Professor James Bainbridge is one of the leading Consultant Retinal Surgeons at Moorfields and Moorfields Private Eye Hospitals. He specialises in managing conditions of the retina including retinal detachment, epiretinal membrane, macular hole, diabetic eye disease, trauma and cataract.
Professor Bainbridge is internationally recognised for his scientific breakthroughs in eye care. He performed the world’s first gene therapy for genetic blindness and Europe’s first trial of embryonic stem cell transplantation. He is the recipient of many prestigious awards such as Academy of Medical Sciences Award for Ophthalmology, Moorfields Research Medal, the US Foundation Fighting Blindness Board of Directors’ Award. In 2018 he was a recipient the Champalimaud Vision Award, which is one of the World’s largest scientific prizes. Professor Bainbridge is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and Surgeon Oculist to Her Majesty’s Household.
We asked Professor Bainbridge to answer a few questions about his specialist expertise, research projects and the service he provides to his patients.
How does your scientific research benefit your clinical practice?
My aim is to improve the outcome for people affected by blinding eye disease.
Scientific research enables us to understand how such conditions are caused and to develop new treatments that can improve eyesight. I am particularly excited by the potential to restore sight using gene therapy and stem cells. Many of these treatments are still in development but the recent introduction of gene therapy for one rare condition demonstrates their potential for the future.
My clinical research has found that people with macular hole can expect favourable outcomes without face-down positioning. This finding is very reassuring for people considering surgery.
What is your most recent research project?
I am leading an ambitious programme of gene therapy clinical trials for people with genetic diseases of the retina. I am also working with scientists to improve sight by repairing the retina with stem cells.
Why do patients come to see you?
Patients consult me for management of conditions of the retina that benefit from surgery. Many choose to see me on the personal recommendation of other patients, or that of my medical colleagues.
I am often able to provide reassurance of a favourable prognosis without the need for surgery. If surgery is appropriate, my aim is to achieve the best possible outcome with a combination of surgical skill and the latest microsurgical technology.
Do you see any rises in conditions that perhaps get presented to you more?
People increasingly consult me with epiretinal membranes that have been identified by an optometrist on routine imaging. Surgery can be very helpful for this condition but is often unnecessary. I think we can do more to support community optometrists on when to refer on to an ophthalmologist.
Why refer to Moorfields Private?
Moorfields Private Eye Hospital is the private division of Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, with a reputation as an international centre of excellence for providing eye care to private patients from the UK and abroad. We treat the widest range of eye conditions, and our patients have access to the most advanced treatments.