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Body Talk - 6th July 2010

Tonight's guest was Mr Charles Claoue, one of the consultant eye surgeons at Spire Hartswood Hospital. Mr Claoue specialises in refractive surgery to correct sight abnormalities.

There is a difference between being an opthalmic surgeon and an optician or optometrist. An opthalmic surgeon has to be medically qualified, an optometrist doesn't but can prescribe spectacles and screens for common eye disease like cataract and glaucoma. A dispensing optician makes the spectacles and sells them to you.

Most of us have heard of laser treatment to correct short sight, but there is now a treatment available for long sight. It is called PRELEX, and it is an operation done under local anaesthetic with virtually no pain and generally people are delighted with the result. The natural lens of the eye is replaced a prosthetic lens which allows you to see both in the distance and close to. It is a one off operation which lasts a lifetime. The extra bonus is that you can't get cataracts because the surgery removes the original lens of the eye.

Macular degeneration is also very common. At least half a million people in the UK suffer from it. In the early stages some nutritional supplements have proven to be beneficial. In the acute stage, injections can stabilise and in some cases improve vision. Patients can now also be helped with intraocular lens surgery.

Mr Claoue also explained that corneal transplants are now becoming very common. He currently performs about  20 per year, and it is very rewarding to be able to help people who have very serious eye disease. However there is a national shortage of donors, not just for corneas, but for all organs. Think about donating your organs, consider joining the Organ Donation Register, you can find details on line or in most doctors surgeries.

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