If you suffer from genetic eye disease you should see Professor Michel Michaelides
Professor Michel Michaelides is an Institute of Ophthalmology professor and a highly skilled clinician. He is a national and international authority on inherited retinal disease. He works part of his time in the laboratory supervising PhD students working on genetic advances in inherited retinal diseases, and partly in clinical ophthalmology, applying his skills.
Clinically he works directly with patients both at Moorfields Eye Hospital and here at Clinica London, where he sees private patients. He looks after patients with Stargardt disease, with retinitis pigmentosa, with cone dystrophy and many other strains of the thousands of minutely differing genetic eye diseases.
Many patients may feel put off by seeing a professor who works in the laboratory; however, Professor Michel Michaelides is also an extremely skilled clinician and gets on very easily with his patients, managing to cross the divide between academia and clinical work seamlessly.
He sees both children and adults. The children are usually in their teenage years, as that is often when they realise they have an eye condition that may have been inherited, and they come along with their parents. Very often we have to get the child or teenager to see the orthoptist first to measures the field of vision and to make sure there is no squint. If they are old enough, however, he will see them without prior orthoptic testing.
When a teenager or an adult comes to see Professor Michaelides they will, first of all, have some special tests, which can include visual acuity, the normal intraocular pressure measurements and a more specialised imaging test, such as the scanning laser ophthalmoscopy and the ocular coherence tomography. This provides the professor with high-quality images of the disc and retina and also with autofluorescence, which is black and white pictures of the deeper layers of the choroid. The OCT machine is providing information about the actual layers of the cells of the back of the eye, particularly of the macula, which is the part of the retina responsible for colour vision and fine detail vision.
They may also have an SLO, which is a scanning laser ophthalmoscopy of their retina. This provides a wide- angle view of the retinal and optic disc appearance as well as information about the deeper choroidal layer of the eye.
Once the nurse has done the tests, which take about half an hour, the patient will see Professor Michaelides, and he will ask you about your family history and will examine your eyes after he has looked at the test results.
Professor Michaelides will then advise you on the likelihood of your condition deteriorating and the timescale in which this might occur. He can tell you what help is available for maintaining or improving your vision, and whether there are any genetic treatments that you could benefit from. He will then summarise everything in a report.
Professor Michaelides tries to deal with each patient in one visit as many of them travel from abroad to see him.
He has patients that come from India, Africa, other parts of Asia, South America and throughout the United Kingdom. He also has patients that travel from Eastern and Western Europe.
Many of the genetic conditions affect families, particularly where there have been cousin marriages, and the inheritance pattern, therefore, has meant that somebody can be a carrier of the eye disease. So they may not actually have the condition themselves, but they then pass it on to the next generation. Therefore there are many Mediterranean families for whom cousin marriages – known as consanguineous marriages – have resulted in children having eye defects affecting their retina, inherited retinal or macular diseases.
Professor Michaelides will also provide advice on how the genetic defect has come into play and what the risk is for the person affected henceforth in passing it on to the next generation or the one after. He gives family genetic advice as well as individual ocular genetic advice.
Professor Michaelides works every Thursday afternoon at Clinica London, and you can book in to see him by calling Jenny Burrows or Lizzie Grainger in reception on 020 7935 7990 or by emailing them at [email protected] or [email protected].
You can usually get an appointment to see the professor within two to three weeks, but you may not necessarily be able to see him within a week as he is often fully booked, or he is lecturing internationally or nationally. Professor Michaelides looks forward to seeing you at Clinica London, and I am pleased to recommend him to you.