Pretoria Eye Institute
This eye institute was conceptualized when a group of highly skilled ophthalmologists saw a gap in the market and a need for a dedicated private ophthalmology clinic in South Africa. South Africa was lacking such a place for quality ophthalmology services and in 2001 Pretoria Eye Institute was opened. The organization strives for effective and state-of-the art eye care in all disciples of eye care.
Raymond Foster, CEO of Pretoria Eye Institute, says “Up until that time all the founding ophthalmologists worked in general hospitals all over Pretoria and the Pretoria Eye Institute is the first private single discipline hospital in South Africa.”
The institute’s main centre is in Arcadia, Pretoria but it has four satellite offices for added convenience for its patients. The satellite office’s locations include Faerie Glen, Witbank, Centurion and Pretoria Noord.
The institute has a number of modern facilities that make it the best in the eyecare arena. It has everything under one roof, creating a convenient and easily accessible clinic for patients. Included in these facilities are a 40-bed eye hospital and a modern theatre complex with six theatres. Each theatre has been specifically and carefully designed and utilized with specialized surgical equipment. The institute also has an eye bank, available optometrists, an orthoptic clinic, a prosthetic clinic and a low vision clinic all available under its roof.
Foster says, “We also have an excimer laser used in eye surgery and in our facility, we do multi-faceted eye operations.”
The institute has 23 ophthalmologists available with a range of expertise to suit most patients’ eye-care needs. Expertise ranges from regular surgeons to those that specialize in paediatric, glaucoma and ocular injuries.
The aim of the institute is to give its patient a one-stop optometry service for all eye care needs and Pretoria Eye Institute does this with its varied and quality services and facilities. “We like to think that if someone has a specific eye condition that we would be able to assist them in the building somewhere. We offer quality services to our patients,” says Foster.
The institute addresses a number of patient eye issues including: Neuro ophthalmology, corneal transplant, refractive errors, Lasik, conjunctivitis, allergies, glaucoma, pterygium, cataract, dry eye, vitreo-retinal diseases, and ocular oncology.
The organization’s biggest social responsibility project takes place during Eye Care Awareness Week. During this time the institute offers free cataract surgery to patients. Priority is given to those who can’t afford private medical care and those that are on waiting lists from state hospitals. Foster says, “We have been doing this since 2001 and during October we were able to perform the surgery on 441 patients free of charge.”
To date, the institute has assisted 2,200 patients from this scheme with cataract surgery. This program is the biggest community project that Pretoria Eye Institute participates in and it couldn’t be done without its state-of-the-art facility and ophthalmologists volunteering their time and skills.
Pretoria Eye Institute participates in a number of other public services to benefit to the community. It has lectures on eye care to the public as well as special interest groups. The institute also provides services to eye clinics in underserved communities.
Stand out in the industry
The acclaimed institute is one of the best in the country, and certainly, even the world with its impressive facilities and services. “We are competitive with any of the other eye units worldwide. We have academic programs and a lot of continuous eye development programs with our eye doctors and staff,” says Foster.
Foster adds that though there may be many units like Pretoria Eye Institute overseas, in South Africa the institute is one of the largest when it comes to dedicated units of expertise.
Pretoria Eye Institute prides itself on keeping abreast of new technology as it evolves and maintains staff training in the industry. “There is always new equipment, and it’s something we must always keep track of and keep up to date on,” says Foster.
With Pretoria Eye Institute’s stand out reputation, services, qualified ophthalmologists and extensive facilities, the institute has made a great difference to the South Africa eye-care landscape. With its philanthropic projects like its free cataract surgery during Eye Care Awareness Week and services to disadvantaged communities, the Pretoria Eye Institute isn’t just a state-of-the-art eye-care facility but also one that adds its strong healthcare values to the community.