We realise many of our patients have questions about covid-19 vaccinations, click here, to read an article which could be helpful
Patient information about COVID 19 vaccines from Uveitis National Study Group and Oxford University/Astra Zeneca Vaccine Clinical Trials Team, January 2021 – click here to find out more. From this page you can find out how to become part of the UK National Patient Uveitis Group and receive regular newsletters.
For patients who have had their appointments redirected to Altrincham Hospital, this link provides information and guidance about travel to the site via public transport, car parking facilities, accessibility and specialist requirements.
Manchester Uveitis Clinic – Service Changes and Keeping Patients Safe
The uveitis service has made significant changes to the way we now see and treat patients to protect you and keep you as safe as we can. We understand that many people with uveitis/inflammatory eye conditions and their families will be very concerned about the coronavirus pandemic.
This is an update on our service and is to provide new information. This follow the information document published by the Uveitis Service in March 2020 that was posted to all patients taking immunosuppression therapy and continues to be available on our trust website (details below). For information regarding immunosuppression and COVID-19 please review this document.
What will happen in the next few months?
We expect to offer more appointments but the way we provide eye care, including management of uveitis and any complications may change and we want to update you on what steps we are taking to provide safe services and what you can expect. We will be working in ways to ensure social distancing and will not be able to deliver clinics in the way we worked before the pandemic. Some appointments will be in a different format.
Consultants are looking at each patient’s records to decide on a type of appointment and follow-up for your ongoing care.
You will continue to be looked after by your usual team, with all your care led by Uveitis Consultant Specialists.
Changes to appointments – new ways of managing patients with uveitis
In order to continue care for our patients and keep you safe and protected we will be offering different types of appointments including:
- Face-to-face visits
- Telephone or video consultation
- Virtual review consultation
What is different in uveitis clinics for face-to-face appointments?
Manchester Royal Eye Hospital has made important changes to outpatient clinics set-up and consultations. Currently, Manchester Uveitis Clinic is seeing nearly all patients who need a face-face review at Altrincham Hospital to be able to offer ongoing care in a different clinical setting. In this hospital we have a number
of large waiting rooms where we can offer maximal social-distancing and minimal interaction with other patients/members of the public. Our clinics have been reduced significantly and appointments are booked to allow safe spacing. We are ensuring 2m or more spacing in the waiting rooms and in the consultation rooms.
The waiting time to see your doctor is significantly reduced. You will now have your vision checked, pressure recorded and any imaging performed before you see the doctor. All staff are taking precautions to keep you safe, including wearing personal protection equipment (PPE) with masks, gloves and aprons, and you will be offered a mask to wear for your protection. Between patients, all rooms are being thoroughly cleaned and staff are changing PPE. The number of staff in the consultation room is kept to an absolute minimum and where possible one member of staff is doing any tests you need to reduce how many people you see during your visit.
We are still running some clinics in MREH main site and similarly our waiting rooms and service has been adjusted as above to offer social distancing and minimal time in the clinic.
Above: Waiting rooms at Altrincham Hospital and Manchester Royal Eye Hospital
Telephone or Video Consultation
We have been telephoning patients or writing to patients with instructions for their care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some patients will continue to be managed using telephone consultations, conducted by senior clinicians in our service, and we will ask you about your condition, medications and general well-being. You may be asked to attend a blood taking appointment or clinic review after this consultation or be booked for a further telephone consultation. It may be possible to do a video-consultation for certain patients and conditions and we would ensure you have the adequate equipment to do this.
We may suggest that we can monitor your condition with you attending for assessment and tests in the hospital, without seeing a doctor (a “virtual” review), and then a senior doctor will contact you by telephone to discuss your condition. The visit in the hospital could involve a questionnaire about symptoms, vision check, photography and scans taken and eye pressure recorded. This would reduce your time in the hospital and number of interactions with staff but allow us to carefully monitor your condition and make further treatment plans with you. The visit will always be followed up with a discussion with a senior doctor in our team including arrangements made for follow-up and medication supply.
Attending the Hospital
Prior to the appointment:
- Continue to take any eye drops or medications (tablets or injections) prescribed by our service.
- Bring a list of your medications and review if you need a further prescription of any medications
- Do not attend the hospital if you or any household members have symptoms of COVID-19 or tested positive within the last 14 days
On-the day of the appointment:
- Please arrive no more than 10 minutes before your appointment.
- Wear a face covering or mask (this can be home made)
- Please only bring a carer or relative if you require assistance. Family or friends should wait outside/in the car for you.
- If you are asked to come to the hospital for examination or a virtual appointment (eye pictures/scans) you may still need dilating drops.
- Staff will keep a greater degree of separation, staying at least 2m away apart from any necessary examination or imaging tests with personal protective equipment in place.
DO NOT come to Manchester Royal Eye Hospital/Altrincham Hospital unless you have a confirmed appointment. If you have any enquiry or concern about eye condition or prescription, please use one of the contact numbers below.
How do I get my medications?
We have organised new ways for medications to be supplied to you. This importantly means that you do not need to wait at the hospital for medications. Your doctor will discuss options with you including asking your GP to supply medications, a scheduled collection from our pharmacy at an off-site pick up location near the main hospital or delivery for vulnerable shielding patients who are not able to pick up medications.
