In a week when the pressure on A & E departments hasn’t been out of the news, the Local Optical Committee Support Unit (LOCSU) has highlighted the role that optometrists and opticians could play in alleviating this pressure. It is estimated that over a quarter of a million people in England alone visit A & E with eye-related conditions, many of who could be treated effectively and quickly by their optometrist.
With waiting times at their worst levels for a decade, it is especially worthwhile for you to consider your optometrist as your first port of call if you have an emergency eye condition.
This is something we have highlighted before in relation to GPs. And it isn’t just the waiting time that is the issue. Even many major hospitals (barring actual eye hospitals) lack the technology and expertise to accurately diagnose and treat an eye condition. GPs have openly stated that they lack confidence in dealing with eye conditions and will often direct patients to their optometrist. In the same way, in an A & E department, you could wait hours to be seen by a doctor, only to be told you will need to wait or go somewhere else to be seen by an eye specialist. Most optometrists offer out of ours appointments and should be able to prescribe any treatment you may need, making optometrists the best all round option for emergency eye care.