Vision Precision



There are few things as unnerving as losing your vision. With a condition called glaucoma, it can be particularly distressing because glaucoma often has no symptoms. It develops gradually, with many people going years before noticing an issue and often losing some of their eyesight, which is not reversible.
Dr. Docherty with KGH Eye Care Centre Nurses Pam Koga, Melissa Burke, and Laura Unger. They were the first team in Western Canada to receive accreditation to use the Hydrus glaucoma stent, another tool to support minimally invasive surgery.

Thankfully, doctors can intervene, help protect the remaining vision and reduce the chances of further deterioration in vision.

The Eye Care Centre at Kelowna General Hospital (KGH) provides surgical procedures of the eye, including cataract, macular degeneration, retina, and glaucoma surgery. The busy centre performs upwards of 8-20 glaucoma surgeries per week and its ophthalmologists recently began using a new set of equipment to further enhance glaucoma surgery at KGH.

When examining or performing surgery on an organ as small and delicate as the human eye, it is imperative to have the best visual equipment possible.

“Over a year ago, we treated a patient for complications from a Trabeculectomy – a type of glaucoma surgery – done in Vancouver,” explains Dr. Gavin Docherty, Ophthalmologist at KGH. “The patient was so pleased with our team and the excellent and professional care that he asked us if there was anything we needed to enhance our work.”

A bit surprised, Dr. Docherty and his team provided the individual with a list of equipment that could advance patient care in the Eye Care Centre. However, they kept their expectations in check.

But thanks to that grateful patient-turned- KGH Foundation donor, Dr. Docherty’s wish list was granted – exceeding all expectations. The donor provided the funding to purchase a new microscope for the Centre’s second operating room (OR 2), with a teaching scope attachment and a slit lamp with a mounted camera.

“The new microscope has expanded our ability to perform glaucoma surgery, in particular, angle-based or minimally invasive glaucoma surgery,” explains Dr. Docherty. “Now, both operating rooms are equipped to support the full spectrum of glaucoma surgery.”

The new microscope and accessories also promote enhanced learning. “I am able to teach residents, medical students and nurses to a much higher level with the new teaching scope,” says Dr. Docherty. “They can watch in real-time as I perform a surgery, plus we can record a surgery for learning later.”

Patients have noticed the difference as well. “I am so pleased they were able to get the new microscope to expand the capacity to do glaucoma surgery at KGH,” states one of Dr. Docherty’s patients. “I remember when I had to travel to Vancouver for my initial surgeries. It is such a blessing to have this available in our region now.”

“This gift has dramatically improved our ability to teach and train future health care providers and affords greater access for current patients,” says Dr. Docherty. “I am very appreciative of the generously donated funds to purchase this equipment – it has made such a difference in the care we can provide in the Eye Care Centre at KGH.”

Glaucoma is an eye disease that involves damage to the optic nerve as a result of increased pressure buildup in the eye. The nerve sends visual signals to the brain, where they are processed into what you “see”. The cause of glaucoma is not known.

Dr. Gavin Docherty,
KGH Ophthalmologist

“This gift has dramatically improved our ability to teach and train future health care providers…”

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