Medical Retina teaching April 2016

This morning we had a pathology session for Medical Retina. After looking at a few vitreous specimens, the attendees had a tour of the Department of Eye Pathology and got to see first hand how we handle cytology and histology specimens. Some (un?)lucky people got to try some of the steps themselves, and I hope everyone went away with a better idea of what happens to specimens during the laboratory stage of patient investigation.

Vitreous low power
Low power microscopy of vitreous specimen, PAS stain

Vitreous high power
High power microscopy of vitreous specimen, PAS stain

The vitreous specimen shown above is full of fungal hyphae, but the unfixed specimen had been delayed on its way to us and it is likely that the dramatic appearance doesn’t reflect disease, but rather contamination and overgrowth between sampling and arrival of the specimen.

Biohazard room
Handling area for cytology specimens. Our visitor is looking at one of the pink vitreous cytology forms we provide for Moorfields cytology requests
Embedding station
At the embedding station, having a go at positioning a specimen in the correct orientation
Ribbons of sections float on the waterbath. Our visitor is using the forceps to separate individual sections, holding a glass slide ready to pick them up from the waterbath
Staining slides
At the staining area.


Take home messages

For clinicians working at Moorfields Eye Hospital, we have agreed procedures in place regarding handling of vitreous (and aqueous) cytology specimens. Comprehensive information and the cytology request form are downloadable here.

For more general use (non-cytology specimens), a downloadable request form is available here. You can use this form whether you are at Moorfields or another hospital.

Other information regarding the Department of Eye Pathology is available here.

My thanks to David and Sam in the lab who helped the session run so smoothly, and to Will from Medical Retina for giving us this opportunity.

Disclaimer: In case you were wondering, the “specimens” that our visitors handled during their visit are not diagnostic material!

2 thoughts on “Medical Retina teaching April 2016”

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