PE eye department carves up cataract surgery record book

Chris Bateman


An ophthalmology department headed by two specialists in Port Elizabeth (PE) has quietly been restoring sight to thousands of mostly indigent patients across their province for seven years – and is closing in on the internationally accepted target for the elimination of cataract blindness.
Close friends and Matie 2004 graduates, Drs Mark Jacoby and Danie Louw at Port Elizabeth Provincial Hospital, are 300 procedures short of the gold standard annual cataract surgery rate (CSR) for South Africa at 2 000 surgical procedures per one million people. This is the internationally accepted target for the elimination of cataract blindness and the PE team are well above a nationally revised local target of 1 500 set in 2010 (set after research showed that most units were failing to make even this level).1 The chief reasons cited by researchers for the general target failure were a lack of commitment to increase the CSR, insufficient theatre time, erratic supplies of surgery consumables and inefficiencies in theatres.
Professor Andries Stulting, Head of Ophthalmology at the University of the Free State and an award-winning training and outreach veteran of the public sector, described the pair’s achievement as ‘fantastic, this is going well beyond the call of duty, especially if you run a general hospital department where you have a whole lot of other eye surgery as well. These guys have really gone the extra mile.’

Author's affiliations

Chris Bateman, HMPG

Full Text



cataract blindness, cataract surgery, public sector

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2012;102(4):214-216.

Article History

Date submitted: 2012-03-06
Date published: 2012-03-14

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