Glaucoma patients FAQ
At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the glaucoma service at Moorfields put your health and safety first by only seeing emergencies, where seeing you was important in saving your sight. We understand that this has been a very difficult time for everybody and we would like to reassure you that we are here to support you in any way we can. We are now steadily expanding both the range of services we offer and the number of sites we can offer them from, but only where this can be done safely.
We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions below. If you don’t find the information you’re looking for here, our helplines remain open for advice.
Questions about my appointment
“How do you plan to look after glaucoma patients at Moorfields over the next few months and in the long-term?”
Our priority is to ensure the safety of our patients and staff. Social distancing will play an important role in all our daily lives for the foreseeable future. This means that we need to change how we deliver care by incorporating social distancing where possible and by minimising the time that our patients spend in a hospital environment.
Your next appointment will be for an imaging clinic, where you will have all your usual tests, but without the need to wait to see a clinician. Tests will be reviewed the next working day by our glaucoma specialists and we will ring you to respond to any specific queries you may have, or if we need to talk to you further about your glaucoma care.
Face to face clinic attendances will take longer, so will be reserved for the more urgent cases such as people who may need, or have recently undergone, surgery.
“I always used to see a specific consultant at Moorfields, will that still be the case?”
In order to safely staff our consultant-led clinics across our network, care will be now delivered by teams of two or more of our specialist glaucoma consultants. If you need to attend a face to face appointment, you may not see the same consultant as prior to the pandemic. However, you will still receive the same high quality of care that is associated with Moorfields Eye Hospital.
“I am worried about spending time in a healthcare setting due to Coronavirus – can you reassure me?”
Moorfields has taken significant steps to protect the safety and wellbeing of both our staff and patients. Before entering a Moorfields site, staff and patients are screened about potential symptoms of the virus and have their temperature checked. Everyone must wear a mask at all times in the hospital and masks are provided for patients and carers upon arrival. Dispensers for hand sanitisation are located throughout all clinical areas.
We have altered the scheduling of patients for both clinic visits and surgery to stagger arrival times. This minimises the number of people in clinical areas at any one time to help with social distancing. The waiting area has also been re-designed for social distancing.
“My appointment has been cancelled. When will I receive another one?”
In order to reorganise glaucoma care at Moorfields to maintain safety, appointments scheduled from August onwards will be deferred. Every person’s care is being reviewed according to your glaucoma risk under the supervision of our consultants. We will aim to send you an updated appointment over the coming months to the appropriate type of clinic and at a convenient location, in order to minimise the time you need to spend in a hospital setting. Please allow 8-12 weeks (from July 2020) to receive a new appointment and contact us on 020 7566 2700 if you haven’t received a rescheduled appointment by the end of October 2020.
“I have health conditions and am worried about leaving my house. Should I still attend?”
If we have not deferred your appointment and you have been advised to stay at home by your GP, further information can be found here. Please call us for advice and check the website’s section on your appointment for the latest practical information.
Questions about my drops
“My appointment has been deferred. Do I carry on with my drops?”
Please continue to take all of your glaucoma drops as prescribed until your next appointment.
“I’m having difficulty obtaining my drops. What should I do?”
You should continue to contact your GP for a prescription, as usual, for your local pharmacy to supply your medicines. If you experience difficulties getting a repeat prescription from your GP or your local pharmacy has any problems obtaining your drops, please contact the Medicines Helpline at Moorfields on 0207 566 2361. Our Medicines Helpline service is run by our pharmacy team, who can then help work out the best way of providing your medication. In some instances we may need to supply you some more medicines from Moorfields to ensure you don’t run out, and we can post these out to you so you don’t need to come to Moorfields to collect them.
“I am on a course of steroid drops (dexamethasone or prednisolone) which is reducing in frequency. What should I do?”
Following cataract or glaucoma surgery, you will have received a prescription after surgery detailing your course of steroid (dexamethasone or prednisolone) drops.
- For cataract operations, please complete the course of drops as prescribed.
- For glaucoma surgery (e.g. tube or trabeculectomy), we will arrange a phone call or a clinic appointment, where we will tell you how often to take your drops. In the meantime please continue using the medication you are currently using at the same frequency.
“I am using Iopidine eye drops and I am struggling to get hold of these from my local pharmacy. What should I do?”
In the first instance we recommend that your GP changes this to Brimonidine drops. This medicine works in the same way and is more readily available in local pharmacies. If you experience further difficulties, please contact the Medicines Helpline at Moorfields on 0207 566 2361.
Questions about my surgery
“My surgery has been deferred. What will happen next?”
From June, we have worked to ensure that the majority of our patients who needed sight-saving glaucoma surgery have been offered a date for their operations. Unless we have told you otherwise, please continue with your regular medication until your operation. If you are waiting to have a less urgent procedure such as cataract surgery, you may have to wait longer for an operation. Please be assured that we will be able to achieve the same results from your surgery even if it is postponed.
“I have a date for surgery soon. Should I still attend?”
If your surgery has not been deferred, your consultant feels that it is in your best interests to attend in order to safely manage your condition and prevent loss of sight. Before coming in for your appointment, please check that you have not had a high temperature, a new persistent cough or a change to your sense of smell or taste. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you will need to rearrange your appointment, stay at home for seven days (or 14 days if a household member has these symptoms) and contact NHS 111 online if you feel worse.
If you have symptoms you can organise to be tested through the NHS testing scheme.
“Do I need to have a COVID-19 test before coming to hospital?”
Patients who are scheduled for non-emergency surgery will be asked to self-isolate for 7 days prior to surgery. We will organise for patients to have a COVID-19 PCR test (to look for signs of current infection) prior to their scheduled surgical date.
You do not need to have a test is you are coming in for a clinic appointment.
Questions about emergencies
“I think I have an urgent eye problem. What should I do?”
Please ring our advice line in the first instance on 020 7566 2345. The helpline is open from 8.30am to 9pm, Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5pm on Saturdays, and is staffed by experienced ophthalmic-trained nurses and specialist optometrists. At busy times, the nurses might not be able to answer your call straight away - please bear with us and call back a little later if this happens. We continue to offer a complete eye emergency service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at our City Road site in central London, with a video option if you are concerned about travelling in. You will be advised whether or not to attend when you speak to our helpline.
“How do I know if I need to be seen as an emergency?”
In general, we recommend getting in touch with our advice line if you have any or all of the following:
- Significantly blurred or altered vision
- Persistent eye pain, particularly if severe and/or worsening
- A worsening red eye
- New flashes of light, floaters and/or the appearance of a curtain across your vision
“How can I get to hospital?”
Please see our coronavirus appointments section for advice on alternatives to public transport, and safer travel by public transport.
“How can I protect myself and other people when attending hospital?”
While you are in waiting areas, please maintain a distance of at least 2 metres from each person and wear the mask provided upon your entry to the hospital at all times. We are currently reducing the number of patients we are seeing so in many cases the time you spend waiting will be minimal. Wash your hands regularly and use the hand sanitiser gel provided in hospitals.