External Disease and Cornea

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, it is likely that your clinic appointment/planned surgery has been deferred. We are doing this to minimise the number of people having to travel to a clinic, as well as ensuring we are using NHS staff and resources wisely. We have produced some frequently asked questions and answers to help you at this time.

Corneal transplants/grafts

Does having a corneal transplant increase my risk of getting COVID-19?

No. A corneal transplant is not a solid organ transplant. In addition, steroid eye drops are not considered an immunosuppressive medication, and you are therefore not at a higher risk than the average person of your age. A small number of patients may already be on immunosuppressive tablets (e.g. mycophenolate, tacrolimus), if you fall into this category you will have been contacted separately by us with further advice.

I have a corneal transplant, what should I do with my drops?

You should continue using all of your drops as prescribed since your last hospital visit. If your graft was performed recently and you are using drops three times per day or more, we will contact you with advice.

I have a corneal transplant and I was supposed to have my sutures removed. What should I do?

Nothing. Removal of sutures can be postponed.

I have a corneal transplant and I think I have a loose suture. What should do?

If your suture(s) become(s) loose, your eye will become red and irritated. You should attend the Moorfields Accident and Emergency department if this is the case.

I have a corneal transplant, when should I attend A+E?

You should come to Accident and Emergency if your eye is red and/or painful, or if you think your vision has remained decreased for 24 hours or more.

My corneal graft surgery has been postponed, should I worry?

No. Corneal grafts are an elective (i.e. non-urgent) procedure for surgically reversible vision loss. All non-urgent surgery is being postponed according to new guidance from Public Health England (PHE) and the Royal College of Ophthalmologists. We will contact you in the future to reschedule your surgery.

Herpes simplex keratitis (HSK) / cold sore virus corneal infection

I suffer from herpes corneal infections, what should I do with my drops and/or tablets?

You should continue using all of your drops and/or tablets as prescribed since your last hospital visit. If you are using steroid drops three times per day or more, we will contact you with advice. 

What should I do if I think I have a recurrence?

You can call our nurse-led telephone helpline on 020 7566 2345 for advice. If it is felt to be appropriate, we might be able to give you advice regarding your drops over the phone to prevent you from traveling to see us.

I have a herpes corneal infection, when should I attend Accident and Emergency?

You should come to Accident and Emergency if your eye remains red and/or painful after following any advice given, or if you think your vision has remained decreased for 24 hours or more.

Allergic eye disease

I have allergic conjunctivitis, what should I do if my eyes are more red/itchy?

You should try over the counter antihistamines as a first line, such as Opticrom (sodium cromoglicate drops). Oral antihistamines can be helpful if you suffer with hay fever symptoms as well; sneezing, itchiness and a blocked or runny nose. A cold compress over closed eyelids can be soothing along with lubricant eye drops kept in the fridge. If the above fail, try prescription-only anti-allergy eye drops such as Opatanol twice per day which your GP can prescribe for you. Please try to avoid attending Moorfields Accident and Emergency if possible unless your vision is affected.

I have allergic conjunctivitis and my appointment has been postponed?

Most allergic conjunctivitis is not serious and rarely sight threatening. You should continue using all of your drops as prescribed since your last hospital visit. You should avoid attending Moorfields Accident and Emergency unless your vision is affected.

Recurrent corneal erosions

I suffer from recurrent corneal erosions, what do I do if I have another recurrence?

You should use your lubricants in the daytime as much as possible, as well your night-time ointment/gel regularly. We understand that a flare up can be very painful, but this often improves after a few days. It does not lead to blindness. Please try to avoid attending Moorfields Accident and Emergency if possible, but you can contact us for advice on our nurse-led telephone helpline 020 7566 2345 if things are not improving after doing the above.

I have recurrent erosions and my laser has been postponed, should I worry?

No. You should continue using lubricating eye drops/ointment as above in the meantime. We appreciate that this is frustrating, but this is in accordance with guidance from Public Health England (PHE) and the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, which states that all non-urgent laser procedures should be postponed. We will contact you in the future to reschedule your laser. 

Blepharitis, Dry eyes and Pterygiums

I have blepharitis/dry eyes/pterygium, what should I do if my eye is sore?

You should use your lubricants in the daytime as much as possible as well asyour night-time ointment/gel regularly. It is safe to use lubricant drops every hour if required to improve your symptoms. You should also perform hot compresses and massage, see here for more detailed advice.

