The Queensland Eye Institute (QEI) have launched “Max Day”, a campaign to raise funds to purchase an additional electroretinogram machine. The machine offers state-of-the-art diagnostic tools which allow ophthalmologists to clearly delineate which layers of the back of the eye aren’t functional in order to provide a definite diagnosis.
QEI currently receives referrals for patients from across Queensland, the Northern Territory and northern NSW. As it takes approximately 3.5 hours for each patient to be tested, only two patients can be seen each day, resulting in delayed detection, and thus treatment, for many.
“We are the only service in Queensland who provide comprehensive electrophysiology testing for all ages, but demand is high and wait lists are long,” said Professor Mark Radford, Executive Director and CEO, QEI.
“Early diagnosis can mean the difference between total blindness or life-long vision for many people. Another electroretinogram for Queensland means we halve the waiting time and potentially double the number of people’s sight that we save.”
“Max Day” was inspired by a 15-month-old patient, Max Thomson, who was diagnosed with suspected Lebers Congenital Amaruosis (LCA) after non-invasive electroretinogram testing at QEI. Affecting around two in every 100,000 babies, LCA accounts for approximately 20% of children who attend schools for the blind.
The detection provided huge relief to Max’s mother, Alanna, who said the diagnose “meant that we could take the next step and have genetic testing done to see if Max had the type of LCA for which there is currently a treatment.”
While this was not the case for Max, the early detection allowed for early intervention to treat Max’s condition and had a significantly positive psychological impact on his concerned family.
Beyond detecting LCA, Electroretinograms can also be used to diagnose eye conditions such as Retinitis pigmentosa, Stargardt disease and Cone dystrophy, which other tests cannot. In most cases, patients suffering from these conditions do no go blind immediately, meaning that early intervention strategies can be life-changing and sight-saving.
To donate visit: https://qei.org.au/qei-foundation/donate/