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Studious behaviour: Shruti Malde, a specialist optometrist at Queen Victoria Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, reflects on the highlights of the hospital's first 'study day' for optometrists.

QUEEN VICTORIA Hospital in West Sussex held its first 'study day' for optometrists at its Corneo Plastic Unit on June 27. It was a memorable day in the unit's remarkable history, which dates back to 1947 when Sir Benjamin Rycroft first began treating Spitfire pilots suffering from facial burns, which compromised their eyelids and ocular surfaces.

Today, the Corneo Plastic Unit and Eye Bank is a specialist referral centre for complex corneal problems and oculoplastics. It is a high profile, technologically advanced department, which delivers high quality care in its sub-specilties and sets standards for care in the UK and internationally.

Topical issues

Lectures were delivered by corneal consultants Damian Lake and Samer Hamada, and oculoplastics consultants Raman Malhotra and Andre Litwin. Topics ranged from clinical examination skills using slit lamp illuminations and techniques to an update on the management of keratoconus, advances on keratoplasty, and news on thyroid eye disease. There were also quiz sessions for both corneal and oculoplastics sessions.

The clinical sessions saw attendees have the opportunity to examine 18 patients with interesting conditions. For example, one patient with Reis Buckler Dystrophy had had a penetrating graft in their right eye over 20 years ago and deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty in the left eye five years ago, with further phototherapeutic keratectomy for recurrence of corneal erosions, as well as LASIK to reduce astigmatism. This eye now has 6/7.5 vision unaided from a figure of 6/24 before treatment. This was a good example of the point made during the lectures that the idea of any treatment is to deal with pathology as well as visual/refractive rehabilitation and there are various ways of addressing refractive problems.

In keratoconus, refractive problems can be addressed with Intacs and phakic intraocular lenses following corneal collagen cross-linking. Other clinical cases on show were Fuchs' endothelial dystrophy, iridocorneal endothelial syndrome and a child suffering from icthyosis who requires intense hourly, ocular lubrication day and night and who also has had a corneal graft in one eye.

Some of the patients had input from both corneal and oculoplastics teams, as the key to successful corneal grafting is a healthy, nurturing anterior segment which is supported by the oculoplastics team.

'Best' study day

The study day, which was sponsored by Allergan, Altacorpharma, AMO, Kestrel, Scope Ophthalmics and Spectrum Thea, was accredited for 10 CET points. A total of 50 optometrists attended from across the UK. The attendees had mixed modes of practice ranging from hospital eye services to multiple and independent practices. The feedback was very positive, with one attendee commenting: "This is the best study day I've ever attended." The key to the positive response was the fact that the day did not just include lectures, but also real patients who had rare conditions or had undergone the latest surgical treatments.

It is hoped that the study day for optometrists will be a regular event, due to the positive response.

* For more information on Queen Victoria Hospital's Corneo Plastic Unit, visit

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Title Annotation:National Health Service
Publication:Optometry Today
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Sep 5, 2014
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