Cataract Surgery and
Rotary Epithelial Scrubber



Selig Percy Amoils

Selig Percy Amoils, an ophthalmologist, refined the cryoextraction method of cataract surgery by developing a cryoprobe that was cooled through the Joule-Thomson effect of gas expansion. He developed this method at Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto. Amoils achieved wide recognition for his invention and in 1975 received the Queen’s Award for Technological Innovation. His cryoprobe has since been on display in the Kensington Museum in London.

Another well-known invention of his is the rotary epithelial scrubber. This is an adaptation of an ordinary electric toothbrush used in corrective laser surgery. It works in a circular motion, scrubbing away cells for a smoother surface for laser procedures. Previously, a scalpel was used which could result in an uneven surface.

Amoils's rotary epithelial scrubber has even been used on former President Nelson Mandela, whom Amoils treated. Amoils had to perform a difficult operation to remove a cataract from the former President’s eye.