Age-related sight-loss condition in spotlight

Dr Trevor Lunn, right, with consultant ophthalmologist James Talks.
Dr Trevor Lunn, right, with consultant ophthalmologist James Talks.

A retired GP from Morpeth has been helping to raise awareness of the treatments available for age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

And Dr Trevor Lunn was full of praise for the service provided by Newcastle Hospitals at a clinic in Manor Walks, Cramlington.

The information highlighted during Macular Awareness week included the statistic that AMD affects more than 600,000 people in the UK.

It can reduce central vision such that recognising faces and reading are harder – but peripheral vision is not lost, so patients do not lose their sight altogether.

Dr Lunn’s mother had AMD and so he had always known that he was at greater risk of developing the condition than most people.

He said: “Quite some time ago, some deposits were discovered on the back of one of my eyes during an optician’s appointment.

“Then one day I was driving home from Newcastle and I thought I had a bit of dirt on my glasses.

“I actually had a large blood clot at the back of one of my eyes and further tests showed I had AMD.”

This was about 10 years ago and Dr Lunn started treatment for wet AMD at the RVI in Newcastle.

He subsequently moved his care to Cramlington when Newcastle Hospitals opened its healthcare and diagnostic centre at Manor Walks.

He has been going to this facility for around two-and-a-half years.

Dr Lunn added: “At first I said I was quite happy to continue to travel to Newcastle, but when I heard that my consultant ophthalmologist, James Talks, held a clinic in Cramlington on a Friday, I decided to give it a go and I have to say it’s extremely efficient.

“The Newcastle Eye Clinic at the RVI is fantastic, but as I was travelling from Northumberland the whole visit could take the best part of a day.

“In Cramlington, we can be in and out in about an hour, which means I can fit in a round of golf at some point during the day as well.

“The centre itself is designed to make the patient’s visit as smooth as possible. You are booked in, have your monitoring tests done and photos taken, then after a short wait you see the ophthalmologist and have treatment if you need it, there and then.

“The main aspect of this is because the consultant can see the results of the tests immediately on their computer.”

Anyone who develops problems with their vision is urged to get an eye check with an optician, who can refer a patient urgently to the Newcastle Hospitals team if they are concerned about wet AMD.