MREH glaucoma patient featured on BBC’s Trust Me, I’m a Doctor
A glaucoma patient at the Manchester Royal Eye Hospital (MREH) recently featured in the latest BBC series Trust Me, I’m a Doctor, following surgery to fit an innovative new medical device.
The popular series, presented by Dr Michael Mosley, followed 62 year-old Pam from Lancashire, as she took part in a clinical trial of the new EyeWatch device to help treat her glaucoma.
I’m very excited to be involved in this ground breaking project. This is the first time we have a fully adjustable drainage device to combat glaucoma.
The tiny device is inserted into the side of the eye, and helps to manage pressure inside the eye caused by a build-up of fluid.
Glaucoma is caused by damage to the eye’s optic nerve from the pressure of fluid building up inside the eye, and can even cause blindness.
EyeWatch is fitted with a valve which drains excess fluid to the back of the eye, where it is safely absorbed. The device can be easily adjusted after surgery using a magnetic pen, to help increase or decrease the pressure to normal levels.
The show was broadcast on Wednesday evening (15 January), and is available to watch on BBC iPlayer (series 9, episode 2).
Speaking after her surgery, Pam said:
“The surgery went well. Staff at the hospital were helpful and professional and did their best to put me at ease.
“I was rather nervous on the day, more about the cameras filming rather than the surgery. But when Michael came in you could tell he was a doctor as he just listened to you, and behaved more like a doctor than a TV personality.
“Leon and his team have been wonderful. He’s always looked after me and has always explained things to me well and tried to come up with a solution.
“I’ve had several procedures previously that while successful, still hadn’t managed to alleviate the pressure inside my eye. This EyeWatch procedure has been pain-free as the follow up treatments with the magnetic pen are non-invasive. I’m really pleased with how things are progressing.”
The trial launched in 2019 and is led by Leon Au, Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon. MREH was the first hospital to trial the device in the UK and has now finished recruitment to the trial. Mr Au said:
“Manchester Royal Eye Hospital is one of the largest specialist ophthalmic teaching hospitals and a leading research centre in the UK.
“I’m very excited to be involved in this ground breaking project. This is the first time we have a fully adjustable drainage device to combat glaucoma.
“Pam’s surgery went well and already we’re seeing a significant reduction in her pressure thanks to the adjustability of the EyeWatch without any complications.
“We’re delighted to be part of this BBC programme and I hope it helps promote awareness of glaucoma; a condition that is still under diagnosed in the UK”
Glaucoma is a common condition, particularly in older people, with around half a million people affected in the UK. It is estimated that as many as half of these could be undiagnosed.
Most patients are treated with daily eye drops. Whilst these are effective at reducing inner eye pressure for most patients, for many they can cause irritation.
Other treatments include laser treatment, or a trabeculectomy, where surgeons create a small hole in the eye wall to help drain fluid and relieve pressure.
The EyeWatch study aims to establish whether eye pressure for patients with glaucoma can be maintained at normal levels, reduce the use of drops, and reduce further complications from surgery.
Patients were eligible for the study if they suffered from primary open angle glaucoma (POAG), pseudo-exfoliative glaucoma (PEXG), or refractory POAG or PEXG and have previously undergone surgery to treat it which had not been successful.
The study finished recruiting in June 2019, with patients due to finish their follow up consultations in June 2020.
Find out more about research across MFT on our research website.