Moorfields quadruples weekly cataract ops in NHS pilot which could lead way clearing coronavirus waiting lists

Moorfields Eye Hospital

Moorfields Eye Hospital - Credit: Archant

Moorfields Eye Hospital is quadrupling the number of cataract operations this week in a drive to clear surgical waiting lists that have built up during the coronavirus lockdown.

The ambitious project, known as the “cataract drive” will be the first of its kind in the UK. Eight operating theatres at the Old Street hospital provide four times the number of cataract procedures that they usually perform in one week - meaning nearly 500 operations might take place.

A cataract is clouding of the lens inside the eye, causing gradual blurring of vision, and surgery is the only available treatment. The operation lasts between 20 to 40 minutes and involves removing the cloudy part of the natural lens of the eye and replacing it with an artificial lens inside the eye.

David Probert, Moorfields’ chief executive said: “This project is the first of its kind and could be an example to rest of the NHS for a new way to clear waiting lists in the wake of Covid-19.

“I am incredibly proud of the adaptability and creativity of staff at Moorfields for innovating and working together in this way to help as many patients as possible.”

Over 90 volunteers from St John Ambulance will help with pre-operative assessments, accompanying and reassuring patients during surgery, and assisting with discharges.