Eye Department (Ophthalmology)

The Department of Ophthalmology is a large multi-disciplinary department providing comprehensive ophthalmology care for the Coventry and Warwickshire, a population of approximately 700,000 people.

The department provides outpatients and surgical services. The outpatient throughput is approximately 80,000 patients per year. Subspecialist eye surgery for more complex conditions is undertaken in Coventry, and day case cataract surgery is undertaken across all sites. The departmental surgical throughput is over 5,000 surgical procedures per annum.

For information on the Eye Emergency Referral Service, click here.
 

The Ophthalmology team of 150 staff comprises Consultants and Associate Specialists, Staff Grades, Specialist Registrars, Senior House Officers and Junior Fellows, Orthoptists, Optometrists, with a dispensing Optician, and dedicated clinical nurses, together with secretarial and administrative support. The ophthalmology department undertakes a comprehensive teaching and training programme that has been praised by the Royal College of Ophthalmologists. Regular departmental meetings are held to discuss issues relating to clinical care, audit, clinical governance and evidence based practice.

The eye unit in Coventry comprises a modern outpatients department, dedicated eye ward and dedicated ophthalmology operating theatres supported by the latest equipment to deliver safe and effective surgery. These theatres are staffed by teams of dedicated, fully trained ophthalmic nurses and are available constantly for eye emergencies.

The department runs an efficient and modern Cataract service in Coventry, Rugby and Nuneaton. The care pathway provides multidisciplinary input in the management of patients with cataracts, and relies on the expertise of numerous professional groups. Waiting times are minimal and referrals are accepted from GPs and directly from Optometrists.

Routine referrals, including named referrals to individual Consultants, should be sent direct to the Booking Centre, 2nd Floor, Clinical Sciences Building.

Cataract patient referrals are pooled and should be referred directly to the Cataract service, not to individual Consultants, and sent direct to the Booking centre as above.

Requirements for urgent consultations/advice should be directed to the staff in the Eye Casualty department.

Any urgent communication for individual consultants should be directed to the relevant medical secretary.

COVID-19 Service Updates

This note is to inform patients that the Low Vision Clinic at University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust is restarting from 3 August, in a phased capacity. The service will initially be offered at University Hospital Coventry, with a view to opening the clinic at Hospital St Cross, Rugby in the coming weeks.

We are constantly monitoring what is happening with the COVID-19 pandemic and appointments may need to be rescheduled. We are making changes to our hospitals and clinics to minimise the risk of spreading the virus.

We want to reassure you that our hospitals are safe and we are working hard to protect patients in our care, visitors and our staff. Our hospital sites look a little different than before. These changes include notices asking you to follow social distancing measures whilst on site, washing your hands regularly and using the available hand sanitisers.

In March we had to pause the Low Vision clinic to allow the Hospital to respond to the pandemic. Since then we have been reviewing every procedure, admission and appointment to see who should come to hospital and when.

Due to social distancing measures and enhanced cleaning requirements, there are less appointments available per clinic compared to before the COVID19 crisis.

We will be contacting our low vision patients over the coming weeks to arrange an appointment. Patients will be given priority in the clinic based on their individual risk and needs. Those not at serious risk will be seen in time order as previously planned.

How will the clinic run?

To ensure your safety due to the ongoing COVID19 crisis, the clinic will operate in a different manner than before. We aim to keep the time you spend in the hospital to a minimum. To help facilitate this we will:

  • Call you in advance to discuss your visual impairment
  • Ask how it affects you and highlight the areas that we aim to address on the day with Low vision aids (LVAs) such as magnifiers and specialist glasses. if this cannot be done over the phone then we will do it face to face on the day.
  • Ask you to you to wear a mask or face covering on the day of your appointment. If you don’t have one you will be provided with one on arrival at the hospital.
  • Ask where possible to come to the appointment alone. Anyone who accompanies you to the appointment will be asked to wait outside the hospital.

On the day of your appointment

After checking in with reception, you will be asked to go to the waiting area for suite 8 (Optometry). All the chairs have been spaced out to meet social distancing rules. The Optometry door will be locked, wait to be called in by the Optometrist.

Our clinic rooms and equipment will have been cleaned before you enter, in keeping with the Hospital infection control guidance. The Optometrist will be wearing PPE, including face mask, face shield or goggles, disposable apron and gloves (these are changed for every patient).

Throughout your time in the Low Vision clinic you will stay in the same room with the same Optometrist. There will be no need for you to come into contact with any other people. If you need to be dilated with eye drops, then you will stay in the same room for the drops to work rather than sit back out in the waiting area.

