Specsavers in Newport is one of three high street opticians in Gwent selected to provide a pioneering glaucoma service in the community by the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board.

Specialist eye care

Thousands of Gwent residents at risk of developing glaucoma will be able to access specialist eye care close to their homes either with Specsavers in their new store in Austin Friars, Newport, at Julian Davies Opticians in Newport or at Phillips Opticians in Torfaen.

The scheme, which has been running in pilot since 2014, allows opticians to perform a series of tests for glaucoma assessment including virtual links to the consultant-led clinics where they are reviewed by a Consultant Ophthalmologist.

Aneurin Bevan University Health Board is expecting to refer more than 4,000 patients to the new community eye centres per year, reducing waiting time for treatment.

Welcoming the launch of the scheme, Specsavers co-founder Doug Perkins said: ‘This is exactly the kind of enhanced optical service that we should seek to be involved in as optometrists, using our skills to the benefit of patients and enhancing the interface between primary and secondary care. ‘I am delighted that Specsavers is part of setting up this pioneering scheme.’

Significant partnership

Craig MacKenzie, optometrist and joint venture partner at Specsavers in Newport, said: ‘Unfortunately, eye conditions like glaucoma can develop without symptoms and may only present themselves when they are at advanced stages, which is why the shared care scheme is such a significant partnership.

‘It aims to test and treat people as quickly and, wherever possible, manage the case in the community as opposed to in a hospital. ‘We’re thrilled to have won the contract to deliver the shared care scheme following our successful involvement in the pilot scheme. It cements our position as a key support system to both the community and the NHS and we’re confident the collaboration will benefit thousands of people in the months and years to come.’

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