Some Health Authorities Restricting Cataract Surgery

25 August 2012

Reports are coming in that some areas of the country are subjected to rationing of cataract surgery.  The College of Optometrists and colleagues within ophthalmic medicine have issued a press release on this subject.

Hereford is blessed with exceptional relationships between local optometrists and ophthalmologists (eye surgeons) and we have well developed schemes for direct referral into the Victoria Eye Unit and subsequent post-operative management. There is no blanket eligibility criteria for cataract surgery in Hereford and no restriction on second eye operations.

At BBR Optometry our optometrists are always in close liaison with the Victoria Eye Unit and referral for cataract surgery is decided on the basis that;

i)     the cause of visual problem is primarily cataract

ii)    that this is impacting on the individual’s lifestyle of the person and

iii)   the person is ready, willing and able to undergo surgery

If this is the case, any one of our optometrists can make a direct referral to the excellent local NHS team at the Victoria Eye Unit without going via your GP. Of course we keep your GP in the loop but by doing it directly you can be sure that your visual assessment is right up to date, you are not referred too early (before surgery is required) or too late (causing problems with continued driving for example).

If you have a cataract, our optometrists will tell you and discuss, frankly, the likely time scale for attention being required and, honestly, whether a change in glasses before referral is likely to be helpful or not. Our optometrists will also determine the most appropriate interval before your next examination.

Cataracts do make the internal examination of the eye slightly harder unless the pupil is dilated so this wider scope of examination is usually advised.

Once you have had cataract surgery our optometrists will examine and report back on your post-operative results saving you a trip to the hospital.

If you have any concerns regarding cataract please book a full eye examination with one of our optometrists*.

*there may be a charge in addition to the NHS contribution if the cataract is still being evaluated. Once referral is taking place the NHS will pay for the extra assessment and post-operative after-care.

Nicholas Rumney


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