If you missed Michael Mosley‘s presentation of Trust Me, I’m a Doctor BBC 2 (Wed Jan 15 and repeated Sat Jan 18 5.30pm) you can catch up here https://bbc.co.uk/…/m000dbdm/trust-me-im-a-doctor-series-9-… from about 12 minutes into the programme.
Why are we so interested? It features a procedure, still under a trial, which has the potential to revolutionise the treatment of glaucoma – by taking some of the pain out of the process.
As presenter Dr Mosley puts it: “I do love the fact it has the potential to change so many lives.”
That’s echoed by one of our clients, retired nurse Mrs Bernie Pedley, of south Fylde, who was the very first to trial the procedure, which implants an intricate Swiss mechanism as a ‘tap’ in the eye.
Pioneering consultant ophthalmic surgeon Leon Au of Manchester Royal Eye Hospital was filmed operating on another patient. He’s already known to several of our clients including at least one who’s hoping to have the procedure herself.
Leon specialises in glaucoma, cataract and cornea, and is already known globally for his work and his willingness to give patients the chance of better or at least more stable eye health – and far greater quality of life.
EyeWatch is a sort of a tap with six settings which can be adjusted to an individual’s needs, externally, via a magnet, to reduce or increase the flow of fluid. The magnet is fitted to a pen-sized device held away from the eyeball – which rotates the settings to adjust the pressure. That removes the need for more invasive procedures – and the adjustment itself is painless. Nor is it visible. It’s hidden by the top eyelid.
Mrs Pedley was the very first to try it back in the summer of 2018. The device was implanted – recovery around seven days – and she returned to have her eye pressure checked and adjusted to normal via a magnet to open up the device further.
Mrs Pedley later came to one of our information days and spoke eloquently to others.
The Daily Mail featured the procedure. The link is here if you want to learn more:https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-6056659/ME-OPERATION-tap-eye-stop-glaucoma-patients-losing-sight.html?fbclid=IwAR00XCjRZBRWK7PCeJ0KOi_coxAblfCyvM1rBOi2eLmskaif2HJlQK7R8YM
Glaucoma is the sneak thief of sight which is why we at N-Vision takes pains to stress the need for regular eye tests. We featured advice from our eye clinic liaison officer Linda Sethi and indeed one of our own key workers within the Low Vision Centre Phil Richardson who has glaucoma in an article last year – which also alluded to the pioneering procedure. The link is here: https://www.entirelycharity.com/news/northwest/lancashire/don-39-t-let-the-sneak-thief-of-sight-strike6754
Glaucoma is associated with high pressure caused by a build-up of fluid – which in Mrs Pedley’s case was detected, during an eye test, when she was 58.
She was 73 and a veteran of eye drops, emergency laser surgery to remove the drainage channels and more, and admits she had lost confidence until the pioneering eye surgeon saw her as the perfect candidate for the very first implant on the trial because she had advanced glaucoma and previous surgery had failed.
“I had nothing to lose,” she told the Mail.
It’s still early days for what promises to be a medical marvel, so the technology is far from ‘on tap’ and as Dr Mosley points out in the Trust Me, I’m a Doctor programme trials run for at least another year.
However, the potential benefits for patients with advanced glaucoma, cannot be overstated. It is painless, as Pam, the patient featured on TV, took pains to stress.
“Compared to what I used to have to tolerate before, this is brilliant,” she said.
And as Dr Mosley concluded: “I do love the fact such a simple approach has the potential to change so many lives.”
As do we.