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LOCSU launches children’s pathway

The new pathway would see children referred to and treated by optical practices in the community

The Local Optical Committee Support Unit (LOCSU) has launched a new Children’s Pathway that aims to reduce referral waiting times for young patients.

Announcing the pathway, LOCSU highlighted that while the UK National Screening Committee recommends that all children aged four to five receive vision screening, which usually takes place in school, those who fail the screening are traditionally referred into the hospital eye service. The unit believes that optical practices are best placed to deliver this care in the community.

The new pathway has been developed based on a referral to a commissioned service that is delivered within primary care optical practices and includes the provision of cycloplegic refraction, orthoptic assessment and a fundus assessment.

The benefits of the service, LOCSU explained, include patients being seen at a time and in a location that is convenient to them. The assessment taking place in practice rather than a hospital clinic also allows spectacle dispensing to be delivered at the same time, LOCSU highlighted.

Speaking about the new pathway, optometrist and interim clinical director at LOCSU, Zoe Richmond, said: “The pathway supports the whole system – only small numbers require consultant or orthoptic intervention and even then, the first line treatment of amblyopia is spectacle correction. If the child ultimately requires hospital referral, they will attend their ophthalmology appointment wearing their spectacles and having partially adapted to them.”

Image credit: Getty/microgen