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New NHS eye care centre opens at the School of Optometry and Vision Sciences

21 March 2022

Optom clinic
The first medical retina clinic featuring some of our optometrists.

A new NHS Wales University Eye Care Centre has opened at the School of Optometry and Vision Sciences with the aim of reducing hospital waiting times for patients requiring eye care.

The project has been set up in partnership with Cardiff and Vale University Health Board and was established to improve access to eye care and support the recovery of services to pre-pandemic levels. The aim of the project is for patients with glaucoma and medical retina conditions to be independently managed by optometrists under the supervision of experienced and qualified specialist optometrists.  Support will be available from University Hospital Wales ophthalmologists when a surgical opinion is required.

The project, which began last September, is currently providing training for seven optometrists to attain the College of Optometrists Higher Certificate in Glaucoma. Attending the clinic for one or two sessions per week since September, together they have seen over 300 patients with glaucoma and ocular hypertension as they work towards their qualification.

Lead glaucoma clinician, Angela Whitaker, says: “It is hugely rewarding to help fellow optometrists gain invaluable experience in managing patients with all stages of glaucoma; the optometrists really excel in the clinics and are wonderful to work with. This collaboration is hugely beneficial to the Health Board and the patients, and it enables consultants to see only those who need surgical treatment.”

This new clinic builds on the glaucoma clinic that opened last year whereby University Hospital Wales glaucoma patients are being assessed and managed in the same University facility. This new partnership between Cardiff University and Cardiff and Vale University Health Board demonstrates how collaborative working between Primary Care Optometry and Secondary Care Ophthalmology can lead to increased clinic capacity to support the management of the growing number of patients requiring eye care.

The first Medical Retina Clinic took place earlier this month at the centre and the team are looking forward to many more.

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We provide short courses as well as postgraduate courses through our Wales Optometry Postgraduate Education Centre.