Scottish eye test numbers at 'record high'

The number of eye examinations performed in Scotland has reached a record high, with statistics showing that 2.04 million exams were carried out in 2013/14.

29 Sep 2015 by Emily McCormick

The number of eye examinations performed in Scotland has reached a record high, with statistics showing that 2.04 million exams were carried out in 2013/14. This is a 29% rise compared to the 1.58 million reported in 2006/7.

According to the statistics, which were released by NHS Scotland’s Information Services Division, 80% of patients who had an eye examination during the 2013/14 period were also dealt with in a primary care setting. This has increased by 17% and consequently reduced the number of referrals being made when compared to the 63% not referred recorded in 2006/7.

Commenting on the figures, Scottish optometrist, Kevin Wallace, told OT: “It is very encouraging to see that the public in Scotland are accessing optometry services in increasing numbers – and particularly the fact that a greater percentage of this larger number are being treated by optometrists in practice. This was the intention at the implementation of the new Scottish general ophthalmic services in 2006 and the figures prove that community optometrists are providing a valuable local service and relieving pressure on other parts of the NHS."

Of the 2.04 million sight tests performed during 2013/14, 1.66 million were primary eye examinations, while 374,000 were supplementary eye examinations. 

A rise in the number of domiciliary visits during the 2013/14 period was also highlighted in the report, with an increase of 35%. While 37,000 domiciliary visits were recorded in 2006/7, this increased to 50,000 in 2013/14.

The increase, the General Ophthalmic Services Statistics report stated, “is likely to be partly due to the ageing population,” and this figure is expected to rise further, it added.

An increase in the number of patients with sight-threatening conditions was also revealed between the periods of 2006/7 and 2013/14. The number of people recorded as having glaucoma or hypertension in Scotland doubled to nearly 60,000, while the number of patients identified as diabetic rose by almost half to around 130,000.

To view the report, visit bit.ly/1LhiVfZ

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