Leading hospitals join forces to deliver vital sight-saving care

Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust have joined forces to help deliver urgent, sight saving treatment to patients across London.

As part of a new collaboration, surgeons from King’s College Hospital have been able to treat 15 of their patients at risk of losing their sight at facilities provided by Moorfields Eye Hospital at their Duke Elder Eye Unit based at St George’s Hospital in south London. Three of these patients had vireo-retinal conditions and 11 were treated for glaucoma, all of these patients benefitted from being able to have surgery sooner as a result of the collaboration.

The vital arrangement was put in place during the latest wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, as hospital admissions began to increase. This collaboration has enabled King’s to successfully complete multiple glaucoma and emergency vitreoretinal operations they would otherwise have had to defer.

Avi Kulkarni, consultant ophthalmologist at King’s College Hospital, explains “We were faced with the prospect of these patients possibly losing their vision irreversibly. Moorfields were incredibly supportive and understanding, and rapidly arranged for several theatre lists at St. George's Hospital. We undertook the first operations within two weeks of the initial discussions between King's and Moorfields. This is an amazing logistical achievement with the obstacles caused by the Covid pandemic, and a testament to the hard work and collaboration of colleagues between the two hospitals.

“Thank you to the Moorfields team. You have been magnificent and have made us feel so welcome. Our patients were nervous about coming but were quickly put at ease and felt comfortable during their surgery.”

One of the patients who benefitted from the partnership is Brian Tillett, 83. Brian was diagnosed with glaucoma several years ago, and noticed his condition was deteriorating. He said: “Despite taking three prescriptions to relieve the pressure in my eyes, I noticed my vision in my left eye was getting worse.

“I was worried about what would happen to my treatment as a result of the pandemic, but I found out I was going to be treated through Moorfields, in St George’s Hospital. I was so relieved. The operation successfully relieved the pressure and my peripheral vision is improving and I’m looking forward to being able to go back to the things I enjoy, like going to the gym five days a week.”

Louisa Wickham, Moorfields medical director, added:  “Throughout the pandemic we have continued to offer specialist urgent and emergency eye care and support to our NHS partners to save patients’ sight. We hope that this collaboration will mark the start of closer working with London hospitals in shaping services for the benefit of all patients."

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