A minute with...Dr Sheraz Daya

The Centre for Sight’s medical director gives OT  his thoughts on enhanced services, cataract surgical development and patient safety


What do you see as some of the new technologies that will change the treatment of cataracts? 

Materials are changing and there are a number of new developments taking place, so we’ll see lenses that can do a lot of things. The precision of femtosecond lasers will also make a difference and put complex procedures into the hands of the average surgeon.

This precision will also impact on safety. If technology can make even 10% of surgeons safer, think about how that outcome translates across to patient safety.

Developments in equipment, from optical coherence tomography to other machines, will provide the precision we’re looking for in diagnostics. This is where future optometry is going to play a big role – diagnostics that will support ophthalmologists.

What other changes do you see ahead?

The big one that I find frightening is the changes in demographics, our ageing population. We ophthalmologists are just not going to be able to cope. Optometrists are going to be doing a lot of our work in terms of diagnosis and initial management.

This is going to require considerable development of clinical acumen and the ability to identify outliers in a patient population. Accomplishing this will require a good education with a focus on clinical experience, which may be accomplished by training alongside practising ophthalmologists.

Bricks and mortar are going to be another problem. There is not going to be room in hospitals to provide space for all the patients. We’re going to have to find another way of providing care. Hopefully, necessity will be the mother of invention and interesting and innovative solutions will become available.

What interests you in the new developments in the field of cataracts?

There’s been really amazing developments over the last 30–50 years. But what is interesting is how some of the most recent technologies have gone back to the past; for example, the use of small aperture or pinhole lenses that are just being introduced. This is a concept first proposed by ophthalmologists such as Peter Choyce about 40 years ago. It is fascinating how we often go back in time and revisit old concepts using new technology.

How has intraocular lens manufacturer Rayner contributed to ocular research in the past?

Rayner was the company that developed the first intraocular lens implanted by Sir Harold Ridley in 1949. This development took place in a pretty hostile academic environment.

Rayner demonstrated the value of combining good science, innovation and collaboration with doctors to accomplish what is probably the single most significant breakthrough in cataract surgery. Additionally, one can only admire the collective courage of Sir Harold Ridley and his allies along with Rayner, the manufacturer.

Since the first implant, Rayner has continued to innovate and has a catalogue of intraocular lenses that are used in considerable numbers nationally and internationally. I also know that it will have further innovative products that will be commercialised over the next few years.

Dr Daya spoke to OT as part of the April grand opening of the Ridley Innovation Centre, the new facility of intraocular lens manufacturer Rayner.

To read more about Dr Daya and the Centre for Sight's work, visit the Centre for Sight website.