Specialist hospital leads nationwide survey of prosthetic eyes

The Queen Victoria Hospital in Sussex is leading a new national study looking into comfort and outcomes for people using an artificial eye.

It’s an exciting opportunity for the hospital which is a specialist centre for reconstructive surgery, oculoplastics and prosthetic rehabilitation. And it’s partnered with hospitals across the UK including the Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust to enable as many patients as possible to be involved in the study.

When somebody loses an eye due to damage or disease, they almost always choose to have an artificial eye rather than wear an eye patch. The artificial eye is carefully made to perfectly match the patient’s existing eye.

However, patients who wear artificial eyes often suffer with dry eye symptoms. Seeing through just one eye also affects depth perception and can make daily activities such as going down stairs or pouring boiling water into a mug tricky.

Queen Victoria Hospital Maxillofacial Prosthetist, Dr Emma Worrell, has over 25 years’ experience within the maxillofacial prosthetics field and alongside her clinical work has a keen interest in research. She is now leading this national study on the quality of life for patients after eye loss along with Mr Raman Malhotra, QVH Consultant Ophthalmologist and Oculoplastic Surgeon.

Dr Emma Worrell said: “The most commonly referenced book for adapting to monocular vision was first published in 1972, now it’s time we find out the needs of artificial eye patients in 2017. In understanding our current population we can better provide for our patients, improve our patients’ experience. This is why we devised this study.

“We as clinicians need to know how life is from our patient’s viewpoint, to enable us to better answer questions, pass on our best evidence based advice and updating our knowledge through research will help us do this.”

The team at Queen Victoria Hospital treat around 200 patients a year who have an ocular prosthesis and by involving other NHS centres they hope to get information from at least 500 patients. Currently there are 26 recruiting sites nationwide from Middlesborough to Plymouth and from Shrewsbury to Norwich. The results of the study will be published and used to update patient information sheets, improve cleaning protocols and develop best practice.

The study is being funded by an Ocular Award from the Institute of Maxillofacial Prosthetists and Technologists. In addition, it is a National Portfolio study and fully supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network.

 

Pictured: A prosthetist at Queen Victoria Hospital making a bespoke artificial eye for one of its patients. Also, a map of the 26 hospitals working with Queen Victoria Hospital to recruit patients for this exciting national study.