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Donation enables enhanced eye screening for newborns at Darlington

Donation enables enhanced eye screening for newborns at Darlington


Babies needing specialist eye tests at Darlington Memorial Hospital are benefitting from the latest enhanced screening equipment thanks to a donation from the Friends of the Hospital.


The Friends organisation has donated a 'retcam shuttle' machine to the special care baby unit at the hospital.  The retcam is the latest in specialist technology designed to take digital images of the retina in newborns.


Dr Sally Buckley, consultant ophthalmologist said: "We are very grateful to the Friends of the Hospital for this generous donation. Previously we would carry out eye examinations on newborns manually and record our findings after the exam through notes and diagrams from memory. The new retcam equipment will make a fantastic difference in the management of patients. It provides a much less stressful examination for the newborn and is a much more accurate and sophisticated screening tool for us as clinicians.

"As a screening centre one of the conditions we would be looking for is Retinopathy of Prematurity, an eye disease that affects prematurely-born babies. This can develop extremely rapidly so having this enhanced screening and access to a library of digital images will make a real difference. We refer patients to the RVI or James Cook hospital for treatment so having digital images available means we can seek advice from these treatment centres when there is a borderline case and take guidance on the most appropriate pathway of care for that patient."


Retcam is a wide angle pediatric retinal imaging system, which is light and easily maneuverable, and produces digital images which appear in real time and enables video capture.

'In recent times, I have utilised admissions to Richardson for respite direct from my fracture clinic, even at weekends. I have never worked anywhere with this efficiency before - it is reassuring and invaluable for the patient.'

Patient, Lowson / Starling Wards, Richardson Hospital