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Centenarian Isobel has her eyesight restored

 In Lakeview Private Hospital News
Centenarian Isobel has her eyesight restored

The Lakeview Private Hospital team welcome Isobel before her procedure.

Centenarian Isobel has her eyesight restored

… Lakeview Private Hospital surgeon performs the first cornel graft procedure on a centenarian in Australia

When Isobel arrived at Lakeview Private Hospital for her eye surgery last month she was greeted at Lakeview Private Hospital Admission with a big bunch of flowers from the staff. At the time of her admission, 100 year old Isobel was almost totally deaf and blind. She had been booked in to Lakeview Private Hospital for a cornel graft which was to be performed by Dr Chameen Samarawickrama using a technique which allows for rapid recovery and restoration of sight. It was a procedure he had not performed on someone of such advanced age and, to the best of our knowledge, it was the first time that the procedure was to be performed on a centenarian in Australia. Dr Samarawickrama and the Lakeview Private Hospital team were only too aware that this was a stressful time for Isobel and her family.

How the procedure came about and the key decisions

Isobel’s arrival at Lakeview Private Hospital had come about as her family had been increasingly concerned about her quality of life. With no hearing and with her only eye becoming blind by corneal disease, they were conscious that Isobel faced being isolated from the sight and sound of her loved ones. Isobel and her family were aware that there were significant risks associated with undergoing an operation at Isobel’s advanced age; however, this was also an opportunity to significantly improve her quality of life.

The family’s GP referred Isobel to Dr Chameen Samarawickrama, a Consultant Eye Surgeon at Nexus Eyecare in Norwest, not only due to Dr Samarawickrama’s expertise in corneal and anterior segment surgery but due to his excellent reputation for personalised care throughout the process from assessment, to surgery, and aftercare. It was this that was incredibly important to the family.

“Isobel’s case was obviously highly sensitive,” explains Dr Samarawickrama. “The first issue to address was ensuring that Isobel and her family were aware of both the details of the procedure itself and also how the procedure fits in with Isobel’s overall health and function. Of particular concern was whether we could justify a corneal transplant in someone of her age. Not only is corneal transplant material limited but also undergoing any operation at the age of 100 is intrinsically more complicated. However, Isobel’s case was unique in that without the transplant, she would be “locked in” and unable to communicate with the outside world.”

Once the initial examination had been made and Isobel fully assessed, a date was set for her admission. Lakeview Private Hospital was chosen for the procedure due to both its state of the art facilities and its reputation for friendly and exceptional care. Whilst every case in Lakeview Private Hospital is a personal one, in Isobel’s case the admissions team were only too aware that they were about to receive a very special patient.

“Having been admitted, our first concern was to ensure that Isobel was looked after wholistically,” continues Dr Samarawickrama. “In this regard, the roles of the Lakeview Private Hospital nursing, medical, support, administrative and allied health teams are vital. A successful transplant of this nature requires the patient to lie flat on their back for several hours after the procedure – this is critical for the success of the transplant as the graft is held in place with an air-bubble that tamponades it into position. In Isobel’s case, we had to ensure that everything in her room, from the way it was laid out to the staff attending to her, was able to facilitate her lying down for this prolonged amount of time.”

Following the procedure, Isobel settled into the Lakeview Private Hospital for her stay.

Isobel’s discharge home from Lakeview Private Hospital and her progress to date

Following her stay at Lakeview Private Hospital, Isobel returned home to the support of her family and her quality of her life has improved no end. She is able to read, watch television and enjoy the attention of her grandchildren.

Two months on from the procedure, she is also making regular visits to Dr Samarawickrama’s clinic in Norwest.

“We need to monitor improvement in vision and ensure that the graft does not undergo rejection,” says Dr Samarawickrama. “Progress has been excellent and in three months time I expect her to be maintaining as much independence as possible. It’s not just a case of monitoring progress; it’s also ensuring that everything is communicated to the family and they have a realistic understanding of what her vision will be. Approaching it this way enables us to ensure that Isobel’s quality of life improves no end and that the family can enjoy this quality time together.”

Dr. Chameen Samarawickrama

Nexus Eyecare, Suite 310, 4 Columbia Court, Baulkham Hills
Phone: (02) 9680 9100

Nexus Eyecare, Suite 208, 30 Campbell Street, Blacktown
Phone: (02) 9672 3055


Dr Chameen Samarawickrama


Corneal and anterior segment surgery . Complex corneal diseases . Keratoconus . Corneal transplantation . Dry eye . Lens surgery . Laser eye surgery

Dr Chameen Samarawickrama is a Consultant Eye Surgeon with expertise in corneal and anterior segment surgery, complex corneal diseases, keratoconus, corneal transplantation, dry eye, lens surgery and laser eye surgery. Dr Samarawickrama combines scientific excellence with personalised care. He prides himself on clear communication and patient education. His philosophy is to maintain a wholistic approach to each person’s vision, from assessment, to surgery, and aftercare. Dr Samarawickrama is abreast of the forefronts of ophthalmic developments and technology, and delivers this in a personalised and approachable manner…

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