For the first time Lincolnshire’s hospitals are offering an innovative new treatment to improve the sight of people with damaged eyes which means they can be treated in the county.
This corneal transplant is performed on patients with eye conditions such as corneal endothelial dystrophy, which affects the innermost layer of the cornea (clear outer layer at the front of the eyeball). This can cause the cornea to become cloudy and blurred, cause pain or discomfort and lead to poor vision.
The first corneal endothelial transplant was performed in the county this year on 52 year old Janet Brumpton from Market Rasen. This involved the damaged inner layer of her cornea being replaced and within one week her vision had drastically improved.
Speaking of her treatment Janet said: “I was diagnosed with corneal endothelial dystrophy in both eyes, but my right eye was a lot worse. I was virtually blind, I couldn’t see out of my right eye at all and my vision was very misty.
“I was referred to Lincoln County Hospital in October 2015 by my optician and had a cataract operation under local anaesthetic in January this year. Following this I was fortunate to have the first ever procedure in the county to replace my inner corneal layer under general anaesthetic and was able to go home the same day.
“The operation was a fantastic success. My vision has improved 100%. I feel like I’ve got my life back and it’s allowed me to regain my independence again. Mr Khan is lovely and the care I received from the ophthalmology department was first class.”
Corneal endothelial transplantation involves no stitches as the corneal transplant is attached and held in place using an air bubble, which naturally attaches itself to the deep layer of the cornea a few days later.
This leads to quick visual rehabilitation and no need for contact lenses or further surgeries to correct the distorted surface of the cornea.
Previously patients had to travel to Nottingham to have this procedure at considerable cost to the Trust, however the new service is hoping to treat between two and three patients a month from across the county.
Dr Mohammad I Khan, Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon for United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “I’m really pleased to be able to offer this treatment to our patients in Lincolnshire.
“Previously the procedure would involve the whole cornea being removed and replaced with another. This treatment would involve the patient having 16 stitches to secure the transplant and it would take the patient between 12-18 months to regain useful vision.
“The procedure would leave the patient with a permanently weaker eye and could lead to distorted vision, requiring the patients to wear contact lenses. There were also other potential associated risks, such as stitches coming loose or infections from stitches.
“These patients can now have this operation closer to home and are benefitting from the latest treatment and technology to help restore their sight.”