Fendalton Eye Clinic has celebrated 25 years of delivering eyecare to Christchurch residents and beyond with a complete surgery refurbishment.
Husband-and-wife team Dr David Kent and optometrist Jane Patterson set up the first laser eye surgery centre in the South Island in 1996. Starting out with photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) surgery, Dr Kent went on to perform the first laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis (LASIK) procedure in the South Island in 1997. In the years that followed, the team has carried out laser refractive surgery on nearly 15,000 South Islanders and refractive lens exchanges on more than 2,000 patients, from as far afield as Invercargill and Nelson.
Dr Kent said he finds it hard to believe it’s been 25 years since the pair first opened their doors. “We were still young and took on what even today would be a very large bank loan to fund the purchase of our first excimer laser and microkeratome.”
Having always tried to be early adopters of new technology, the Fendalton Eye Clinic team were quick to replace their microkeratome with femtosecond lasers when they became available in 2006, to improve patient safety. They were also early users of corneal collagen crosslinking for keratectasia and intra-corneal ring segment surgery, said Dr Kent. “The most recent advance was the widespread adoption of SMILE surgery for myopia and astigmatism and today we do more SMILE than any other refractive surgical procedure.”
Given all the people they’ve met on the way, especially “our fabulous and dedicated staff”, it’s been an enjoyable journey, said Patterson. “All of these encounters have enhanced the enjoyment of the day job, making it a fulfilling career for David and I.”
New practice fit-out
Timed to dovetail with the milestone, the Fendalton Eye Clinic has now completed its new practice fitout with the support and expertise of interior designer Jean Foster. The brief was to create a lighter space and to give the practice a contemporary feel, said Patterson. “It has made the space more welcoming, and it now includes a cosy staff room and a purpose-designed instrument reprocessing space. We’re particularly proud of our kereru feather, a beautiful sculptural artwork by renowned local artist Neil Dawson. As you view it from left to right, the feather changes colour to include the progression of the colours of a kereru.”