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A Minor Eye Conditions Pilot Delivered by Community Optometrists

Authors Hill D, Hanspal I

Received 13 December 2019

Accepted for publication 20 February 2020

Published 9 March 2020 Volume 2020:12 Pages 1—9


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Zoka Milan

David Hill,1 Inderaj Hanspal2

1Suffolk Local Optical Committee, Newmarket, UK; 2Department of Ophthalmology, West Suffolk Hospital, Bury St Edmunds, UK

Correspondence: David Hill Email

Purpose: To determine the viability of an optometry-led community eye care scheme.
Methods: Pilot study. Assessment of examination reports and patient feedback collected from six community optometry practices in West Suffolk over a 3-month period. A patient satisfaction questionnaire was given to each patient using the service. The entry route, outcomes and appropriateness of referrals to secondary care were assessed.
Results: A total of 299 patients accessed the scheme. The optometrist managed eighty-one per cent of cases without a referral. 16% were referred to ophthalmology secondary care, of which 79% were deemed appropriate. The most frequently presenting conditions were related to the anterior eye (70%). 23% presented with recent onset flashes or floaters. Antibiotics were recommended in 7% of cases and lubricants in 30%. Patient satisfaction information was available for 75% of episodes. All agreed it was convenient to be seen in their local community, 95% were very confident in the optometrist, and 95% rated overall satisfaction as excellent.
Conclusion: A community eye care scheme can benefit the patient, the NHS and the optometrist. Not only are financial savings likely to be made, but secondary care capacity is also increased. Several of the NHS key drivers; including the time to care and care closer to home are met.

Keywords: optometrist, eye care, MECS, primary care

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