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When a group of ophthalmologists established Auckland Eye in 1993, they had no idea it would be New Zealand’s leading private eye care practice three decades later. As co-founder Dr Stephen Best explains, the team wanted to build the first sub-specialty eye practice in New Zealand,
“a one-stop-shop for eye treatment, so people could get the specialist care they need for every part of the eye.”
After starting in a refurbished house in Newmarket/Remuera, the practice now has locations in and around Auckland and an 18-strong ophthalmology team. As the company celebrates its 30th Anniversary, it reflects on a time of incredible change in the business and the eye-care sector.
Dr David Pendergrast, also one of the founding members, has been proud to watch the business change over the last three decades:
“I’m immensely proud of having been part of this and seeing it continue to grow from one little building on the corner of the street to three facilities and then more clinics. We only had four staff members in the beginning – now we have over 100.”
From a villa to a state-of-the-art facility
Phil Kooperberg has come full circle with Auckland Eye. He grew up in the Remuera villa that became part of Auckland Eye’s expansion, remembering it as a
“classic old kauri and native timber house, built back in the day when Auckland was mostly farmland.”
More recently, he visited Auckland Eye for his own treatment – calling it a “remarkably smooth process” and relishing the chance to talk about the history. (At the time of his surgery he noted this is where our garage used to be).
When Auckland Eye bought the property, it was fitted out as Auckland’s first speciality eye clinic – but retained many of the character features, including Totara and Pohutukawa trees that Phil remembers climbing as a child. Later, neighbour Geoff Lamb who owned the original home that became Auckland Eye’s first premises explains, the practice bought two more properties on the same road and then built the larger, ultra-modern facility where it operates today.
At the cutting edge of eye care
Auckland Eye was the first to introduce Lasik to New Zealand in 1997, and it has led the charge on a wide range of eye-care advances since then. Dr Best explains that technology like ultrasound and OCT imaging has dramatically changed the way the team treats patients and the outcomes they see. For example, macular degeneration can now be managed with regular injections – impossible just 15 years ago.
Dr Pendergrast says that technology has improved “astonishingly”. He remembers the introduction of Lasik but says:
“It has changed so much since then. Now corneal refractive laser surgery is done with a newer generation laser. It’s faster, safer, more responsive, and more accurate.”
Where to next?
Auckland Eye isn’t slowing down any time soon. Chairman Mark Connelly says expansion will continue as the business strives to keep pace with the growth of Auckland itself.
“The practice has aspirations to continue growing its satellite centres, along with the development of more locations to support the main Remuera Clinic.”
CEO Gordon Armstrong agrees;
“We will continue to be the leading and most trusted eye care provider in New Zealand. We will expand our services, locations and the use of new technology to further enhance the patient experience.”
Here’s to another 30 years of life changing eye care.
About Auckland Eye
Auckland Eye is the largest and most trusted eye care provider in New Zealand. We continue to expand our services, locations, and the use of new technology to further enhance the patient experience.
Find out more about Auckland Eye at https://www.aucklandeye.co.nz/
1. Best, S. (2023). [Phil Kooperberg with Dr Stephen Best post successful surgery].
2. Picture given to Dr Stephen Best by a patient who previously lived in the old house on 8 St Marks Road.
3. Hadden, B. (2012). Eye Surgeons and Surgery in New Zealand. Wairau Press. https://museum.ranzco.edu/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/EyeSurgerysurgeonscompleteFeb2017.pdf
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