Once the assessment is completed you can go directly home. A telephone or face to face follow-up review may be arranged to see how you are getting on with the Low vision aids.

For the safety of everyone, please don’t attend your appointment or come to the hospital if you think you might have coronavirus or are showing any COVID-related symptoms or you’ve been in close contact with someone with coronavirus.

In these instances, please call 111 to speak to someone about coronavirus and please call us to rearrange your appointment.

Contact details

For questions regarding LVA equipment or appointments, contact Low Vision Aid on 02476 966516.

For any other low vision issues, contact Eye Clinic Liaison Office (Sue Grewcock) on 07834147178 or sue.grewcock@uhcw.nhs.uk

At present there has been no interruption to the supply of our LVA stock. If ayou have already been issued an LVA from our clinic, no matter how long ago, that is now faulty or broken please call us on 02476 966516. Replacements will be sent out to you at no charge.

If you are concerned about a change or deterioration in your vision please contact the Eye Casualty help desk for advice and guidance on 02476 96 4800. Please do not turn up to the Eye Department without being advised to do so by the Eye Casualty team. 

We look forward to having you back in our clinic.

Adrian Sexton (Low Vision Lead Optometrist)
Sue Grewcock (Eye Clinic Liaison Officer)

Eye Liason Clinic Officer

The Eye Clinic Liaison Officer (ECLO) is based in University Hospital and Hospital of St Cross, Rugby. The role is funded by RNIB (Royal National Institute for Blind People) and partners with the University Hospital to provide a non-medical information service for patients, their families and carers within the eye clinics. The service liaises with other departments within the hospital as well as external agencies and organisations.

The Eye Clinic Liaison service can provide information on the following:

• Eye conditions (non-medical)

• Emotional support services.

• Equipment, lighting and home safety.

• Independent Living support and equipment.

• Services from, and referral to, your local Social Services Department.

• Links to rehabilitation support from qualified rehabilitation officers for the visually impaired.

• Benefits and concessions.

• Employment and education.

• Support groups and social activities.

• Services for children and young people.

• Local and national support agencies.

• Registration as sight impaired or severely sight impaired

• Living with sight loss courses

For referrals either ask a member of the Ophthalmology team or telephone the ECLO directly on:

Mobile: 07834147178 (please leave voicemail)

email@sue.grewcock@uhcw.nhs.uk

 

The Aim of the Low Vision Clinic (LVA Clinic) 

Low vision clinics are held at University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) and at Rugby St Cross. This service exists to support patients and help them adapt to their visual impairment. Our tailored assessments help to discern what every-day tasks patients struggle with and aims to help patients maintain as much independence as possible with the use of low vision aids. These aids can either be glasses, magnifiers or telescopes and we provide these optical aids on extended loan. We can also demonstrate electronic magnifiers, that are not provided under the NHS and give advice on their suitability and availability, as well as offering advice and information on other resources in the community

We see patients of all ages however the majority tend to be elderly. We also run a specialist paediatric clinic for children with visual impairment.

We cover the areas of Coventry, North Warwickshire (including Nuneaton and Bedworth) and Rugby.

It is estimated there will be 9,600 people living with sight loss in Coventry by 2020, 5,800 in North Warwickshire and 3,700 in Rugby (RNIB Sight Loss Data).

Over the past ten years the Low Vision clinic has assessed over 4,800 new referrals and followed up a further 5,200 patients.

You do not have to be registered Blind (Severely Sight Impaired) or Partially Sighted (Sight Impaired) to be assessed in the clinic. Only 20% of our patients would fall into the Blind or Partially Sighted registration groups. The 80% non-registered patients still have sight problems, struggle with day to day tasks and are entitled to an assessment.

 

What Will Happen in a LVA Assessment?

The initial assessment can take up to one hour. The Optometrist (Optician) will first examine your vision using specialist charts that may differ from those used in the Eye Doctor’s clinic or an Optician’s clinic in private practice. They will then check that your spectacle prescription is up to date. However please note, a change of spectacles may not improve your vision due to the nature of your sight loss, the Optometrist will advise you on this accordingly.

Following these tests, they will then try Magnifiers, Telescopes and “Specialist” Low Vision Spectacle, to make the best use of your vision.

All these devices, collectively known as Optical Low Vision Aids (LVAs), will be issued to you by the NHS, at no charge, on a permanent loan basis (i.e. it remains the property of the hospital and should be returned if not in use).

