Shadow Health Minister and MP for Ellesmere Port and Neston, Justin Madders, visited Orrell Opticians in Ellesmere Port on Thursday 12th November to find out why regular eye tests are so important in preventing blindness.
1.8 million people in the UK are living with sight loss and this figure is set to increase by 115% to nearly 4 million people by 2050, largely due to the ageing population (1). Much of this is preventable through the early detection and treatment of eye problems. Regular eye tests are a simple and practical way to maintain good eye health and look after your eyes.
Local Optical Committee Chair, Lyndon Taylor, explained the health benefits of regular eye tests:
“We’re really pleased Justin Madders took the time to visit Orrell Opticians to see firsthand the valuable services optometrists and opticians can deliver above and beyond the sight test.
Optometrists and opticians are an underused resource in the NHS and many additional services can, and should, be delivered in practices like this one. This would help reduce pressure on NHS budgets and reduce attendance at A&E and hospital eye departments.
We look forward to working with Justin to make sure his constituents are able to benefit from as many of these services as possible.”
Local Eye Health Network Chair, David Knowles, said:
“IT connectivity is a crucial issue in the optical sector at the moment which must be reviewed.
It was good to talk through the issues involved with Justin and discuss IT improvements to connect optical practices with the rest of the NHS. With proper IT connections, optometrists and opticians will be able to play an even greater role in keeping patients out of hospital, enabling local treatment in the community.
This is in all our interests – it’s more convenient for the public and helps reduce attendance at A&E and hospital eye departments.”
Commenting on his visit Justin Madders said:
“I was pleased to meet the team at Orrells who have been a long standing and successful local business. There were a number of issues raised and I was impressed with the contribution they make towards the nhs and the local economy “
Many groups of people are entitled to NHS-funded sight tests. These include those aged 60 and over, all children under 16 and those on low incomes. Optical practices are convenient and offer easy access in the local community. You can visit any practice that is either near where you live or where you work. Optical practices can see NHS patients at times that suit them.