An optician at Specsavers in Newport has been awarded for his work with low-vision patients.

Russell Ham, who specialises in care for visually impaired patients, was the only optician in Wales to receive a ‘five-star award’ from the Wales Council for the Blind.

The organisation represents people with vision impairment in Wales, working to campaign for people with sight and sensory loss, as well as providing an official platform for them to raise concerns and wishes.

Nominated by patients

Mr Ham was given the prestigious award by Rhun ap Iorwerth AM at an event held at the Senedd in Cardiff Bay. He was nominated by his patients, who praised the high level of care he has shown them during 13 years working for Specsavers in Newport.

The store is no stranger to accolades, having recently scooped the ‘Special Award in Clinical Excellence’ at Specsavers’ national award ceremony. It was recognised for its collaboration with Aneurin Bevan University Health Board to open an Ophthalmic Diagnostic Treatment Centre (ODTC), with funding from the Welsh Government.

The ODTC, which opened in September 2016, sees Specsavers optometrists provide initial screening and referrals for people with symptoms of wet age-related macular degeneration (wet AMD). NHS staff deliver treatment for the condition from the same high street location.

‘I feel honoured’

‘I feel honoured and somewhat humbled that my patients took the time to put me forward for such an award,’ said Mr Ham, whose is registered as an accredited low vision optician with the NHS Low Vision Service Wales scheme.1

Individuals with low vision have sight which cannot be corrected by wearing glasses or contact lenses2. It is sometimes caused by conditions such as age-related macular degeneration. There are 187 specially-trained practitioners offering low vision services from high street opticians across Wales.

‘I hope the award demonstrates the high quality of care and support we are able to provide to low-vision patients here in Newport,’ he added.

‘I get great satisfaction from enabling people to enjoy a better quality of life and independence and to be recognised for that work is wonderful.’

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