UCLan opens new eye health clinic

The purpose-built facility will provide eye care for the community and support the training of students on the optometry Master's and undergraduate ophthalmic dispensing course

Eye Health Clinic plaque unveiling

The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has celebrated the official opening of its purpose-built eye health clinic.

Based on the Preston Campus and working alongside Royal Preston Hospital eye department, the UCLan Clinic has begun welcoming patients from the local community.

Examinations are carried out by members of staff or final year Master’s optometry students under direct supervision. Students on the undergraduate ophthalmic dispensing course will also have the opportunity to learn from the clinic environment.

Commenting on the opening of the clinic, Rupal Lovell-Patel, the academic lead for vision sciences at the university, said: “To open a facility like this, during a national pandemic, is nothing short of miraculous. And to do it so well deserves great credit to all the teams involved.”

She added: “We are looking forward to working closely with the community and providing high-quality health care whilst simultaneously training the next generation of eye health specialists.”

The new facility is made up of 15 clinic rooms, a dispensing clinic, and three instrumentation suites.

The clinic also features a range of state-of-the-art computerised equipment including optical coherence tomography (OCT).

UCLan vice-chancellor, Professor Graham Baldwin, said the new clinic joins the university’s existing public services, including dental and physiotherapy clinics.

Speaking of the eye care clinic, he said: “Its services will not only benefit our students and university staff but also local residents, who are invited to take advantage of the outstanding eye healthcare we can provide in such fantastic facilities here in Preston.

“Alongside the direct benefits to our community, the clinic is, of course, also helping to train the next generation of eye care professionals, boosting the local health economy and improving local healthcare provision,” he continued.

The new clinic was officially opened by Baldwin along with Lancashire county councillor, Shaun Turner, who is also a member of the East Lancashire Health and Wellbeing Partnership.

Describing the new facilities as a “hidden gem” for members of the public, Turner said: “It’s important to develop, grow and retain optometry skills within Lancashire, so to see such levels of care and ambition at UCLan is fantastic for the future generations of eye care specialists.”

Lead image: the eye health clinic plaque unveiling. (Left to right) Lancashire county councillor Shaun Turner; UCLan vice-chancellor Professor Graham Baldwin; deputy head of school of medicine Nigel Garratt; Professor Cathy Jackson, executive dean of the faculty of clinical and biomedical sciences; and Rupal Lovell-Patel, academic lead for vision sciences at the University.