Television presenter Dr Hilary Jones has recommended that people go for a “thorough eye examination” by an optometrist rather than their GP if they have a problem with their eyes.
Dr Jones, author and health editor on Good Morning Britain and Lorraine, highlighted his support for the profession in an interview with OT at 100% Optical (6–8 February, ExCeL London).
Speaking to OT’s Robina Moss at the show, Dr Jones said: “I think a lot of people still think that the GP is the go-to person when they’ve got a problem with their eyes. I think that there is still this lack of knowledge about the quality of our optometrists these days, and the specialised equipment that they use, so they go to their GP.”
Dr Jones added: “What they need to know if that GPs will do their best, but the amount of training they have on ophthalmology as junior doctors is very, very small.”
The GP highlighted: “The only equipment we have in our surgery is an ophthalmoscope and in the rushed seven and a half minutes that most GPs get with their patient, we really can’t do much more than a cursory examination of the eye.”
“It’s much better for people to go to their optician for a through examination with all the equipment that they have on hand to get the diagnosis,” he emphasised, adding: “And of course, these days optometrists can refer direct to the ophthalmologist in the hospital – they don’t have to go back to the GP, which is such a cumbersome arrangement for the patient.”
Dr Jones said that doctors needed “to be a lot more honest about the limitations that we have in general practice.”
He explained: “We might be very good at detecting red flag symptoms of something serious like a brain tumour, or MS, or migraine, but I don’t think we’re nearly as good at looking at the eyes from outside to in – to look at the subtleties of diagnosis at what’s needed for good visual acuity.”
“I think we should be referring most of our patients with eye symptoms to people with the proper equipment,” he concluded.
Dr Jones was at 100% Optical to support The Eye Doctor range of eyelid compresses and wipes.
To view the interview, watch the OT video above.