Breaking News
October 17, 2018 - Network of doctors identify the cause of 31 new conditions
October 17, 2018 - Notable improvement in brain cancer survival among younger patients but not much for elderly
October 17, 2018 - Scientists shed light on roles of transcription factors, TP63 and SOX2, in squamous cell carcinoma
October 17, 2018 - Costs of Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program may be higher than expected reimbursement
October 17, 2018 - Misuse of prescription opioids or benzodiazepines associated with suicidal thoughts
October 17, 2018 - C-Section Rates Have Nearly Doubled Since 2000: Study
October 17, 2018 - Talking to Your Kids About STDs
October 17, 2018 - New classification of periodontal and peri-implant diseases and conditions
October 17, 2018 - Herbert D. Kleber, Pioneer in Addiction Treatment, Dies at 84
October 17, 2018 - Health effects of smoke-filled atmosphere
October 17, 2018 - Down syndrome may hold important clues to onset of Alzheimer’s disease
October 17, 2018 - A special report on US’ aging societies
October 17, 2018 - Birth mode may have acute effects on neurodevelopment, study suggests
October 17, 2018 - Global health innovation system fails to deliver affordable treatments to patients, says report
October 17, 2018 - Simple, inexpensive test quickly detects antibiotic-resistant ‘superbugs’
October 17, 2018 - New drugs could reduce risk of heart disease when added to statins
October 17, 2018 - Visible and valued: Stanford Medicine’s first-ever LGBTQ+ Forum
October 17, 2018 - HVP vaccination not linked with rise in teen risky sex
October 17, 2018 - Potential ‘early warning markers’ for sepsis discovered
October 17, 2018 - Who knew? Life begins (again) at 65
October 17, 2018 - Application of blood pressure guidelines ups treatment
October 17, 2018 - Stanford researchers find that small molecule may help treat enzyme deficiency
October 17, 2018 - Speed Cameras Save Money and Lives in New York City
October 17, 2018 - Men who conform to ‘the man box’ more likely to consider suicide and violence
October 17, 2018 - Researchers aim to create more authentic organoids for drug testing, transplantation
October 16, 2018 - New blood test for pediatric brain tumor patients offers safer approach than surgical biopsies
October 16, 2018 - Age-related estrogen increase may be the culprit behind inguinal hernias in men
October 16, 2018 - Skills-Based Intervention Did Not Cut Systolic BP After Stroke, TIA
October 16, 2018 - Researchers uncover new role of TIP60 protein in controlling tumour formation
October 16, 2018 - Behind the scenes of a lifesaving heart surgery
October 16, 2018 - ‘To See the Suffering’
October 16, 2018 - Drinking concentrated rosemary extract can boost memory by up to 15%, shows research
October 16, 2018 - Medicare Advantage riding high as new insurers flock to sell to seniors
October 16, 2018 - NHS tackles prescription fraud to save millions
October 16, 2018 - New molecular switch may help develop sophisticated photomedications
October 16, 2018 - Improving access to behavioral health screenings for pregnant and postpartum women
October 16, 2018 - Health Highlights: Oct. 12, 2018
October 16, 2018 - Study holds promise for new pediatric brain tumor treatment
October 16, 2018 - Patient advocate uses MRI scans to create art and spark conversations about life with illness
October 16, 2018 - Fish oil based diets may suppress growth and spread of breast cancer cells
October 16, 2018 - Number of VHA facilities offering acupuncture has increased rapidly
October 16, 2018 - Influential Leapfrog Group jumps in to rate 5,600 surgery centers
October 16, 2018 - HIV-infected infants more likely to acquire congenital cytomegalovirus infection
October 16, 2018 - Study pinpoints new marker that can predict Crohn’s disease subtype
October 16, 2018 - Simple procedure could be efficacious intervention for failed back surgery
October 16, 2018 - New research identifies modifiable dementia risk factor in elderly people
October 16, 2018 - Zebrafish study uncovers molecular ‘brake’ that helps control eye lens development
October 16, 2018 - Overlapping copy number variations underlie autism and schizophrenia in Japanese patients
October 16, 2018 - Early menopause and diabetes may reduce life expectancy
October 16, 2018 - Majority of Americans’ ancestry can be traced through existing DNA databases
October 16, 2018 - Patients coerced into mental health care less likely to perceive treatment as effective
October 16, 2018 - Healthy elders can consume walnuts without having negative impact on weight gain, finds study
October 16, 2018 - Interactive robot helps older people exercise and detects underlying health problems
October 16, 2018 - What you need to know about autism spectrum disorder
October 16, 2018 - Antidepressants can be used to treat Alzheimer’s disease
October 16, 2018 - Study uncovers important role of PRMT1 in dilated cardiomyopathy
October 16, 2018 - Nutritional quality of breakfast linked to cardiovascular and metabolic risk factors in children
October 16, 2018 - Study uses novel approach to investigate genetic origins of mental illnesses
October 16, 2018 - Scientists develop dual anthrax-plague vaccine
October 16, 2018 - Poor Outcomes for Hispanic Infants With Congenital Heart Dz
October 16, 2018 - Global study finds youngest in class more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD
October 16, 2018 - Researchers sequence two selfish genes in the fungus Neurospora intermedia
October 16, 2018 - Survey results highlight the need for better communication between patients and HCPs about bacterial vaginosis
October 16, 2018 - Researchers develop fibrin-targeting immunotherapy to protect against neurodegeneration
October 16, 2018 - Researchers create open access database on healthy immunity
October 16, 2018 - Rice University chemist wins big award to study small surfaces
October 16, 2018 - Study finds 43% drop in stroke rate
October 16, 2018 - Researchers identify basic relationships of cell cycle and cellular senescence in the placenta
October 16, 2018 - UA professor receives NSF grant to develop antifouling materials for medical implants
October 16, 2018 - Obesity Doubles Odds for Colon Cancer in Younger Women
October 16, 2018 - Adults with ADHD not constrained in creativity
October 16, 2018 - Raising visibility for people and students with chronic illness and disability
October 16, 2018 - Allele awarded NIH grant to develop nanoantibody therapies for treatment of sepsis
October 16, 2018 - Only 59% of young adults undergoing surgery are fluid responsive
October 16, 2018 - Research points to potential new treatment for hearing loss
October 16, 2018 - MDI Biological Laboratory receives $1.2 million SEPA grant to promote data literacy
October 16, 2018 - Vast majority of dementia cases may arise from spontaneous genetic errors
October 16, 2018 - New project aims to deliver fast, effective treatment for autoimmune rheumatic diseases
October 16, 2018 - Study identifies molecular switch that controls fate of milk-producing breast cells
October 16, 2018 - Research shows diet has little influence on precursor to gout
Improving Healthcare in the Community through Eye Examinations

