Moorfields Eye Hospital’s redesigned keratoconus service has reached a landmark with its 1000th corneal cross-linking treatment (CXL).
The condition, a significant cause of visual loss, affects up to 1 in 450 young people and produces a progressive cone-like bulge of the cornea that causes poor vision. It is the second commonest indication for corneal transplantation in the UK.
Moorfields’ 1000th CXL treatment was performed on biomedical student Gyan Sooriyakhantha. He discovered his sight was in danger on a routine visit to his local optician to get contact lenses.
“I knew I had some problems in my left eye,” said Gyan “some blurring of vision but it was a shock when the optician said it could be keratoconus. They told me they would contact my GP about a referral to Moorfields Eye Hospital. I was really worried when I went home and googling the condition made things much worse. It was scary.“
Gyan was referred to Moorfields Eye Centre at Northwick Park where keratoconus was diagnosed; Gyan was then treated in the Saturday CXL clinic at our City Road hospital in March.
Moorfields is the first London trust to offer NHS patients CXL, the first proven treatment to halt disease progression in keratoconus. It began the service in October 2012. Following high patient demand the trust quickly identified it needed to rethink its service provision to treat the volume of patients.
Led by Bruce Allan, consultant ophthalmologist, and Dan Gore, corneal research fellow, the solution devised was a new integrated, multidisciplinary pathway which improves access for patients and delivers significant value in terms of high quality outcomes and reduced costs. The pathway includes an optometrist-delivered keratoconus clinic, pooled CXL operating lists and the establishment of the UK’s first nurse-led CXL service under the direction of Sister Melanie Mason.
Congratulating Moorfields on its 1000th treatment Anne Klepacz, trustee of the UK Keratoconus Group, said: "We congratulate Moorfields on this achievement. CXL is a sight-saving treatment for young people with keratoconus, which sadly is only available on the NHS at very few hospitals in the UK. The service which has been set up at Moorfields is therefore invaluable.”
The aim of CXL is to prevent further loss of vision and Moorfields patient Gyan, who was in danger of losing his sight, is delighted with the result to date.
“The two guys who looked after me were exceptional. I was so nervous I was shaking," he said.“They were so good at making me feel relaxed. All the medical staff have been unbelievable. There are more appointments in six and 12 months when they’ll know if it’s been successful but at the moment it’s good. It’s strange, I did get my contact lenses in the end but not in the way I imagined!“
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