Eye care in the community

This World Sight Day, Hywel Dda University Health Board is raising awareness of the work of community optometrists and how they do more than help their patients choose the right pair of glasses.

In a short video, Community Optometrist Heddwyn Davies has highlighted the range of services that he and his colleagues provide to their local communities, and the specialist skills and knowledge they bring to primary care based eye care.

Community eye care covers a spectrum of symptoms that many people may go to their GP for such as red eye, a painful eye, double vision and a foreign body in the eye.

Llandeilo based Mr Davies, who is a Partner at Evans and Hughes Optometrists, said: “Whether you are looking for a routine eye examination or you have eye related symptoms that require further and enhanced investigation, then your community optometrist should be your first port of call. 

“Your optometrist has the knowledge, expertise, skills and equipment to help diagnose and manage eye conditions, or refer if necessary for a second opinion.

“Many optometrists are up skilling and are providing enhanced services such as Low Vision clinics and are also participating in shared care schemes, co-managed with consultants and professionals within the hospital eye care service.

“Remember if you have acute symptoms such as loss of vision, flashes and floaters, red eye, painful eye, foreign body in the eye to name but a few, then visit your optometrist who can potentially see you as an emergency under the Eye Health Examination Wales scheme.”

Jill Paterson, Director of Primary Care, Community and Long-Term Care said: “Hywel Dda University Health Board is pleased to support our community optometrists in taking forward the increasing range of services which can now be provided within our local communities. 

“We recognise the importance of the additional training which our optometrists have undertaken in order to provide these services and hope that individuals experiencing acute eye care problems can approach their local optometrist with confidence, knowing that accredited optometrists will have the expertise to assess and treat a range of symptoms in the local community setting and prevent the need for a trip to hospital where this is deemed not to be required.”

To find your nearest optometrist, please visit: www.eyecare.wales.nhs.uk

To view the video, please visit: https://youtu.be/BQ-T288M_SU