New equipment set to cut treatment time in half

Clinicians at the Western Eye Hospital will be able to treat patients for an eye disease called keratoconus in less than half an hour, thanks to a new piece of equipment.

New ‘crosslinking’ equipment uses beams of ultraviolet light and drops of vitamin B2 to strengthen the cornea and stop the disease getting worse. With access to more powerful ultraviolet equipment, clinicians will be able to speed up the treatment, reducing the length of the procedure from around 45 minutes to under 20.

The purchase of the machine was made possible thanks to a £17,000 grant from Imperial Health Charity.

“Having this equipment will make a big difference to our service,” said Zena Rodrigues, consultant nurse in ophthalmology.“We will be able to increase the number of patients that we see and reduce the amount of time required for treatment.”

The Western Eye currently performs between 20 and 30 crosslinking procedures a year, but clinicians expect to be able to treat up to 10 a month with the new machine in place.

It is also expected to significantly improve the overall experience for patients, while reducing the number that may otherwise require a more complicated corneal transplant.

There is currently no cure for the disease, but this treatment prevents progression. With more theatre time available, clinicians will also be freed up to carry out other complex procedures.