2 April 2021
When Natasha and Lance suddenly lost their five-month old daughter, Lahna Tula, to a viral condition that lead to heart failure, they were determined to ensure a lasting legacy for her.
For the past 12 years, Lahna’s family have taken on physical challenges, hosted fundraising events and organised collections, raising over £100,000 to fund specialist equipment that is now helping other families.
Among their achievements is the purchase of a handheld RETeval ERG system, a device that measures what the brain and eye can see.
We’re really pleased that donations in memory of our daughter Lahna are helping children going through a difficult time and will continue to make a difference for years to come. Thank you to everyone who helped make this lasting legacy possible.” – Natasha and Lance
Instead of patients waiting to be seen in the lab to have brain waves monitored, the Eye Unit team can now run tests in the Unit or even in the wards.
After purchasing the device – the only one in the hospital – the Eye unit team undertook rigorous research to assess whether it is accurate and effective
Now, Dr Jay Self has published a research paper which he hopes will help other departments that could benefit from buying this equipment.
Five minutes with Dr Jay Self
What can you tell us about this new piece of kit?
We get asked to test if babies have been born blind; to look for signs of brain tumours; to examine children who may have a brain injury, to give a few examples. These are all serious situations where we need to know what is happening inside the brain.
When we need to know how much the brain is seeing or how the eyes are responding to light, we normally run tests in a lab. It involves putting electrodes over the patient’s head and around two hours of analysis.
Lahna’s Appeal funded a handheld RETeval ERG system. It’s a small, portable device that can give the same result in 10 minutes.
Why did you need to research the equipment?
This was a nice, pioneering piece of kit, and we needed to be sure of its accuracy. We compared results taken by the handheld device to those taken by our lab equipment, and the results proved that this handheld system is accurate, sensitive and specific.
We published the results of our research because our lab is the only one for our hospital and for the region. There is so much potential for this equipment to reduce waiting times and anxiety for patients.
We want to do an even bigger study to find out whether we can use this device to screen children who would not normally be tested for eye conditions, but who may benefit from receiving a test.