A NEW £50,000 eye scanner was officially unveiled at Warminster Community Hospital on Tuesday by Lord Bath, which will help save
patients suffering from vision-related problems having to make
regular long-distance journeys.

The Friends of Warminster Hospital launched an appeal last year for funds to buy an Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) Eye Scanner for the Ophthalmology Outpatients Department at Warminster Hospital.

They met their target of £36,000 in November with the help of a successful silent auction and raffle, while Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust added £15,000 to buy the Cirrus HD-OCT 5000 Eye Scanner.

The eye scanner, which is now in use, enables visiting consultants from Salisbury to monitor and part-treat macular degeneration and glaucoma locally.

Friends chairman Charles Lane said: “We are very happy that the scanner is now up and running in Warminster, as it will spare the patients long journeys and allow the hospital to run two all-day clinics each week.

“This will make a lot of difference to people suffering from eye
problems in the area, as those diagnosed with macular degeneration
require monthly check-ups.

“It was clear that there was a problem from the number of people in south Wiltshire being referred to Salisbury and we are confident that this machine will provide great benefits.

“It really will be a valuable piece of equipment and I can’t thank the people of Warminster and the surrounding villages enough for their generosity, as well as everyone else who played a part.”

Between January and July 2012, there were nearly 600 referrals by local GPs to Salisbury Hospital, with 333 of those from Warminster, 99 from Westbury, 107 from Trowbridge and 58 from Mere. A similar number were referred to RUH Bath.

Meon Lamont, consultant ophthalmologist in Salisbury, said: “This equipment will save those with eye problems around 13 trips a year to Salisbury and some will be able to walk down the street for treatment.

“It’s not a new treatment, but having this very sophisticated camera will make life a lot easier for those who need it and it is crucial for analysing degeneration of the eye.

“It takes incredibly accurate pictures of the different parts of the eye and shows us things that we wouldn’t normally see. It also stores results of previous examinations so that they can be compared.”

As well as the money from the people of Warminster and its surrounding villages, the Friends were also helped by the Elizabeth Frankland Moore & Star Foundation, the Trowbridge Town Trust and the Westbury Branch RAOB.