve these results because the newer technology gives us much more control during the surgery, meaning the procedure is far less invasive.”

The eye surgeon said he had always been interested in taking such a trip, and this year the time had finally been right. Mr Quah, who lives in Knutsford, also hopes to continue working with the project - an area of medicine which is hugely important since cataracts are the most commong cause of treatable blindness in the world.

“The experience was also an eye-opener for me,” he said. “It felt rewarding to pass on my skills and help make a difference. My time there gave me a greater understanding and realisation of how privileged we are here in this country."

For more information about our cataract surgery at Spire Regency Hospital, contact Pat or Annie on 01625 505412 or email cservice-re@spirehealthcare.com



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Mr Say Aun Quah, Consultant Ophthalmologist at Spire Regency

Mr Say Aun Quah treats a patient in Ghana

Mr Say Aun Quah teaches a Ghananian surgeon modern cataract techniques

© Spire Healthcare Group plc (2016)