A pilot project which evaluated a glaucoma service led by optometrists for treating people with stable or simple glaucoma has shown positive results.
The service, which was carried out by optometrists rather than a consultant ophthalmologist, led to reduced waiting times between appointments, fewer appointments required and higher patient satisfaction levels.
The optometry-led Ophthalmic Diagnostic and Treatment Centre (ODTC) was established in partnership between the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) and Cwm Taf Health Board in Wales. It involved piloting a community clinic which was aimed at improving access to treatment and waiting times for glaucoma patients in order to prevent avoidable sight loss.
Also highlighted in the pilot’s findings were the importance of regularly collecting detailed and updated information on attendance and outcomes from outpatient ophthalmology clinics, in order to better monitor and evaluate the impact of services.
The RNIB’s evidence and service impact manager for prevention, Helen Lee, said: "There is increasing demand on ophthalmology departments which is creating a serious capacity problem. As a result, many glaucoma follow-up appointments are being delayed and patients are left waiting.
"The results from the pilot are promising; reduced waiting times between appointments and increased patient satisfaction.
"We hope that the results will be shared across Wales and the rest of the UK to inform the development of eye care service delivery."