A new clinic in Leeds will give patients suffering from a serious eye condition better access to care and cut waiting times.
The newly-launched wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) service at Seacroft Hospital will lead to a 70 per cent increase in the number of patients seen each week.
It replaces a service previously provided at St James’s Hospital which has struggled to match demand for care that has soared since 2007.
The new service at Seacroft means patients can receive assessment and treatment if required in the same room and on the same day.
The £300,000 unit also has a dedicated waiting area and is co-located with refurbished ophthalmology outpatient facilities including a laser suite and a number of clinic rooms.
Consultant ophthalmologist Martin McKibbin said the new service built on the good work at St James’s.
“We are very proud of the new service and it is really great news for local people with wet AMD and other macular diseases, as we will soon be able to assess significantly more patients every week,” he said. “This is particularly important as the management of these conditions requires regular treatment to ensure the best outcomes.”
Helen Jackman, chief executive of the Macular Disease Society, said the new service was “fantastic”.
“The effects of AMD can impact a person’s independence, as their ability to recognise faces, drive and read can be severely affected,” she said.
“Regular treatment and follow up are vital for those with wet AMD as monthly check ups can ensure any changes of worsening eyesight can be detected early and that patients receive the right treatment at the right time.”
The development follows a collaboration between hospital chiefs in Leeds and drug giant Novartis Pharmaceuticals which provided project management advice and funding for additional equipment.
AMD is the leading cause of blindness in the UK, mainly affecting people aged over 55 including nearly 6,000 in Leeds.