Each LVA will perform differently and so you may be given more than one to cover a variety of tasks. Prior to your initial assessment it would be beneficial to think about specific tasks or hobbies that you have difficulty with due to your eyesight. Bring examples of them along to help us choose the most appropriate LVA.

If you have been referred in directly to the Low Vision clinic by your GP or Social Services you may also need an eye health check, this examination may require dilating drops on the day.  

At the end of the assessment you will be given the appropriate aids and booked a follow up appointment, to see how you are getting on, usually six to eight weeks later with the Low Vision Technician or Optometrist.

 

LVA Team

Adrian Sexton, Low Vision Lead Optometrist
Low Vision Clinic,
Optometry Clinic 9,
University Hospital Coventry and Wariwckshire NHS Trust,
Clifford Bridge Road,
Coventry,
CV2 2DX
Tel: 02476 966516

Helen Beddow, Low Vision Technician

Megan Edmunds, Low Vision Secretary

Sue Grewcock, Eye Clinic Liaison Officer 
 

Referral to the Clinic

If you are currently under the care of an Ophthalmologist (Eye Doctor) at UHCW, George Eliot or Rugby St Cross you can ask your Ophthalmologist to refer you to the LVA clinic.

If you have not been seen or are no longer under the care of an Ophthalmologist, simply contact your GP or Local Optometrist in the community to be referred to the LVA clinic. Referrals should be sent to the attention of Adrian Sexton (Low Vision Lead Optometrist ) at UHCW.

 

Children’s LVA clinics

Dedicated paediatric low vision clinics are currently only held at UHCW. As with the adult clinic, optical LVAs will be trialled and issued where appropriate. The clinic is jointly led by the children’s sensory support teams of both Coventry and Warwickshire. The child’s Qualified Teacher for the Visually Impaired (QTVI) will be present during the assessment, allowing sharing of information leading to the best overall care for the child and their educational needs.

Please note, these clinics are booked by the sensory support teams, not UHCW NHS Trust.

For children educated in Coventry contact:

Sensory Team
Cannon Park Annexe
Bransford Avenue
Coventry
CV4 7PS

Tel: 024 7678 6174
Fax: 02077 163934
Email: sensorysupportservice@coventry.gov.uk
www.coventry.gov.uk/info/62/coventry_send_support_service/683/sensory_team/1

For children educated in Warwickshire Contact:

Sensory Support Team 
Warwickshire Vision Support Service
Exhall Grange Specialist School
Easter Way
Ash Green
Coventry
CV7 9JG

Tel: 024 76364200
Email: fayecommander@warwickshire.gov.uk
www.exhallgrange.co.uk/vision-support-service/

 

Local Contacts

The Eye Clinic Liaison Officer provides non-medical practical and emotional support for people living with a sight condition.  Information and support includes advice about independent living support and equipment, family and carers support, how social services can help with rehabilitation support specifically for visual impairment, benefits and concessions, Employment and Education, local and national support agencies, emotional support in dealing with sight loss, registration for vision loss and more.

Contact: Sue Grewcock Eye Clinic Liaison Officer
Tel: 02476 96 6613  (Monday and Thursday 8am - 4pm)    
Tel: 01788 663004  (Tuesday and Friday 8am - 4pm)
Email: sue.grewcock@uhcw.nhs.uk

Visual and Hearing Impairment Team Coventry City Council
Tel: 02476 833003
Email: vhiteam@coventry.gov.uk
www.coventry.gov.uk/info/78/care_and_support/1752/visual_and_hearing_impairment

Warwickshire Vision Support
5 Charles Court
Budbrooke Rd
Warwick
CV34 5LZ
Tel: 01926 411331
Email: enquiries@warwickshire.vision
www.warwickshire.vision

Coventry Resource Centre for the Blind and Visually Impaired
33 Earlsdon Avenue South
Earlsdon
Coventry
CV5 6DR
Tel: 02476717522
Email: admin@crcb.org.uk
www.coventryblind.org.uk (opens in new window)

Coventry Macular Society
Tel: 02476414076

Coventry Asian Blind Association
Tel: 02476442961

 

National Contacts

NHS UK Blindness and Vision Loss
www.nhs.uk/conditions/vision-loss/#Reading-and-writing

In Touch
Weekly radio programme of news, views and information for people with visual impairment.
Every Tuesday 8.40pm to 9pm or Podcast BBC Radio.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006qxww (opens in new window)


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