Musgrove leads the way in glaucoma treatment - 20 March 2013

Musgrove leads the way in glaucoma treatment - 20 March 2013

Musgrove Park Hospital has become only the second hospital in the country to carry out new state-of-the-art micro surgery treatment for glaucoma.

The surgery, known as Trabectome, is carried out under local anaesthetic and takes between 10 -15 minutes to perform.

Through a small incision in the eye a tiny amount of affected tissue is removed very precisely by an electrical pulse.

This allows restoration of the eyes natural drainage pathways without any external scarring.

The surgery is only mildly invasive compared with traditional glaucoma surgery and can reduce the need for frequent use of eye drops from which some patients develop side effects.

The first few patients were treated this month by Jonathan Rossiter, making Musgrove Park Hospital only the second hospital in the UK to offer this treatment; even before Moorfields Eye Hospital in London.

The procedure has been widely used in the United States and internationally and now Musgrove Park Hospital has invested in the technology.

Glaucoma is one of the most common causes of blindness in the UK and it becomes more common with age.

The disease, often referred to as “the silent thief” because of the manner in which blindness creeps up on those with the condition, is traditionally treated by eye drops and when uncontrolled, the surgical procedure Trabeculectomy.

But by being able to offer patients this new surgery Musgrove will be able to improve the quality of care, reduce the need for NHS care and treatment and, in the long term, save money for the NHS, which is important given the current financial constraints in the NHS.

Mr Rossiter, Consultant Ophthalmologist and lead consultant for the glaucoma service, explains why this is a step forward in treating glaucoma in the UK.

“The Trabectome procedure can avoid the need for more major surgery, although this will still be necessary for some patients. Any glaucoma patients prescribed eye drops would potentially be eligible for this treatment, although we will initially concentrate on those patients with uncontrolled glaucoma. The procedure often works well when combined with cataract surgery allowing the treatment of the two conditions at the same time.”

“This has a number of benefits for the NHS and patients, including a reduction in drug use, increased efficiency with less surgery time, fewer hospital visits for check-ups and fewer of the more major and expensive operations such as Trabeculectomy.

These benefits will improve the quality of the care patients receive while at the same time reducing the cost of treatment.”