Binocular Indirect Ophthalmoscope

In order to reduce waiting times for patients requiring joint Orthoptic/Optometry appointments, BEH staff are now running additional sessions at the Spire hospital.

This service would not have been possible without the provision of a Binocular Indirect Ophthalmoscope paid for by the Friends.

This grant cost £2,995.

20 April 2021

New Tonometers enable BEH staff to run a glaucoma clinic at Weston General Hospital

Part of the integration of United Hospitals Bristol with Weston Area Trust, which was completed in September 2020, was to expand and develop the ophthalmic service at Weston, which is run by BEH staff.  We paid £10,800 to buy two iCare tonometers (and 4,000 disposable probes) which were urgently needed so that the new glaucoma clinic could get under way.

Tonometers are used to check intra-ocular pressures and have huge advantages for patients and staff over older instruments used for the same purpose.  These tonometers make the experience for patients quicker and more comfortable – they reduce the need to instil anaesthetic drops which invariably sting and often cause distress.  They are accurate and can be used on babies, children and any patient unable to sit at a slit-lamp, even a patient who is lying down.

Importantly, during the current health crisis, a patient can be examined at arm’s length giving increased protection from infection for operators and patients.

We gratefully acknowledge that the supplier, Mainline Instruments Ltd, kindly provided 500 disposable probes free of charge.

We also paid £4,000 for an identical additional tonometer for the Emergency Department in Bristol, who have to examine patients aged from one day old to 100 years.

9 March 2021

Day Care Outpatient Surgery Treatment Chair

We funded a new treatment couch for Emergency Department patients to replace the previous uncomfortable couch which was over 25 years old and not user friendly for patients or staff.

It can be used as a chair or couch with patients being easily, smoothly and comfortably moved into the best position for treatment depending on their particular needs.  It is adjusted electronically for height, backrests, sides, arm and leg rests and even has an emergency foot pedal for immediate CPR positioning.

This grant cost £3,560.

9 March 2021

Motorised Chairs for Intra-Vitreal Injections

The Friends have funded two fully motorised chairs, with footrests, for use with patients receiving intra-vitreal injections in Out-Patient Departments in Weston General Hospital and the South Bristol Community Hospital.  The chairs are:

  • more comfortable for patients and adjustable to give them better support when undergoing this fairly daunting monthly procedure;
  • easy for the staff to manoeuvre & height-adjustable to avoid risk of back injury; and
  • robust enough to cope with high levels of usage and should last significantly longer than similar previous chairs.

We have also funded two more of these Takagi motorised chairs as well as two autodesk workstations for use in the BEH outpatient clinics, ensuring that clinicians can use identical equipment in all eight clinics.

These grants cost £28,255.

23 October 2020, archived 26 July 2021
Katie Lear and Rhys Harrison with new Emergency Department Slit Lamp and Table

New Slit Lamp and Table for Emergency Department

In 2020, we purchased a new slit lamp and table to replace Emergency Department equipment which was over 20 years’ old.

The new slit lamp has superior optics for examining patients’ eyes in more detail.  The wheelchair-friendly table means patients with limited mobility are spared the strain of transferring to another chair.  This saves time and effort and allows staff to examine more patients per day.

Katie Lear (Emergency Department Sister) and Rhys Harrison (Consultant Ophthalmologist and ED Service Lead) are both overjoyed with the new equipment.  Rhys said “I thank the Friends for this most exceptional gift.  The optics are fantastic and it is buttery smooth.  We really do appreciate your kind support.  I now have staff fighting to go in the room with it.  So from all of the Emergency Department team, a big thank you.”

This grant cost £22,980 including the cost of a maintenance contract.

1 September 2020, updated 25 May 2021

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 March 2019, the Friends made a grant of £45,349 for a Confocal Microscope, which is an invaluable tool in the diagnosis of infective conditions of the cornea (keratitis), particularly fungal infections and infection with the single-celled organism called acanthamoeba.  BEH has experienced a marked increase in cases of acanthamoeba keratitis – a very painful and sight-threatening condition which can result in the loss of an eye.

Examination with this microscope enables much more accurate diagnosis.  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.  Fungal and acanthamoeba infections have a characteristic appearance on confocal microscopy and this helps the doctor to know which antibiotic or disinfectant will best control the infection.

Bristol Eye Hospital can now offer a diagnostic service previously unavailable in the south-west.  Patients no longer have to be referred to Moorfields Eye Hospital, saving them a difficult journey to London while in physical distress.  The images are captured in Bristol and the complicated interpretation of the images is an on-going joint project between BEH and Moorfields.

Patients are referred to Bristol from all over the south-west of England and south Wales.

22 March 2019, updated 14 May 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