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North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust - 70 years of the NHS


Home > News > Innovative treament for cataract patients in the spotlight

Innovative treament for cataract patients in the spotlight

Posted on Thursday 1st August 2013
Marina Forbes

Sister Marina Forbes

A nurse specialist at the Cumberland Infirmary who treats patients with laser following cataract surgery has presented her work at a national conference.

Development of posterior capsular opacity (PCO) or thickening is the most common post-operative complication of modern cataract surgery and Sister Marina Forbes, Clinical Nurse Specialist in Ophthalmology at the Carlisle hospital, is one of a small but growing number of non-medical ophthalmic healthcare practitioners who carry out a treatment called Nd:YAG laser capsulotomy.

Increasing numbers of people requiring cataract surgery means increasing numbers needing this Neodymium: Yttrium Aluminium Garnet (Nd:YAG) laser capsulotomy treatment, usually within four years of surgery.

The procedure involves applying specially developed laser energy to disrupt a thickened membrane of the posterior capsule within the eye. For patients, prior to treatment, this feels like looking through bubble-wrap rather than clear cling film. With the help of her ophthalmic medical colleagues, Marina started performing YAG laser in July 2009 and has treated 647 patients so far (779 eyes). 

Marina explained: “It is a very satisfying procedure, both for myself and the patients, as improved vision is often experienced within 10 minutes following treatment, and usually before they leave the department. It is a most enjoyable, rewarding and privileged service to provide.”

The waiting time for patients from referral to treatment for a Nd:YAG laser capsulotomy appointment is shorter than if they had to wait to see a consultant and they attend a dedicated clinic session where each assessment, examination, explanation, consent and treatment is usually completed within 40 minutes. 

Marina measures and records all aspects of her YAG laser service, allowing detailed analysis and predictions for future clinical needs. Along with colleague Staff Nurse Mandie Lahey, she attended an Ophthalmic Nursing Conference at Stamford Bridge, the home of Chelsea Football Club, where she presented her findings. The conference was arranged by M&K, a Cumbria-based nurse education organisation which supports and provides facilities for nurses around the United Kingdom to promote and publicise care services.

An article which Marina has written about her work entitled ‘Bursting the Bubble Wrap’ has been accepted for publication in the August 2013 issue of the International Journal of Ophthalmic Practice.