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Dina is seeing clearly again

April 30, 2019

Dina Donatone knew something was wrong but she didn’t know how serious it was. When she suddenly lost vision in one of her eyes, she booked in to see her local Optometrist. Scans revealed a dark mass at the back of Dina’s eye, which turned out to be bleeding. She was urgently referred to the Eye and Ear for further investigation.

“I don’t know why it happened,” she said. “People say it was from my diabetes, but I think it was probably also from leading a stressful life.” Stress is something Dina knows well, having worked as a cook in many busy kitchens across Melbourne for the last thirteen years.

Dina was diagnosed with a vitreous haemorrhage which is often associated with diabetic retinopathy. She was placed on a list for urgent surgery. “The whole process was very quick,” says Dina “I think about five hours all together. I was worried because I would only be under local anaesthetic that it would be very painful but apart from a little pain in the evening after the surgery, it wasn’t too bad. I wish all operations could be like that,” she said.

Dina’s surgery was performed using the NGenuity 3D surgical device, which allows surgeons to see a 3D version of the eye’s interior on a monitor, instead of looking down a microscope. The NGenuity device is a cutting-edge piece of equipment generously donated by the Eye and Ear’s own Dr Willie Campbell.

After the surgery, Dina recovered under the care of the Eye and Ear’s nursing staff. “The nurses were beautiful,” she said “The most caring I’ve ever experienced in my life.” Her doctors were also able to provide good news – with the bleeding stopped; Dina’s vision would make a full recovery. “I could already see the next day” said Dina. “And after about 48 hours I could see really clearly.”

It was the result that Dina had been hoping for. “I always try to think positive and limit negative thoughts” she said. “If you wish for the best, that’s how you get the best.”

Dina is enjoying having her vision back, particularly so she can drive again. “I need to be able to drive to go shopping, see my doctor and my grandchildren and just do normal life things.”

Reflecting on her experiences she stresses the importance of early intervention if you feel something isn’t right. “Vision is so precious. Check-ups are very important. We are so lucky now that there are people who can fix these things and save our sight.”