Arts group provides face visors and masks to Bristol Eye Hospital

In April 2020, Jo Symmons organised her arty friends (and friends of friends) to make and supply 3,000 protective face visors and masks free of charge to local care homes, charities, hospices and hospitals.

Bristol Eye Hospital were delighted to receive 100 of these and informed us so we could add our very grateful thanks to Jo.  We paid for the full cost of the materials used to make the visors supplied to the hospital.

1 June 2020

‘Grab-bag’ for Bristol Eye Hospital emergency team

In February 2020, we paid £10,472 for a ‘grab-bag’ containing all the equipment the on-call BEH Emergency Department team needs to take when they examine patients in other Bristol hospitals.  This avoids having to move frail or poorly patients who need an eye examination.

The ‘kit’ comprises a portable slit lamp, an indirect ophthalmoscope, a practitioner ophthalmoscope and a tonometer (for measuring pressure within the eye).

Although other hospitals’ Emergency Departments have access to slit lamps, these require the patient to be moved to sit up at the slit lamp table.  The portable slit lamp and its associated equipment can be taken to the patient and manoeuvred easily into the right position.

Ophthalmology technology has evolved to support quicker and more thorough review, diagnosis and treatment of eye conditions in less invasive ways than previously.  This is particularly important when dealing with children or the elderly and so this ‘grab-bag’ and its contents are a boon to patients and staff.

11 March 2020

iPads for Immunosuppression Support Nurses

Three iPads for nurses who counsel and screen patients prior to immunosuppression therapy care, including patients with ocular inflammation in the uveitis, corneal and adnexal services. By allowing nurses to access each patient’s details (including, for example, ordering blood tests and checking results, pharmaceutical records, appointments and medical evidence regarding treatment regimens etc) from anywhere in the hospital, the iPads greatly enhance the quality of care provided, improve efficiency and allow nurses to spend more time with each patient.

11 March 2020
The retinal camera

Sight-saving help for premature babies

Friends of Bristol Eye Hospital and Above & Beyond joined forces to provide a portable retinal camera for paediatric ophthalmologists who need to examine babies in St Michael’s Hospital and the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit of the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children as well as in the Eye Hospital.

The state-of-the-art Forus Neo retinal camera has a specially designed wide-angled lens that gives a close-up view of the blood vessels at the back of a baby’s eyes.

It is used for diagnosing a condition that affects more than half of all premature babies. If found in time this can be treated, but if not they will have detached retinas and be blind. The survival rate for premature babies has improved significantly over recent years, which means the hospital is seeing more babies with severe problems.

The camera is also used to examine babies whose condition might be the result of being shaken, so it is vitally important to have reliable images upon which to base a diagnosis which may be given as evidence in court.

It supersedes two cameras also funded by the Friends. Consultant Ophthalmologist Cathy Williams said “The old Retcam was itself a game-changer but it weighs a ton, is very difficult to manoeuvre and impossible to move from one hospital to another. The Forus Neo is so easy to take around to all three hospitals where we need it, so instead of needing three machines, this one machine can do the lot. It gives very good quality pictures, at least as good as the Retcam, and it’s even better than expected because it’s so much quicker and easier to use when actually on the ward; easier for the babies, easier for us. I could not be more pleased and grateful.”

The Friends granted £20,825 (one third of cost) with Above & Beyond paying the balance.

16 July 2019, revised 7 August 2020

Confocal microscope

In 2019, we made a grant of £45,349 to purchase and maintain a confocal microscope. This advanced microscope is used to diagnose microbial keratitis, of which acanthamoeba keratitis is one, and other conditions affecting the cornea. These conditions are devastating, painful and sight-threatening and can result in the loss of the eye.

The microscope makes contact with the patient’s eye (in the same way as a contact lens), so a local anaesthetic is used, but the patient must be awake during the examination. The patient sits in a chair as for a slit-lamp examination and the doctor can see the layers of the cornea right down to a cellular level.

Examination with this microscope can avoid the unpleasant invasive procedure of “scrapes” and enables much better diagnosis. Patients will be referred from all over the south-west of England and Wales for this procedure.

22 March 2019, updated 26 March 2021

New mural on Level 3

Since January 2019, visitors to Gloucester Ward have been welcomed by a large and colourful mural – commissioned by the hospital’s management, designed and painted by local artist Amy Hutchings and paid for by the Friends.

Amy was asked to create a colourful, vibrant and positive image illustrating Bristol Eye Hospital as central to eye health in the city. It also had to be robust and easily cleaned to conform to modern hospital health and safety standards. Amy’s design includes BEH in a skyline with green space, sky and water and uses primary colours more visible to the partially sighted and appealing to all ages.

Consultant Denize Atan commented “Hospitals are designed and decorated to meet pragmatic demands on space within a limited budget. Few hospitals have budgets to make spaces appealing, yet studies have shown that exposure to ‘greenness’ and natural environments may improve surgical outcomes. So we are excited to work with Amy to improve the hospital environment by decorating indoor spaces with outdoor scenes.”

The Friends were delighted to fund this project and we’re sure you’ll agree that it creates a much brighter and welcoming environment.

Other examples of Amy Hutchings’ work can be found on her website.

26 February 2019, amended 9 May 2019