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.
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.
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!