Whidbey General Hospital

Supporting Advanced Surgical Care for Cataracts

A generous grant from the Employee Community Fund of Boeing – Puget Sound has helped purchase state-of-the-art equipment used to perform cataract surgery.
Supporting Advanced Surgical Care for Cataracts

Whidbey General Hospital Surgery Technician Valerie Grambow with phacoemulsion equipment

Whidbey General Hospital Foundation is happy to announce a $40,000 grant from the Employee Community Fund of Boeing – Puget Sound.  The gift was given to assist in the purchase of a $66,000 piece of specialized equipment used to perform cataract surgery.

As our Whidbey Island population steadily ages, increasing numbers of our community are requiring surgical intervention and treatment for cataracts.  Cataract surgery, called phacoemulsification, is an outpatient procedure wherein the eye’s crystalline internal lens is emulsified using an ultrasonic probe.  The probe delicately breaks the cataract into microscopic pieces, which can then be gently suctioned out through a tiny incision.  The highly skilled ophthalmologic surgeons at Whidbey General Hospital perform more than ten phacoemulsification procedures every week, 500-600 each year.  Currently, two ophthalmologists perform these surgeries.  In fact, a third specialist is being recruited because of the increasing local demand for this procedure.

Phacoemulsification has become the accepted and preferred method of cataract treatment.  This relatively simple procedure can mean the difference in a senior citizen’s ability to remain independent for a longer period of time; preserving their vitality and quality of life for years to come.  The surgical process requires a total of six visits to the ophthalmologist, from initial screening to post-operative checkups.  Having this equipment and surgical specialists available locally eliminates the need to travel off-island for treatment, which can be a difficult or impossible journey for some older patients.

The new, technologically advanced phacoemulsion equipment is providing a number of tangible benefits for our patients, staff and community:

    • Faster procedures using the improved cutting technology.
    • Less trauma, fewer complications and less stress for patients during surgery.
    • Faster recovery times, and potentially fewer follow-up visits.
    • Ease of use for doctors and surgeons.
    • Retain the local availability of this high-demand procedure and other more complicated surgical remedies.