Rugby legend surgeon returns to theatre to perform fortnightly ophthalmology sessions at STARS

Mark Loane, former rugby union legend and cataract surgeon at STARS

Dr Loane and his colleagues are now seeing patients requiring eye surgery on the weekends at STARS.

Former rugby union legend and cataract surgeon Dr Mark Loane has returned to STARS on a Saturday, joining a dedicated team of weekend workers performing cataract surgeries.

The new Saturday Sessions will allow more people who need eye surgery to be seen sooner, and to have flexibility around when they receive their surgery.

Cataract surgery is a procedure to remove the lens of the eye and, in most cases, replace it with an artificial lens to improve the vision of the patient.

“We can’t get transmission of light through the retina unless it’s crystal clear,” Dr Loane said.

“We essentially take out the old lens and put a new lens in through a 2.2mm incision, it folds out like a ship in a bottle exactly where nature intended, the front part of the eye.”

Dr Loane considers the human eye to be the most beautiful biological creation in the universe and says that ophthalmologists are but ‘humble servants’ allowing people to continue to live meaningful lives.

“It’s an enormous honour and great pleasure to contribute to this multiply effect on quality of life, you can influence 15 other humans after one cataract surgery – you might have an elderly person who can now drive the car, pick up the grandkids, go on a trip, play golf, play bowls, and hold down a job due to improved visual capacity.”

Dr Loane once set his sights on playing for Australia which he achieved at just 18 years of age, before he captained the Wallabies to defeat the All Blacks in 1979.

But nowadays he has found his true passion, and that is helping others to enjoy theirs – be that on the footy field or whatever they choose to do with their time.

“To me I was a medical student that played rugby, my life was always going to be medicine.”

Dr Loane has estimated that he has completed between 18,000 – 20,000 cataract surgeries over his 40-year career, admitting that he hopes that there are many more to come.

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