Improving Healthcare in the Community through Eye Examinations

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print

An interview with Paul Morris, conducted by Alina Shrourou, BSc.

How common are eye conditions and how are they diagnosed?

Eye conditions account for 3% of all GP appointments, and the ophthalmology budget is the third largest budget within the NHS. One of the reasons for this is the fact that the morbidity for eye conditions is relatively low and people tend to live a long time with conditions and therefore require repeated visits.

Although some patients with acute eye problems may report directly to hospital eye service or their GPs, eye conditions are most commonly picked up by a visit to an optometrist on the high street through routine sight testing. The figures from the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) demonstrate that half of all sight loss is avoidable and obviously early detection is the key to that avoidance.

Please outline any current barriers preventing the public from checking on their eye health.

One of the biggest barriers would be awareness of where to go. There’s some confusion as to whether patients should go to the GP, pharmacist or the optometrist. Research last year showed that most patients would still go straight to the GP if they had a sudden onset eye condition. However, with optometric practices having lots of specialised equipment for eye examinations, it is advisable to go to an optometrist first and then be referred on if needed.Please outline any current barriers preventing the public from checking on their eye health.

It’s interesting to see that a number of services have sprung up in England, as well as Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, that manage a wide range of eye conditions while actively signposting patients from GP practices. For example, NHS direct lines into the inter-optometric practice for triage and management.

Why is it important for the public to monitor the health of their eyes?

50% of all blindness is preventable and most eye conditions carry no initial symptoms. Sometimes you wouldn’t be aware of those symptoms until the disease was at quite an advanced stage, like with glaucoma for example.

Therefore, it is advisable that every patient has an eye examination at least every two years, and for younger children even more frequently than that. Of course, there are other at-risk groups that require close monitoring, such as people with a family history of glaucoma etc.

What are the early signs which indicate that a patient may need an eye examination?

You would think that this would just be poor or reduced sight. However, it’s not just pathology that can be picked up with an eye examination, but also conditions relating to refractive error, such as myopia, hypermetropia and astigmatism. Refractive error refers to the shape of your eye, causing light to bend so that it doesn’t fall directly onto the retina resulting in less clear vision.