I have blepharitis/dry eyes/pterygium, when should I attend A+E?

Do not come to Moorfields or general Accident and Emergency. These conditions do not lead to blindness and do not need to be seen as an emergency. Please self-medicate as above.

Boston keratoprosthesis (KPro)

I have a KPro, what should I do with my drops?

You should continue using all of your drops as prescribed since your last hospital visit.

How can I obtain more eye drops?

This depends upon whether you obtain your eye drops from the Moorfields pharmacy or Healthcare at Home, in either case, contact Moorfields Pharmacy on 0207 566 2360.

I am a Healthcare at Home (HAH) patient and I have received less bottles in my most recent delivery. Why is this?

In recent months there has been a shortage in supply of vancomycin 1.4% eye drops, which meant stock had to be shared equally amongst patients. This may simply mean more frequent deliveries and should not result in interruptions to your treatment.

I am a healthcare at home (HAH) patient and cannot get through to them on the phone to discuss my medication. Can you help?

If you are struggling to get through to HAH, please call Moorfields Pharmacy on 0207 566 2360 with your query and we will try to resolve it with HAH for you.

I normally have my bandage contact lens replaced regularly, how often should I have this replaced now?

We will continue to replace your lens at its regular interval where possible because you are considered to be in the high-risk category for vision loss. If you have concerns regarding traveling into hospital due to other health issues please contact us on our nurse-led telephone helpline on 020 7566 2345.

I have a KPro, when should I attend A+E?

You should come to Accident and Emergency if your eye is red and/or painful, or if you think your vision has remained decreased for 24 hours or more.

Scarring conjunctivitis (Stevens-Johnson Syndrome/Mucous Membrane Pemphigoid/Severe rosacea/Atopic keratoconjunctivitis)

I have a scarring conjunctivitis (Stevens-Johnson Syndrome/Mucous Membrane Pemphigoid/Severe rosacea/atopic keratoconjunctivitis) and my eye is red, what should I do?

You should contact us on our nurse-led telephone helpline on 020 7566 2345 for advice if your eye(s) is/are persistently red and/or your vision deteriorates. Your notes will be reviewed, and we will give you advice as to whether you need to attend the hospital.

Other FAQs

I wear contact lenses and my eye is sore/red/painful, what should I do?

If your eye is red, painful and your vision is affected, stop wearing your contact lenses and attend Moorfields Accident and Emergency, preferably between 9am -5pm.

I have run out of my regular eye drops, what should I do?

Please contact your GP to obtain more drops. If you have tried this and you have been unable to obtain a supply from your GP, please contact our pharmacy department on 0207 566 2361.

My corneal/external diseases clinic appointment has been cancelled, what should I do?

A doctor has reviewed your medical record and has decided that your appointment was not for imminent sight-saving treatment. We understand this may be concerning, but this is in accordance with Public Health England (PHE) and Royal College of Ophthalmologists guidance. We will contact you in the future to reschedule your appointment. Where appropriate, telephone reviews are being conducted.

I am on immunosuppressive medications for my eye condition, what should I do?

You should continue taking your regular immunosuppression medications. You should also take extra precautions (shielding or social distancing) because you may be at increased risk if you contract COVID-19. You can find more information on the Public Health England website here or the British Society of Rheumatology here. We have sent a letter to all patients who fall into this category with more detailed advice.

If you are on immunosuppressive medication AND develop symptoms of possible COVID-19:

For patients taking steroid tablets: please contact us on meh-tr.immuno@nhs.net (preferred) or 020 7521 4691 for advice regarding your steroid tablets. Do not stop your steroid tablets without speaking to us first. You should also call NHS 111 for advice.

For patients not taking steroid tablets: please stop your immunosuppression tablets, and call NHS 111 for advice. Please also inform us that you have stopped your tablets, on meh-tr.immuno@nhs.net (preferred) or 020 7521 4691.

If you are running out of medication, please contact us on meh-tr.immuno@nhs.net (preferred) or 020 7521 4691. Our pharmacy will be able to advise you on how to obtain further medication supplies.

I am on immunosuppressive medication and my appointment has been cancelled, what should I do?

Our doctors will be reviewing the records of all our patients on immunosuppressive medication(s). If your eye condition is stable, we will not ask you to come to hospital for review, but we will ring you for a telephone consult. If you have active/unstable disease, we will arrange for you to attend an appointment, with special measures put in place to minimise your risk of exposure.

Last updated: 27th March 2020