Chien Wong: Taking a closer look at surgical retinal disease

26 Sep 2019, 11:09 a.m.

Meet Chien Wong, Consultant Ophthalmologist at Great Ormond Street Hospital. Chien  is a consultant eye surgeon at GOSH, with a special interest in surgical retinal diseases in children. He leads the de facto UK national centre for retinal detachment in premature babies at GOSH. Here he explains his role in paediatric ophthalmology and his treatment for patient Lucas, who features on Paul O’Grady’s Little Heroes. 

Why does paediatric Ophthalmology interest you? 

I am interested in treating children with surgical retinal disease, because of the potential to a make lifelong positive impact on a child’s vision. As a parent to young children myself, it is a real privilege for me to be a part of what is often quite an emotional treatment journey for the children and their families, sharing in their growth over years and developing a special connection with them.

Can you tell us about the work you have been doing with Lucas for his visual impairment? 

Lucas has a condition called Coats disease, which causes the blood vessels in the retina to leak fluid. He has a more severe form of it with very extensive detachment of the retina. Untreated, this could lead to complete loss of sight and excessively high eye pressure causing pain. In some cases, removal of the eye is required. Lucas has had laser treatment to the leaky blood vessels to attempt to seal them off and reduce the retinal detachment.

What’s next for Lucas? 

Lucas has shown an encouraging response to treatment, with improvement in retinal detachment, thus reducing his risk of total loss of sight and developing pain. We are planning a further procedure to encourage further improvement.

Why did you choose to work at Great Ormond Street Hospital?   

GOSH is a wonderfully inspiring and empowering place to work, filled with caring, talented professionals that have made a positive choice to work in a central London location. In the NHS, we are incredibly lucky to have a hospital like GOSH, where children, their families and other hospitals can turn to for the best possible care in the world.

What do you like about working at GOSH? 

I love that GOSH enables me to make a real difference to the lifelong sight of children by working with teams filled with people who care and are passionate about children and their health. GOSH also supports the development of innovative treatments at the very forefront of medicine. The development of our retinal detachment centre for premature babies in 2014 truly epitomises all of the things that I love about working at GOSH.

How has it been being involved with the Paul O’Grady filming and what do you hope the programme will do?   

It was great fun working with a film crew to showcase the little heroes that come to GOSH daily. I was struck by how sensitive the camera crew were to Lucas and his family to being filmed and their ability to capture intimate defining moments without being intrusive. I hope the programme will be a great success; speaking as a civilian, it is imperative that GOSH and GOSH charity continues to be supported by each and everyone one of you!

Find out more about Lucas's story from his mum, Caitlin

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