The rising levels of eye disease and the role optometrists can play in providing eye health services was highlighted on the BBC Spotlight show last week (2 June).
Local Optical Committee (LOC) Support Unit communications head, Chris McGachy, told viewers in the south west of the 12,000 optometrists and 7000 community practices ready to support ophthalmologists in caring for the nation’s rising demand for eye care.
He spoke of the enhanced services already being offered in areas of the country, explaining: “We have a mixture of both post-cataract and glaucoma services. There’s about a third of those that are low risk and these can be carried out in the community.
“Around 30 clinical commissioning groups in England have commissioned minor eye care conditions which makes optical practices the first port of call for eye-related problems instead of going to your GP or ending up at accident and emergency,” Mr McGachy highlighted.
“This is going to help save money for the NHS, making it more efficient and more patient centric,” he concluded.
Devon LOC chair, Bill Charles, was also interviewed by the BBC on enhanced services, emphasising: “This would leave lots of appointments open in the hospital for those that really do need that more high-quality care.”
The segment also featured Cornwall consultant ophthalmologist Ashish Patwardhan, Macular Society chief executive Cathy Yelf and macular degeneration patient Vivian Barr.