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Neuro-ophthalmology and genetics expert joins Moorfields Private

Patrick Yu Wai Man has a long-standing research interest in mitochondrial disease

4 February 2019

Patrick Yu Wai Man, a neuro-ophthalmologist specialising in the care and treatment of genetic eye conditions, has joined Moorfields Private. Patrick is a leading academic in his field and he is the author of over 130 peer-reviewed scientific publications.

Neuro-ophthalmology merges the disciplines of ophthalmology (eyes) and neurology (nervous system), focusing on the complex interaction between the eyes, brain and nerves. Neuro-ophthalmology is a growing speciality in the UK as we are seeing an increase in neurodegenerative and neurovascular diseases due to a rapidly ageing population. Some of these conditions can harm our vision, such as a stroke of the brain or optic nerve.

Mitochondrial disease

Patrick has a long-standing research interest in mitochondrial disease, which affects more than 1 in 5,000 people in the UK. Mitochondria are the tiny batteries that produce energy within a cell and they are unique in containing their own genetic code (mitochondrial DNA). Mitochondrial disease is caused by a lack of energy production and this can cause problems with the optic nerve – the high-speed cable that connects the eye to the brain. The eye muscles are also frequently affected in mitochondrial disease causing droopy eyelids (ptosis) and sometimes double vision.

As part of a collaborative research programme between Moorfields Eye Hospital and the University of Cambridge, Patrick is investigating new treatments for patients with mitochondrial disease, in particular an inherited optic nerve condition known as Leber hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON). LHON causes rapid severe sight loss in both eyes and it tends to affect young men.

“At Moorfields Private, we provide patients access to the latest diagnostic equipment, such as high-resolution optical coherence tomography (OCT) imaging and visual electrophysiology,” said Patrick.

“We also make use of next-generation sequencing technology for genetic testing to help determine the underlying cause in someone with a suspected diagnosis of an inherited condition. This facility is provided as part of a multidisciplinary neuro-ophthalmology and neurogenetics service.”

Largest genetics service in Europe

The genetics service at Moorfields Eye Hospital is now the largest and most comprehensive in Europe. Patients who choose Moorfields Private for their care can benefit from expert counselling and genetic testing to establish whether a specific genetic mutation (spelling mistake) is present, and the risk of it being passed down to any children.

Moorfields Private is the private division of Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. Its financial surplus is re-invested back into Moorfields to support NHS services.

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