Greater Manchester’s Urgent Eyecare Service (UES), which has already treated more than 100,00 patients since commencing in 2020, is a free NHS service for anyone who is experiencing emergency eye care problems and is registered with a Greater Manchester GP.
The self-referral service is coordinated by Primary Eyecare, the largest single not-for-profit primary eyecare lead provider in England, and endorsed by the Royal College of Ophthalmologists. The Greater Manchester-wide service means face-to-face appointments with a local optician team are now available throughout all ten boroughs of Greater Manchester – avoiding an unnecessary visit to a GP or hospital emergency department.
The UES provides urgent assessment, treatment or referral for sudden onset eye problems, such as:
- Red or painful eye or eyelids
- Recently occurring flashes or dots and lines (floaters) in vision
- Recent and sudden loss of vision
- Foreign body in the eye
In most cases, the service will be able to treat the patient quickly and easily. If hospital treatment is needed, the service will arrange an emergency appointment with an eye specialist at a hospital – meaning that patients have access to the right care straightaway.
Appointments can be made by finding a participating practice on the Primary Eyecare website and contacting them directly.
Wendy Craven, clinical director for Primary Eyecare, said: “It’s so important that we look after our eyes by having regular check-ups with an optician, but if you find yourself with a sudden, onset eye condition, the urgent eyecare service can give advice and treatment without delay.
“The NHS is currently under immense pressure with high demand for services; however, we want the public to feel confident that the NHS is there for them when they need medical help. An important step we can all take to support our own health and wellbeing, as well as the NHS, is to get to know where to go for our specific health needs so that we can get the treatment we need and faster.
“There is a hugely talented workforce in primary care opticians who have the equipment and skills required to assess, diagnose and where necessary treat eye problems. The UES has already allowed us to treat residents with timely, high quality care, with 81 per cent of patients who come to the UES not having to be referred to another service. This means that patients are seeing an eyecare specialist right away and reducing unnecessary hospital and GP visits.
“Anyone of any age who is experiencing an eye-related issue can access any of the UES practices – not just the one in your local borough, but any in Greater Manchester.”
Find out more on the Primary Eyecare website.