These conditions can cause headaches, blurred vision, and all manner of symptoms, which can lead to the patient feeling uncomfortable or simply not being able to carry out their day-to-day activities as well as they should.

Here, we could really get into a whole factor of visual demands. It is a fact these days that most people use computers or display screen equipment of some kind. With the advent of smartphones and tablets, we spend more and more time on visually demanding tasks than we did previously.

This means that people with relatively mild prescriptions that we may not have prescribed for in the past, may still benefit from an optical appliance to correct their refractive error to ensure that they have the most comfortable vision and avoid headaches etc, while using electronic devices. The eyes are working harder than ever before because we’ve got so many more things that we use up close.

How can information gained from an eye examination reveal other general health conditions?

A large range of systemic conditions have early, or established signs within the eye. The most known example of this is diabetic retinopathy. Some individuals with diabetic retinopathy do not realise that they have the condition until an eye examination identifies haemorrhages and other vessel changes at the back of their eye. The same is true for hypertension, blood pressure, and a whole range of other eye conditions.

Please outline the process involved during an eye examination at Specsavers.

In the UK and Ireland, an eye examination has its contents defined in law. For example, anyone over the age of 40 should be offered digital retina photography of both eyes as part of their eye examination.

However, at Specsavers, we try to build on top of that. We offer digital retinal photography free of charge, whereas many others charge extra for this service.

We also make huge investments in technology and equipment that is used directly with patients for diagnostic purposes. Recently I outlined plans to include Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) soon in all our practices in the UK and Ireland by the end of 2018. This technology will further help community optometrists to manage patients in the community and benefit all stakeholders.

More investment is made in our clinical staff. Since 2015 we have assisted our clinicians in achieving over 10,000 additional accreditations and qualifications in a wide range of fields including glaucoma, cataract and minor eye conditions.

What conditions can be identified from an eye examination at Specsavers?

As part of every eye examination the optometrist makes a thorough examination of the anterior and posterior eye to screen for the common eye conditions. The identification of conditions such as glaucoma, retinal issues, and age-related macular degeneration is possible, as well a whole host of associated conditions including anterior eye conditions, such as conjunctivitis.

There are too many to list, but what we can confirm is that our optometrists are highly trained clinical professionals backed up with cutting-edge technology within the practices that help with identification of these diseases and conditions.

What happens if the patient receives news on an eye condition that they were not expecting?

All optometrists are trained in interpersonal skill and receive ongoing training on how to empathize and relate to their patients’ needs and concerns. We provide a robust package of leaflets and patient information, which are co-branded by the College of Optometrists in the UK.

These provide reference to additional help and support services that the patient can access. However, we are always sure to explain to patients that they should contact us at any point if they need further help or assistance.

What impact do you think these services have on not only eye health, but also on healthcare in the community in general?

These services are vital to detection of eye conditions. Specsavers play an important community role in terms of educating people about their eye care and their general health. We have a growing remit in terms of public health awareness.

We spend a good proportion of time explaining to patients the risks and benefits of certain lifestyle choices that they may make, including walking, good diet, access to other services that may benefit them etc. We do all that we can to make ourselves visible and accessible within the community including outside of our remit of healthcare, getting involved in lots of community projects, which we are very proud of.

Where can readers find more information?

Please visit our website: https://www.specsavers.co.uk/eye-health/RNIB

About Paul Morris

Paul Morris is the Director of Professional Advancement for Specsavers Opticians in the UK andIreland. The role involves furthering clinical scope, professional services, standards, training and forming future strategy for the group. He previously held the role of Director of Optometry Advancement.

Paul has written, piloted and delivered various Specsavers training initiatives including Undergraduate, Postgraduate and Peer Review Facilitator Training. He sits on the editorial board of the ProFile Journal and is a CET article and case author. Paul is also the Ophthalmic Director of Specsavers Opticians in Bridgend and Porthcawl.

Outside of Specsavers Paul has been a Director of FODO, Chair of the Optical Confederation IT & Information Committee as well as an Optometry Wales Vice Chair. He has previously undertaken work as a clinical supervisor for the AOP and was founder and Director of BAM Optical Training & Solutions that delivered teaching to optometrists and pharmacists in ocular pathology. Paul has also held positions within the Hospital Eye Service as well as the School of Optometry & Visual Science in Cardiff and in 2011 began working within WOPEC (Wales Optometry Postgraduate Education Centre) to deliver postgraduate training to a range of Health Care Professionals and inform policy.

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles