skip to main content

New ophthalmology theatre opens

18 May 2022


Patients requiring surgery for eye conditions such as cataracts, eyelid and glaucoma operations will benefit from the opening of a new operating theatre at the James Paget University Hospital.

The new facility started treating its first patients this week and is the hospital’s second dedicated ophthalmology theatre.

The new theatre, which is clean, white and features large lights and screens. A hand washing area is separated off via a glass screen at the back.

Cataract surgery is the UK’s most common elective operation. Approximately half a million operations are performed each year and demand is set to increase 25% over the next decade as the population ages.

It is estimated that the new theatre will result in more than 1200 additional cataract operations per year at the JPUH, significantly increasing the number currently performed at the hospital, at a time when the NHS locally and nationally is focused on reducing waiting lists generated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

JPUH Head of Ophthalmology Muhammad Raja said: “The opening of the new theatre is great news for both patients and staff. We aim to be one of the best eye units in the country and the new facility features the latest surgical technology.

“The theatre is configured for multi-specialty eyecare delivery including cataract operations, which will improve efficiency and ensure significantly reduced waiting list times, at a time of great need due to COVID related pressures.

 “Having a second theatre also gives us additional flexibility so that we can conduct urgent operations while minimising cancellation of routine patients.

“As a result, we hope to see the start of an on-going reduction in patient waiting times for cataract surgery within the next few months.”

A team of new doctors, ward and theatre staff have been recruited to operate the new facility, which has been constructed within the existing hospital building, using an unused treatment room and office space.

In addition, the latest equipment has been installed in the main ophthalmology theatre, including a Zeiss Artevo 800 digital heads-up 3D 4K ophthalmic operating microscope with integrated OCT and Callisto software. It is the first of its kind to be installed in an East Anglian NHS acute hospital, with only a few in operation nationwide.

The microscope provides a stereoscopic 3D image on a 55” 4K monitor to assist consultants during surgery - and is considered a fantastic resource for training and research for future eye surgeons. It is also considered to be a market leader in helping train students, as they can see the same images and information as a consultant treating a patient.

Creating the theatre cost £1.2 million, with the money coming from a Department of Health and Social Care targeted investment fund specifically to help increase capacity and tackle waiting lists.

The project was overseen by Maria Harrison, Divisional Operations Manager for the division of surgery, women and children’s services, who said;

“It has been a long-held ambition of the ophthalmology team to have a second theatre, which we hope will help us attract more specialists to the region.

 “I’m so proud to have been a part of such a dedicated and proactive project team - and would like to thank all the Executive team for their support throughout.”

The theatre layout was designed by Norwich-based architects LSI Architects, with construction work carried out by Morgan Sindall.

We have created a video showing the new equipment in use. ***Please be aware this video shows graphic images of eye surgery***. If you would like to view this video please click the link;