NURSES at Royal Bolton Hospital are among the first in the country to carry out eye revolutionary injections on patients.
They have been specially trained to do the injections and are among a select group of nurses across Britain to carry out the procedure, which is normally only done by doctors.
The injections are predominantly carried out on patients with age-related macular degeneration and diabetic macular edema, both conditions that cause problems with a person’s central vision.
The work at Royal Bolton Hospital has even garnered attention from nurses in Iceland, who have been to visit to find out how the procedure is carried out.
Ann Haughton, a retinal specialist nurse at the hospital, has carried out more than 2,000 injections on patients.
She said: “When I first started doing these injections, it was quite a feat, given that we are one of the few hospitals in the country where nurses do this.
“Patients often feel very anxious about a procedure like an eye injection, but we put them at ease and it’s a rewarding feeling when they come out of it feeling comfortable.”
Dr Simon Kelly, a consultant ophthalmic surgeon at the hospital, added: “It’s very new, it’s a real novelty.
“This procedure has revolutionised the care of patients with eye conditions — it’s the way forward.
“Our nurses are given thorough medical supervision by staff when they first start carrying out injections, before they start working independently.”
Erlin Oskarsdottir and Dögg Hardardottir, who are both nurses at Landspitali University Hospital in Reykjavík, Iceland, observed nurses carrying out the procedure on patients.
The pair found the experience invaluable and outlined the importance of such procedures in a person’s life.
Ms Oskarsdottir said: “It’s been very interesting. We have got a great view of what the nurses are doing and how they are doing it.
“These injections will have a huge impact on patients, because the population is getting older, which presents a greater opportunity to treat more people.”
Ms Hardardottir added: “For people to be able to stay longer in their homes, to keep their driving license, and many other important things, these injections are vital.
“There are so many people over the world who need these injections and it’s great to see nurses in the UK putting it into practice.”
One of those to receive an eye injection was 90-year-old Frank Smith, of Salford, who has age-related macular degeneration.
Mr Smith said: “The nurses at Royal Bolton are very quick and efficient and they put me at ease.
“As far as I’m concerned, this system is far superior to going to see a doctor and having to wait longer for an injection.
“I can’t praise Royal Bolton enough.”
These injections are designed to stop the deterioration of people’s vision, which can occur through a variety of conditions.
They are carried out using a fine needle and patients are given anaesthetic eye drops prior to the injection in order to reduce the pain.