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Managing Patients With Eye Problems

(written by: Dr Kieran Sharrock)

When patients present to general practices with eye problems, we may not be the best people to assess and treat their problems. Optometrists are more experienced in dealing with eye problems and are usually able to assess and treat these problems. The LMC is working with the Local Optometry Committee, CCG, and NHSEI to develop a formal pathway so that patients with eye problems can be referred by GP practices direct to optometry so that the patient is seen by the professional who is best placed to manage their condition.

If a patient currently presents with visual change, and they are eligible for an NHS eye check, these patients can and should be signposted to their optometrist. The optometrist can then assess and treat, or refer.

Patients who are eligible for NHS eye check are listed at https://www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/help-with-health-costs/free-nhs-eye-tests-and-optical-vouchers/

If the patient is not eligible for NHS eye check they can still attend the optometrist, but would have to pay a fee for the test.
Patients with eye pain, should be assessed and treated by GP clinicians, and referred to eye casualty if necessary.