14 May 2018, UAE: A ‘spoonful of sugar’ proves more effective with young/child patients
• Results from a clinical study suggest a sweet drink solution is an effective way of delivering a coloured dye to the retina to help doctors detect eye diseases.
• The drink could replace painful injections for children.
• The medical study is the first undertaken in the UAE to be published in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association Ophthalmology.
A medical study on diagnosing children undertaken in the UAE by a team of four consultants at Moorfields Eye Hospital Dubai and Moorfields Eye Hospital Abu Dhabi, including Dr Irfan Khan supported by Dr Dk Khurram, Dr Syed Ali and Dr Igor Kozak, has achieved the distinction of becoming the first medical study undertaken entirely in the UAE to be published by the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Ophthalmology. Consultants involved in the study have already begun to share the results with colleagues at international scientific meetings.
The medical study relates to a new procedure developed by Moorfields Eye Hospital Dubai in collaboration with Moorfields Eye Hospital Abu Dhabi, to diagnose retinal problems in children and avoid the use of injections in the vein, which can be painful and frightening for children and worrying for parents.
The new procedure (known as oral fundus fluorescein angiography or oral FFA) involves using a special coloured dye solution mixed into a sweet drink, which is then drunk by the child. An ultra-widefield retinal imaging device then follows the flow of the dye into the eye and reveals the circulation of blood in the retina, which is a sensitive film at the back of the eye and plays a vital role in our vision. Traditionally, the coloured dye would have been injected into the child’s vein, causing discomfort.
The UAE study included 18 children who were imaged at Moorfields Eye Hospital Dubai and Moorfields Eye Hospital Abu Dhabi, using this oral technique and advanced imaging device, with no side effects; and all of the patients have been treated successfully.
Mr. Mohammed Ali Al Shorafa Al Hammadi, CEO and Managing Director of United Eastern Medical Services in Abu Dhabi, the parent partner of Moorfields Eye Hospital Abu Dhabi, emphasized on the importance of this scientific study, which was conducted by the hospital’s physicians in Dubai in collaboration with Moorfields Eye Hospital Abu Dhabi. “The study opened new horizons to reach new techniques when it comes to the diagnosis of paediatric retina disorders, which makes UAE’s healthcare sector an active contributor with international medical and research centres in developing new diagnostic technologies and innovations. Our team were able to achieve this milestone with the support of the Department of Health in Abu Dhabi who has always supported medical research and innovations in the healthcare sector in Abu Dhabi.”
Commenting on the innovation and JAMA Ophthalmology publication, Declan Flanagan, Medical Director at Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said: “Retinal disorders are one of the most common causes of sight loss in children. It’s so important that we get clear images of the back of the eye so we can accurately diagnose conditions to ensure that we offer the most appropriate treatment. The study suggests that drink solution technique is effective and it will hopefully make hospital visits much more pleasant for our young patients as it will reduce the need for painful injections. The publication of the UAE study by JAMA Ophthalmology is a great honour for our Paediatric Ophthalmology team at Moorfields Dubai and Abu Dhabi. It demonstrates innovation and patient-focus healthcare in the UAE.”
Dr. Irfan Khan, Consultant Ophthalmologist with special interest in Paediatric eye conditions, Strabismus, Adult and Paediatric Cataract, Moorfields Eye Hospital Dubai, added: “This study has demonstrated that the oral administration of the coloured dye with the addition of modern imaging works very well. Our team is delighted to have been recognised by JAMA Ophthalmology with the publication of the study. I would like to convey my special acknowledgment to Dr Igor Kozak who has been instrumental in the publication of our study.”
Dr Syed Ali, Consultant Paediatric Ophthalmologist at Moorfields Eye Hospital Abu Dhabi, “Since we started this technique, 30 children were imaged ranging from 4 – 16 years of age. Most of them were diagnosed with retina problems and were treated successfully. UAE is truly an innovative platform that allows physicians and other experts to explore new methodologies, innovations and more, and I am indeed proud to be practicing Paediatric Ophthalmology in UAE and specifically at Moorfields Eye Hospital Abu Dhabi.”
It is a common misperception that children do not have any eye diseases. In fact, they can have all the adult diseases. However, children are unable to explain details about their vision. This can make diagnosis difficult – but diagnosis is central to treating a medical problem.
The Retina is the most sensitive part of the eye and works like a photographic film. Whatever we see is imprinted on the retina and the brain helps us to see and understand those images.
The Moorfields Dubai study was a modification of an existing diagnostic tool in which the team used a state-of-the-art imaging device which gives a wide field image of the
retina. Traditionally, coloured dyes have been used and were injected directly into the vein – an uncomfortable experience for children.
Dr. Irfan Khan, Consultant Ophthalmologist at Moorfields Dubai, introduced the idea of using the dye as an oral solution mixed in a sweet drink. This proved very effective and very easy for the child patients. With the help of Dr. Syed Ali [Consultant Ophthalmologist], Dr. Darakhshanda Khurram [Consultant Ophthalmologist] and Dr. Igor Kozak [Consultant Ophthalmologist] Moorfields has now imaged more than 30 children without any side effects, and all underwent successful treatment.
About Moorfields Eye Hospital Dubai
Moorfields Eye Hospital Dubai (MEHD) is the first overseas branch of Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, the oldest and one of the largest centres for ophthalmic treatment, teaching and research in the world. Located at the Al Razi Medical Complex in Dubai Health Care City, the facility provides day case surgery and outpatient diagnostic and treatment services, for a variety of surgical and non-surgical eye conditions. MEHD will also raise standards for research and teaching in the region. MEHD is owned and managed by the NHS Foundation Trust, and maintains close links with London, to ensure that patients in the GCC receive the best eye care treatment in the world.
About Moorfields Eye Hospital Centre, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Moorfields Eye Hospital Centre in Abu Dhabi is a partnership between Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and United Eastern Medical Services (UEMedical), a leading Healthcare Development & Investment Company in Abu Dhabi. Moorfields Eye Hospital in London was founded over 200 years ago and is the oldest and one of the largest centres for ophthalmic treatment, teaching and research in the world. Moorfields Eye Hospital Centre in Abu Dhabi is the first Moorfields medical facility to be opened with a partner and the second in the UAE, following the opening of Moorfields Eye Hospital Dubai in 2007. Moorfields Eye Hospital Centre in Abu Dhabi provides a comprehensive range of specialist ophthalmological services, including surgical and non-surgical treatments for common and complex eye conditions in children and adults, including strabismus, glaucoma, retina (medical and surgical), oculoplastics (including cosmetic surgery around the eye), corneal and refractive (vision corrective surgery). All treatments are carried out on a day case basis. A team of highly experienced and qualified consultant ophthalmologists, many of whom trained and practiced at Moorfields in London, is based permanently in the UAE to provide treatment and follow up to patients, supported by medical staff and customer services team, with advanced equipment and technology for the diagnosis and treatment of the most complex eye conditions.
For more information, visit www.moorfields.ae/abudhabi