Maxine is looking good

11 Aug 2021

Maxine McDowell admits she is extremely lucky.

“How can a person have so many eye challenges yet be able to see as well, or better, than many of my age?”

Maxine 1980

Maxine, 77, lives in Willoughby and she first came to Sydney Eye Hospital in 1980 when she was 37. She had a retinal detachment requiring laser surgery which was revolutionary at the time.

“I remember I lay blindfolded in a hospital bed for seven days,” Maxine said.

She has made two more vital visits for further retinal treatment, one in 1992 and the other in 1995-- and recently she came back for yet another sight-saving intervention for glaucoma and macular degeneration.

The inspiring story of Maxine’s battle to save her sight is one that is paralleled by the thousands of people who come to the hospital every year secure in knowing that world-class nursing, clinical and diagnostic and surgical care is available and all under one roof.

Maxine has been described as a “barometer of changes” in technology at the Eye Hospital. Since she underwent surgery in 1980, she has seen (yes, that is the operative word) near-miraculous developments in technology which now allow advance diagnosis, less invasive treatment and faster rehabilitation.


And she has nothing but praise for the hospital, “I have had complete confidence in every doctor and staff member that has attended to me.

“My eye conditions require daily medication which causes me no concern at all. Regular monitoring by Dr Jed Lusthaus keeps me confident and managing well.”

Maxine is an Honorary Life Member of the Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance and recently retired as Chairman of the ACT Insurance Advisory Board. Today, she does part time and voluntary work mainly in insurance matters also COTA – Council on the Ageing.

“I have exceptionally good close sight. I say that’s because I have spent my life working in insurance and can always read the fine print! While I must wear glasses for distance, my eyesight and eye comfort are as good as can be.

“I have no difficulty driving my car, even at night!”

Sydney Eye Hospital Foundation thanks Maxine for sharing her story with us. If you would like to share your story please email

Maxine and Lesley, who is our Outpatients Nurse Unit Manager.

Maxine, pictured with daughter Lesley, who is our Outpatients Nurse Unit Manager.