Feb 05th 2013

BMEC staff inspire charitable gifts

As we recognise world glaucoma week (10th-16th March) we want to raise awareness of the group of eye diseases that together make up the second most common cause of blindness, effecting 4.5m people globally to this extent [1].

Staff at City Hospital’s Birmingham and Midland Eye Centre are at the forefront of the fight against the condition in the West Midlands and have successfully treated numerous patients suffering with what has been dubbed “the silent blinding disease” due to its often symptom-free progression. As the second largest eye centre in Europe, BMEC staff deal with a whole variety of ailments ranging from minor complaints to cataracts (the most common cause of blindness) , diabetic related eye conditions and, of course, glaucoma.

Highlighting the importance of specialist eye care, Peter Box from Bloxwich feels he would probably now be blind had it not been for the work done by staff at BMEC.

Commenting on how much his sight had deteriorated; Mr Box said that he “ended up in A&E in 2008, when things became very difficult”. Although glaucoma can be asymptomatic up until noticeable vision loss occurs, it can also be extremely painful and incapacitating when it has fully taken hold. Due to this risk, Mr Box was referred to BMEC where he was initiated on non-invasive, first line glaucoma treatments like tablets and eye drops. After examinations using a device called a tonometer, clinicians unfortunately discovered that the disease had progressed. This finding lead BMEC’s Dr Sung to suggest an operation to alleviate pressure in the eye that is produced by excess levels of a fluid called Aqueous Humor. This elevated intraocular pressure occurs when the fluid is either being produced in excess or not sufficiently drained by the body.

The procedure was carried out by a surgical team and although some irreversible damage to the optical nerve was already present, what Mr Box calls “useful vision” was successfully restored. This enables

Mr Box says he is “extremely grateful and appreciative” of the care he received and instead of receiving presents from friends and family on special occasions he asks for money which is then generously donated towards glaucoma research.

[1] www.who.int/blindness/causes/priorit