The Western Sussex Eye Care|Southlands opened at Southlands Hospital on Tuesday following a multi-million pound investment by Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
Her Royal Highness toured the new facility and met with patients, staff, volunteers and supporters before unveiling a commemorative plaque and declaring the purpose-designed ophthalmology unit officially open.
Among who spoke with the Countess was Edith Bain, an 82-year-old patient from Southbourne, who was blind for 70 years in one eye before her vision was restored by the trust’s eye care team.
Mrs Bain said: “The Western Sussex eye care service is absolutely marvellous and for me it has been nothing short of life-changing.
“Before my operation I was often nervous but now I have a new lease of life. Thank you.”
The Countess also met her surgeon, Masoud Teimory, in one of the two specialist ophthalmic operating theatres located within the new eye unit’s day surgery.
Mr Teimory, who for more than decade was a driving force behind the centre, said: “We are very proud to offer access to some of the best ophthalmic assessment and surgical facilities in the country, matching our other excellent facility at St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester.
“We are confident that the impressive range of clinical skills, combined with the latest technology and clinical facilities, together with our ambitions for training future surgeons, will propel Western Sussex Eye Care|Southlands as a new clinical centre of excellence in the UK.”
More than 50 eye care specialists work there, treating up to 3,000 patients a month.
Staff explained to HRH how the new the building was specifically designed to facilitate ‘one-stop’ clinics and enable staff to work to reduce the number of hospital visits.
Western Sussex CEO, Marianne Griffiths, said: “We are very proud of our excellent new eye care service at Southlands Hospital in Shoreham and delighted to have it officially opened by Her Royal Highness the Countess of Wessex.
“Ophthalmology is one of our trust’s busiest services and this wonderful new facility helps our specialist teams to provide some of the very best quality of eye care in the country.”
The centre is by appointment only but patients can be referred by their GPs.