How a patient’s eyesight was saved by London hospital

As National Eye Health Week starts on September 19 experts at St John & St Elizabeth Hospital in North West London share the story of a patient whose eyesight was saved and explain why not waiting for treatment is so important.

How quick treatment can save your vision
How quick treatment can save your vision

When a patient suffered retinal detachment, he was told it was one of the worst possible types and he would be unlikely to recover his eyesight. As people with less severe cases of retinal detachment are more likely to recover their vision after surgery, he was de-prioritised and put on a waiting list.

The longer you wait with a retinal detachment, the lower your chances of regaining your vision, so the patient knew that he had to act soon. After a bad experience with the NHS, he tried several private hospitals and consultants, but none were able to fit him in. Then he came across Mr Ho, a consultant ophthalmologist and vitreoretinal surgeon who practices at St John & St Elizabeth Hospital.

Mr Ho booked the patient in for surgery that very night and operated on him at 1am. The hospital ensured that theatre space with an expert team was available so that surgery could go ahead without delay.

"Experiencing my vision coming back was something incredibly astonishing"

Early the next day, the patient went home and over the following weeks, his vision returned. Gradually, he regained the sight he had lost in his left eye, with it recovering almost to its previous level.

The patient said, “Another hospital had told me I was unlikely to recover my vision but Mr Ho prioritised me and performed the surgery. Experiencing my vision coming back was something incredibly astonishing.”

What are the symptoms?

A detached retina is when the thin layer at the back of your eye (retina) pulls away from its original position. It needs to be treated quickly to stop it permanently affecting your sight.

Symptoms include:

- Dots or lines (floaters) that suddenly appear in your vision or suddenly increase in number;

- Flashes of light in your vision;

- A dark curtain-like shadow that descends across your vision;

- Suddenly blurry or blind in one eye.

The operation is usually carried out under local anaesthetic, which means a patient is awake though their eye is numbed. Most people can go home the same day and the usual recovery time takes from two to six weeks.

As Mr Ho explains, “Patients must not be afraid to seek treatment. We are here to help sort these problems out. The sooner problems are addressed the better the outcome.”

Worried about your eye health?

The Eye Clinic at St John & St Elizabeth Hospital in London offers modern treatment techniques and state-of-the-art diagnostics for all eye conditions and complaints, from routine to urgent. It has been specially designed to provide the best care and treatment for eye problems, all under one roof.

It uses newly built theatres, which are part of a £35 million new wing that represents the single largest investment made during the private hospital’s illustrious history. The multidisciplinary team has access to state-of-the-art equipment, and patients are cared for by a dedicated and friendly team in comfortable surroundings.

Most eye surgery is performed as a day-case so you can be treated and go home the same day.

Get in touch

For information about treatment options, simply make an online enquiry here or call 020 7078 3848.

The appointments team will find you the earliest appointment possible with the best specialist for your needs. If you are funding your own treatment, you don’t need a referral from your GP for a consultation. Simply refer yourself and book an appointment. The hospital also accepts all major health insurers, including Bupa, Axa Health and Aviva. Make sure to get authorisation from your insurer before going ahead with any treatment.

St John & St Elizabeth Hospital is based at 60 Grove End Road, St John’s Wood, London, NW8 9NH.