Surgeon spots drug effect

AN Ipswich eye surgeon has made a drug discovery never before reported in the UK.

AN Ipswich eye surgeon has made a drug discovery never before reported in the UK.

Ipswich Hospital consultant Rachna Murthy has brought to light a harmless but significant side-effect of a commonly-used glaucoma eye drop.

Miss Murthy discovered, researched and audited the findings while treating patients in the hospital's eye clinic.

Miss Murthy, an ophthalmologist and a consultant surgeon specialising in eyelid and facial plastic surgery, said: “As people are well-aware, most drugs have side-effects and these are well-documented.

“What I noticed was to do with the medication reducing fat in the eyelids and this has not been highlighted before so I wanted to increase awareness among clinicians, the pharmaceutical company and patients being treated.

“It's not a ground-breaking scientific breakthrough, but increasing awareness of all effects of drugs is very important and it shows at our hospital we are taking extra care of our patients.”

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The drop, called Lumigan is used to control eye pressures and is used to help treat hundreds of glaucoma patients at Ipswich Hospital every year.

It is the subtle changes in patient's eyelids which Miss Murthy has documented. Through a series of follow-up appointments with patients, and by taking photographs, Miss Murthy also found that the change reverses itself when a patient stops using the drops.

The research has already won a regional teaching prize and is now on the agenda of the Royal Society of Medicine and international meetings of surgeons.