British eye hospital launches centre in Abu Dhabi

Patients with diabetic eye disease and paediatric eye problems encouraged Moorfileds to open a center in Abu Dhabi

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ABU DHABI // A new hospital hopes to provide much needed eye care to patients in the capital.

Moorfields Eye Hospital, founded in Britain two centuries ago, has launched a new centre in the emirate, its second outside Britain.

The hospital opened a branch in Dubai in 2007 and has since treated about 50,000 patients.

John Pelly, chief executive of the hospital in London, said 20 per cent of those patients were from Abu Dhabi and they had been travelling to the hospital in Dubai for treatment. That influenced the hospital’s decision to open a branch in Abu Dhabi, he said.

Eduardo Deboya, a pilot who lives in Abu Dhabi, has been travelling to Moorfields in Dubai every fortnight to seek treatment for an eye inflammation problem.

The 59-year-old Peruvian said he decided to seek treatment at the hospital in Dubai nearly a year ago because he did not know where to find treatment in Abu Dhabi.

“A friend recommended the doctor to me when I was looking for an ophthalmologist and I didn’t even consult a doctor in Abu Dhabi. I really didn’t know where to go,” said Mr Deboya, adding that his wife accompanied him to Dubai for treatment.

Professor Robert Scott, a consultant ophthalmic surgeon and medical director at the Dubai hospital, said eye disease was common in the UAE, partly because of the high rate of diabetes.

“The most common eye problem we counter is diabetic eye disease. Over the period of a decade, these people will develop some form of eye disease. A lot of the patients coming to Dubai are diabetic and they come for laser treatment or injections and, if necessary, surgical treatment,” he said.

Prof Scott added there was a high incidence of keratoconus, a degenerative disorder of the eye.

He urged people to have their eyes tested regularly, especially children.

“We see an increasing number of children coming to us. The population in the emirates is very young. Children are very active and need the best eye sight. They also need checking at an early age.” he said.

arizvi2@thenational.ae