Specsavers opticians on Newport’s High Street recently welcomed Deputy Minister for Health, Vaughan Gething AM, into the store for a look at the future of NHS eye health examinations in the region.

The store is helping the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board by assessing glaucoma patients without them having to go into hospital.

New service

Mr Gething spoke to staff members, customers and health board representatives about the new Glaucoma Service.

It helps reduce the waiting time for a hospital examination by referring patients to an optometrist at the store. The optometrist conducts the same tests the patient would undergo at hospital, and passes the results to the consultant ophthalmologist to advise on treatment.

Early detection

Craig MacKenzie, director of Specsavers Newport, said: ‘Specsavers champions the importance of regular sight tests, to pick up on any changes that could indicate wider health conditions like glaucoma.

‘Glaucoma is a progressive disease that can lead to sight loss, but with early detection the condition is treatable.

‘We were delighted to be selected to help the health board deliver glaucoma examinations, which will remove the wait for a hospital appointment, and mean treatment can start sooner. We were very pleased to welcome the Deputy Minister for Health into store to see the service in action.’

A survey found that 100% of patients would recommend the service to others.

Successful service

Deputy Minister for Health, Vaughan Gething AM, said: ‘This innovative new service is a real success story. It enables patients who are waiting for an appointment to have a prompt assessment with an optometrist closer to their home, helping tackle the pressures on hospital capacity and providing services which not only meet patients’ clinical needs but which are integrated into their lives.’

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