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Fast-track treatment for cataract patients

22 April 2013

Health Care

Patients needing cataract surgery can have their operation done within weeks, thanks to a new fast-track service at Orsett Hospital.

Southend University Hospital, which runs ophthalmic services from both sites, introduced its new speedy service at the start of the year in response to a growing demand for cataract removal.

Paula Glenister, pathway manager for the Trust's eye unit, said:

"Cataracts are an almost inevitable part of ageing. More than half of the over-65s have some cataract development in one or both eyes.

"The condition can realty affect their quality of life, so we are delighted to be able to offer this fast-track service."

At present, patients being referred by their GP or optician to other hospitals in south-west Essex can expect to wait up to six months to be seen. But if they opt to go to Orsett Hospital the wait is only five to seven weeks.

Paula said: "We have introduced a separate cataract clinic at Orsett for new patients and have eight dedicated operating lists a week. This means that we can offer patients a date within two to four weeks of their first appointment. We then see them three weeks after surgery to check their progress and if they need surgery on the other eye, they can straight back into the system.

"The surgery has such a huge impact on their lives. They can see clearly again and get back to driving, read more easily and take up other hobbies which they may have had to abandon."

Family doctors have been notified of the new service, but patients can ask to be referred to Orsett if they want their surgery done quickly.