Key examination for eyes available at local locations

A NEW service has been launched to allow county residents at risk of glaucoma to have an important eye test done at their local opticians instead of having to travel to hospital.

A partnership between the NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and the local optometry committee means that people can get an eye pressure test closer to home.

It measures the fluid pressure inside the eye and is useful because it can detect signs of glaucoma – a disorder which can cause blindness if left untreated.

The test is open to patients aged 18 and over who have a higher than normal eye pressure and are registered with a GP in the county.

Dr John Warrington, director for planned care at NHS Northumberland CCG, said: “We know from patient feedback that most people prefer to be given treatment as close to home as possible, so we’re delighted to be offering this service.”

The opticians that have signed up for the service include C4 Sightcare (both in Newgate St, Morpeth, and at Widdrington Health Centre), R Green and Partners (Bridge St, Morpeth) and Mackley and Steven (Main St, Ponteland).

Patients will be given the quick and painless test immediately after the standard NHS or private sight test.

If the pressure is high at the first test, the patient will be called back for a second examination a few weeks later at the same opticians. The patient will only need to go to hospital for treatment if the repeat test indicates that the eye pressure is still high.

The service will also help to diagnose any other possible medical problems sooner and ensure that patients are only referred to hospital when necessary.