A new, free assessment for eye conditions at local opticians across Barnsley
04 March 2015

NHS Barnsley Clinical Commissioning Group has launched the Primary Eye Care Assessment and Referral Service (PEARS).

This is designed so patients can be seen and treated closer to home, and at a time more convenient for them. This in turn will also ease pressure on the Hospital Ophthalmology Department and A&E.

The free service is available at 22 accredited opticians across the borough.

Dr Nick Balac, GP and Chair of the CCG said: “We know that some people are attending A&E or their GP with eye problems that could be treated elsewhere. This is why we have commissioned the new assessment service for what are often very uncomfortable but minor eye conditions. We went out to ask for people’s views on the service and they were supportive of the idea.

“Patients can now be assessed for treatment during normal working hours and some opticians offer appointments at the weekend. There are also over 22 offering the service across the borough which we hope will also make it more convenient for people to get to.”

Mr Tanveer Hussain, Lead Optometrist at Premier Eyecare, Hoyland and Chair of the Local Optical Committee (LOC) said: “We have qualified optometrists who specialise in eye health. The service is free and people can visit any one of the 22 opticians taking part.

“We aim to provide a convenient, easy-to-access service. Patients will be asked some questions about their symptoms and an optometrist will see them generally within one or two working days.”

Conditions that can be assessed and managed under the service include:

  • Red eye or eyelids
  • Dry eye, gritty and uncomfortable eyes
  • Irritation and inflammation of the eye
  • Significant recent sticky discharge from the eye or watery eye
  • Recently occurring or sudden increase of flashes and floaters
  • Painful eye
  • In-growing eyelashes
  • Recent and sudden reduced vision
  • Something in the eye

Patients who have an eye condition that is being monitored by their GP or hospital should contact their GP practice or hospital department in the first instance.

If they have any of the following symptoms, they should go to A&E immediately:

  • Considerable eye pain
  • Significant trauma, such as a penetrating injury or lacerations to the eye or eyelid
  • Chemical injury or burn
  • Problems arising from recent eye surgery

Patients are being advised to find their nearest participating optician by visiting http://www.barnsleyccg.nhs.uk/patient-help/pears

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