'Miracle’ eye treatment works wonders for Mary
A north Belfast woman has become the first person in the UK or Ireland to have revolutionary eye surgery aimed at stopping the march of the blinding illness glaucoma.
Mary McCall, 66, from Alliance Avenue, had been slowly losing her eyesight to a disease responsible for causing blindness in more than 67 million people worldwide.
Surgeons at the Cathedral Eye Clinic in Belfast have fitted Mrs McCall's eye with a device already being dubbed the ‘millimetre miracle'.
The iStent is a tiny piece of titanium — weighing just 60 microgrammes — and is the smallest medical device ever to be implanted into the human body.
It drains fluid away lowering eye pressure from a sensitive part at the back of the eye which causes the glaucoma illness.
Cathedral Eye Clinic Consultant Mr Colin Willoughby made the announcement on Monday during National Glaucoma Week which aims to highlight the destructive nature of the disease and raise awareness about research.
Glaucoma is a progressive and irreversible illness caused when the optic nerve is damaged by a build-up of fluid.
“Patients begin to lose peripheral vision and can go blind.
At the forefront of research into the illness, the Cathedral Eye Clinic says Mrs McCall will now undergo the 15-minute procedure on a second eye soon.
Mrs McCall, a mother of six, said: “The stent procedure has changed my life. My eyesight was getting worse and the procedure has stopped that.
“Mr Willoughby was brilliant throughout. I went into hospital in the morning and I was home in time for lunch. Sure you couldn't beat that.
“I used to have to put three different types of eye drops into my eye in the morning and two at night. I'm hoping to have the other eye done soon, so I won't have to use drops at all.
“I would hate to go blind. That is a possibility with glaucoma and now I don't have to worry about that.
“The Cathedral Eye Clinic carried out the procedure for free; and Mr Willoughby also removed a cataract in another operation so that eye is brilliant now. It's like somebody just switched on a light.”