HOSPITALS in Dorset have joined a national study looking into the comfort and outcomes for people using an artificial eye.

The Queen Victoria Hospital in West Sussex, which is a specialist centre for reconstructive surgery, oculoplastics and prosthetic rehabilitation, is leading the study. It has partnered with hospitals across the UK, including the Royal Bournemouth Hospital and the Dorset County Hospital, to enable as many patients as possible to be involved in the study.

When somebody loses an eye due to damage or disease, they almost always choose to have an artificial eye rather than wear an eye patch. The artificial eye is carefully made to perfectly match the patient’s existing eye.

However, patients who wear artificial eyes often suffer with dry eye symptoms. Seeing through just one eye also affects depth perception and can make daily activities such as going downstairs or pouring boiling water into a mug tricky.

Queen Victoria Hospital Maxillofacial Prosthetist, Dr Emma Worrell, has over 25 years’ experience within the maxillofacial prosthetics field. She is now leading the national study on the quality of life for patients after eye loss, along with Mr Raman Malhotra, QVH Consultant Ophthalmologist and Oculoplastic Surgeon.

Dr Worrell said: “The most commonly referenced book for adapting to monocular vision was first published in 1972 - now it’s time we find out the needs of artificial eye patients in 2017. In understanding our current population we can better provide for our patients and improve our patients’ experience. This is why we devised this study.

“We as clinicians need to know how life is from our patient’s viewpoint, to enable us to better answer questions, pass on our best evidence based advice, and updating our knowledge through research will help us do this.”

The results of the study will be published and used to update patient information sheets, improve cleaning protocols and develop best practice.

The study is being funded by an Ocular Award from the Institute of Maxillofacial Prosthetists and Technologists. In addition, it is a National Portfolio study and fully supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network.