If you normally get your medications from your GP (including immunosuppressant tablets if they will prescribe them) please continue to request your medications from your GP. You may be able to request any eye drops normally supplied by the hospital from your GP to avoid travel to the hospital site. Patients who are using immunosuppressant tablets, or biologic injections, or Iopidine (apraclonidine) 1% eye drops can usually only obtain these from pharmacy at MREH and this will continue to be the situation.
We will organise for your monitoring bloods to be taken and this may be as a blood taking only visit or via your GP to avoid you coming to the hospital. If you need bloods in the hospital this will be done quickly and you will not have a long wait for this service.
If you are due monitoring bloods or have medication queries please contact Gigi Binny, Uveitis Nurse Specialist.
If you have not received a follow-up or communication from our service on your ongoing care
Please contact the administration team and your follow up will be reviewed. If you have been told that you would be sent an appointment but have not received this please contact us as soon as you can.
Please take care and keep safe during this difficult time,
Manchester Uveitis Clinic Team
Miss LR Steeples, Dr A Stylianides, Miss R Chhabra and Professor NP Jones
Gigi Binny, Uveitis Nurse Specialist, is available on 0161 276 6841 and we anticipate your call will be returned within 48hrs (weekdays)
Appointments booking team: 0161 276 5533
Uveitis Secretary numbers: 0161 276 5628, 0161 276 5565 and 0161 701 4838
You can read more about the steps we are taking to protect you at the Manchester Royal Eye Hospital and see pictures of changes we have made, CLICK HERE
About Uveitis Services
Uveitis is a condition that means patients suffer with inflammation inside the eye.
What conditions do we treat?
We look after patients who are suffering with short term uveitis and patients with complex uveitis who will require more specialist care.
New patients with acute uveitis are seen in the Emergency Eye Department at MREH. If their eye inflammation is straightforward and short-lasting, they will not need to attend the uveitis clinic. Twice a week there is a urgent uveitis clinic staffed by the uveitis fellows. Any patient with severe or difficult uveitis seen within the Emergency Eye Department is transferred to the uveitis team who will take over their care.
Uveitis in children
There are also paediatric uveitis clinics, which take place fortnightly. The consultants involved are:
Children with uveitis may also require immunosuppression or biologic treatment, and this treatment can be arranged at the uveitis clinic under the supervision of our paediatric rheumatology consultant colleagues.
What treatments do we offer?
Most episodes of uveitis are fairly short, and straightforward to treat, this is done by ophthalmologists in a patient’s local hospital.
The management of severe uveitis may be complex, may become chronic and often requires the use of oral immunosuppression. The clinic at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital is one of the few units in the UK, and the only unit in the Northwest, which provides expert in-house immunosuppression management for uveitis. Some patients with uveitis require biologic treatment with monoclonal antibodies, and this also can be managed through MUC.
We have a wide network of expert doctors we work with, as uveitis can be part of a multi-system problem. We work with a number of services to make sure all the patients needs are met, this includes; rheumatology, respiratory, gastroenterology and genitourinary medicine.
The diagnosis and management of uveitis relies on high-quality imaging of the interior of the eye. Manchester Royal Eye Hospital is at the forefront of imaging technology and are able to use a number of image taking devices to enable the best care for patients.
Uveitis, when severe or chronic, frequently leads to complications including cataract, glaucoma and retinal problems. The uveitis team and colleagues at the hospital are expert in dealing with these complications, and in carrying out surgery if required.
Who will I see?
There are a number of consultants with expertise in the management of uveitis at the Manchester Royal Eye Hospital.
The clinic has an international reputation for providing high-quality care, this means there are two senior clinical fellows in uveitis on the unit at any one time, training to become experts in the area. The clinic also trains medical retina fellows in the management of uveitis.
The Manchester Uveitis Clinic at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital is well-known both nationally and internationally as a training centre for ophthalmologists who wish to specialist in uveitis and inflammatory disease. At any one time there are two Senior Clinical Fellows in Uveitis and Medical Retina, who each spend one year at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital before being accredited as an expert in this area. These fellowships are recognised for training purposes by the Royal College of Ophthalmologists and are open to international applications.
Posts are advertised at variable intervals on the NHS Jobs website and in the British Medical Journal. Interested doctors are welcome to make informal approaches to discuss training possibilities with any of the MUC consultants.
Uveitis Specialist Nurse
The Manchester Uveitis Clinic team includes a Specialist Nurse, Gigi Binny, who helps deliver uveitis care including management of immunosuppression and biologic treatments. Gigi’s roles include patient education, counselling on treatments and monitoring of treatments.
If you are a patient and need to contact Gigi Binny for advice, support or medication issues please do so via:
Telephone: 0161 413 7746
The uveitis team will get back to you as soon as possible.
- Ms Romi Chhabra - Consultant Ophthalmologist
- Mr Assad Jalil - Consultant Ophthalmologist, Vitreo-retinal Surgeon and Uveitis Specialist
- Professor Nicholas Jones - Consultant Ophthalmologist and Honorary Professor of Ophthalmology, Manchester Academic Health Science Centre, University of Manchester
- Ms Laura Steeples - Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon
- Dr Amira Stylianides - Consultant Medical Ophthalmologist