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