You may not realise that your local Specsavers store provides a wide array of eye health services, which can save unnecessary trips to the GP at a time when the NHS is facing significant pressure.
As part of the Welsh Eye Care Service, optometrists on the high street form part of primary care, in being the first point of contact for range of sudden-onset eye conditions or concerns in the same way that GPs cover broader aspects of health.
Specsavers stores in Penarth and Leckwith are locally owned and run and open seven days a week. They can detect and manage a range of eye conditions including red eye, dry eye, and floaters in the vision under the Eye Health Examination Wales (EHEW) service.
It means anyone experiencing eye pain, discomfort, redness, sudden changes, or flashes of light in their vision, among other symptoms, is encouraged to contact the stories in the first instance. Help with more complex conditions is discussed on a case-by-case basis. Where services are provided on behalf of the NHS, there is no cost to the customer.
Specsavers Penarth and Leckwith store director James Deavall said community opticians played a key role in alleviating the burden on NHS staff, to enable them to remain focussed on where they are needed the most.
“Regular eye tests with your optician, at least once every two years, are vital to keep on top of your overall eye health and to detect signs of any serious conditions earlier when they are more manageable. But aside from maintaining that good eye care routine, minor eye issues such as conjunctivitis or dry eye, can crop you at any time.
“Our message is clear- if your eyes aren’t feeling right, an optician should always be your first port of call. Don’t just assume you need to go to your hospital or GP, especially at this time when the NHS is under unprecedented pressure.
“Our customers benefit from quick access to appointments in their local community, with same day availability for conditions that need urgent intervention. If further care is needed, our opticians can make swift referrals.”
Specsavers Penarth also offers a glaucoma service on behalf of the health board. This is not a walk-in service but a hospital service provided through the store to improve access to services locally.
Both stores also have an OCT (optical coherence tomography) machine, which produces a structural scan of the eye to help detect a range of eye conditions up to four years earlier than traditional methods.