Don’t ignore eye problems

Interim Chair of the Local Eye Health Network Rupesh Bagdai, said: 'I would encourage all patients with eye problems to contact their local optician or NHS111 as soon as possible. The earlier an eye problem can be treated the better, as this will reduce the likelihood of any long term effects on eye health.'

People living in Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre have been urged not to ignore eye problems as the number of requests for appointments related to urgent eye conditions has decreased during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Lancashire and South Cumbria Eye Health Network has launched an innovative new service called COVID Urgent Eyecare Services (CUES) to support urgent eye care needs. People in the area who need urgent eye care should contact their local opticians or NHS 111 without delay. The sooner treatment can be provided, the better the chances of eye health recovery.

The CUES is delivered by local opticians in partnership with hospital ophthalmology services. It uses technology to provide remote consultations so patients can easily access services, reducing the need for travel and hospital visits. The service provides the quickest access to the right care for patients. This is crucial, as delays to treatment can have a serious impact on long-term eye health, and in some cases even result in sight loss. Seeking help early will increase the chance of a positive outcome. People can access the service by first contacting their local opticians or NHS 111.

Rupesh Bagdai, interim chair of the Local Eye Health Network, said: “This new service offers patients timely professional care in a safe place that is appropriate to each patient and in keeping with social distancing rules. I would encourage all patients with eye problems to contact their local optician or NHS 111 as soon as possible. The earlier their eye problem can be treated the better, as this will reduce the likelihood of any long term effects on their eye health.”

Timothy Bagot, a local optometrist, said: “The COVID Urgent Eyecare Service brings many benefits to patients. Patients won’t need to leave their home to speak to a medical professional and they will receive a care plan, which will help them to manage their condition at home, meaning that they won’t need to go to hospital unless it’s absolutely necessary.”

Tom Mackley, optometrist at Royal Preston Hospital, said: “NHS teams are working together to safely provide eye care to people in Lancashire and South Cumbria during the coronavirus pandemic. Routine eye appointments are still going ahead, and unless an appointment has been cancelled, please do attend them.

“If you are having issues with your eyes, please don’t put off or delay treatment as the consequences on your sight could be detrimental.”

For more information about looking after your eyes visit: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/look-after-your-eyes/