Local MP, Andrew Gwynne, has called on constituents to visit their optometrist more regularly as new information reveals how important the practice is in improving your overall health.
Poor vision affects health, economic well-being and productivity of individuals, families and society as a whole as well as the heightened risk of mortality and illness from other chronic conditions (both physical and mental), which increase significantly with loss of sight.
However, optometrists and dispensing opticians – both in the community and in the hospital eye service – play key roles in the prevention, early diagnosis, prompt referral and ongoing management of common eye conditions, including glaucoma, cataract, age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy.
In recent times the NHS has seen a surge in demand for eye care with 6% of all operations in NHS hospitals today (700,000 operations) focusing exclusively on the eye, with over 7 million out-patient appointments (nearly 10% of all out-patients) in 2016 alone.1
A recent workforce survey by the Royal College of Ophthalmologists indicates that 30% of consultant posts advertised in 2015 were not filled due to lack of appropriately trained applicants and most eye units show a shortfall of at least one consultant.
Andrew Gwynne said:
“In Denton and Reddish, community optical practices provide a lot of support for constituents as part of the Cataract Referral Service, Glaucoma Repeat Readings Pathway and Post-Operative Cataract Pathway.
“Visiting your local optometrist, especially if you’re a young person, disabled or over-65 is crucial in identifying and combating several debilitating conditions early.
“However it is young people who are suffering most as this report highlights a particular lack of services for children and young people outside of school age or school setting, as well as those with a learning disability with research suggesting that 4 in 10 children in special schools have no history of eye care.
“I’ll be speaking to local authorities and councillors to ensure we have adequate provision across the constituency.”