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Putting the eye in variety

The diverse caseload of emergency eye care

12 Oct 2017 by Selina Powell

Variety is part of what keeps many people motivated in their jobs. Finding a different approach to meet new challenges can be part of what makes the working day pass quicker.

While the rewards of a diverse workload can be found in many areas of eye health, emergency eye care is one field where this is particularly evident. Clinicians never really know what will come through the door.

I was lucky enough to attend the British Emergency Eye Care Society’s annual meeting in Birmingham recently. During Dr Will Innes’ presentation, Causes of death in the emergency eye service, he described to delegates how conditions from alcoholism and strokes to syphilis and tuberculosis could manifest in the eye.

Specialist trainee ophthalmologist, Dr Chinedu Igwe, shared with delegates the case of a patient who presented with a discharging left eye and was found to have gonococcal keratoconjunctivitis.

The patient was suffering from 360-degree corneal melt, she added.

"The clock was ticking. We knew we had a very short time to save his eye," Dr Igwe emphasised.

Although not on UK shores, the case of an 11-year-old Canadian boy who presented at hospital with severe vision loss after a diet restricted to Cheerios, potato, pork, lamb, apples and cucumber also illustrates the diverse nature of emergency eye care.

The eye is incredibly intricate and can break down in myriad ways. For this reason, it is important that eye care practitioners can think outside of the box when approaching problems.

This left-field thinking is illustrated in the teaching of University of Manchester lecturer, Andrew Gridley, who created a model slit lamp using a Millennium Falcon Star Wars Lego kit with the help of optometry technician and fellow Lego enthusiast, Stephen Craig.

An innovative approach to teaching the next generation of optometrists saw Mr Gridley shortlisted for the AOP Lecturer of the Year award in 2015.

Shortlisted candidates have been selected for the 2018 AOP Awards and voting is now open – who will you choose? 

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