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Patients Benefit New Sutureless Eye Surgery Technique

22 October 2008

Patients at the Bristol Eye Hospital, run by the University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, are the first in the West Country to benefit from a new sutureless eye surgery technique.

Trialled earlier in the year, around 80 operations for conditions such as retinal detachments, macular holes, diabetic eye disease and uveitis, have now been carried out using the new technique.

Sutureless eye surgery does away with the need for stitches in the eye, considerably reducing patient discomfort, improving post-operative recovery times and reducing the risk of infection. It also reduces the time needed to carry out the procedure by around 20 minutes, allowing surgeons to carry out more operations.

The technique uses much smaller, disposable instruments which can be inserted into the patients eye through a tiny cannula.  When it is removed from the eye, the wound is so small that it seals itself.

Mr Richard Haynes, Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon at the Bristol Eye Hospital, explains: Conventional eye operations leave an average of eight stitches in the patients eye.  This can make them sore and it can take more than four weeks for the stitches to dissolve.  Also, there is more of an infection risk as well as discomfort and inflammation.

Sutureless surgery is a major advance. The wounds left by this technique are so small and heal so quickly that it is difficult to see them with a microscope even the next day.

The new procedure is much less invasive and it is less of a trauma particularly for those patients who are more sensitive such as children, although all patients who go through it will appreciate the more comfortable outcome and the much quicker recovery.