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Australian surgeon wins gold at Cataract Olympics

24/10/2018By Myles Hume
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A life-changing procedure for a man caring for his ill wife helped Australian surgeon Professor Gerard Sutton to his first gold medal at the Cataract Surgery Olympics.

The first surgeon to represent Australia in the 2014 competition, Sutton returned as a member of Team Asia Pacific earlier this year at the World Ophthalmology Congress in Barcelona. With three members of his four-strong team each claiming individual gold medals – including Sutton – the quartet fended off ophthalmologists from Latin America, North America and Europe/Middle East to stand atop the podium.

The teams presented complex cataract procedures they performed, with judges accounting for the impact it had on the patient’s life.

Professor Gerard Sutton.
Professor Gerard Sutton.

Sutton presented three cases: a multifocal lens replacement, a dislocated lens procedure, and a case involving a poorly placed lens causing high astigmatism. The third operation was crucial in helping the team get over the line.

“The patient had one eye and he was looking after his sick wife, so he needed his driving licence,” Sutton, a researcher and lecturer at the University of Sydney and medical director at the Lions NSW Eye Bank, said.

“He had a lens in his eye that was just hopeless and moving around, so he couldn’t drive – he couldn’t function. So we took it out and put in one that corrected his astigmatism and gave him back his driver’s licence.”

Renowned Singapore cataract surgeon Professor Soon-Phaik Chee led the team, also made of up Professor Ramamurthy Dandapani, of India, and Japan’s Professor Tetsuro Oshika.

IMAGE CAPTION: Professor Gerard Sutton (second from left) with fellow Cataract Surgery Olympics teammates (from left) Professors Tetsuro Oshika, Soon-Phaik Chee and Ramamurthy Dandapani.

Carl Zeiss
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