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Belfast's Cathedral Eye Clinic brings new laser treatment to Ireland for the first time

By Valerie Edwards

Belfast’s Cathedral Eye Clinic has officially opened a new clinic that will bring the latest laser surgery technology to Ireland for the first time.

After a £2 million investment the clinic is at the forefront of ophthalmic care, with new Zeiss Visumax SMILE laser eye technology – the first of its kind on the island of Ireland.

The VisuMax SMILE procedure is a key-hole style laser eye treatment, which is nearly pain-free and has a rapid recovery time. The procedure is a solution for people wanting to get freedom from glasses and contact lenses.

Since the technology was installed in the Cathedral Eye Clinic in late September, close to 20 people have utilized the treatment and up to 100 patients are expected to undergo treatment before the end of 2015.

Professor Johnny Moore, clinical director at Cathedral Eye Clinic said: “We are committed to offering the safest and most effective bespoke eye treatments in Ireland, with our Belfast based consultants overseeing the entire process from consultation right through to post-operative care.

“We are proud to invest in our new state-of-the-art clinic and to bring the Zeiss VisuMax SMILE procedure to Ireland for the first time, enabling us to continue to uphold the highest level of safety in our laser procedures, but now with virtually no pain for the patient."

The Visumax SMILE treatment has been successfully performed on more than 150,000 eyes worldwide and the new clinic, located on Alfred Street, anticipates high demand for the treatment that offers a 24-48 hour recovery time with vision “completely restored”.

Cathedral Eye Clinic was founded in 2008 by Professor Moore and has grown to become one of Ireland’s most respected and successful eye clinics.

Professor Moore is a specialist in laser refractive surgery, cataract and other eye surgeries and he is regarded as one of Europe’s leading eye surgeons, having completed more than 20,000 procedures.

The clinic has ten surgeons who provide initial consultations and aftercare for patients like Colin Coleman from Coleraine, who is one of the first people in Northern Ireland to have undergone the treatment.

Colin suffered from short sightedness and astigmatism and for years wanted clearer vision for his hobbies which include, kayak surfing, swimming and triathlon races.

He said: “You don’t see anything; you don’t hear anything. It’s incredible. I did wonder momentarily if it was possible that a treatment that was so straightforward and totally pain free could actually change my vision for the better for life. My doubts were very short lived.

“There was no pain after the treatment, just a little bit of discomfort as if my eyes were tired. I had the treatment on a Wednesday and was back in work on the Friday, less than 36 hours after leaving the Clinic."

Within a week, his vision became better than 20/20, which is the standard for fighter pilots.

Some funding for the expansion of the clinic was provided by Ulster Bank.

Tracey Morrow, Ulster Bank Head of Belfast & North Down Business Centre, said: “As a bank, we’re pleased to support Professor Moore and his team. With £1.5bn available for businesses this year, we have the people and products in place to help local businesses innovate and expand.”

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