The Welsh Assembly Government has introduced two special types of eye examinations for selected categories of patients who live in Wales.
This examination has been specifically designed, by the health advisors to the Welsh Assembly, to detect eye disease in those patients potentially at greatest risk.
You will be entitled to this examination free of charge if your GP refers you or if you are eligible for reasons of personal or family health. Also see the Eye Care Wales website for more details.
The Welsh Assembly have also devised an examination to assist in the care of patients suffering acute eye problems, patients exhibiting certain signs and/or symptoms will be seen urgently free of charge under this new scheme. Please remember to describe any signs or symptoms to our staff, GP or NHS Direct as soon as you are aware of the problem.
Any member of the public can receive either of these eye examinations by visiting a Eye Health and PEARS registered optometrist (ophthalmic optician). Accredited optometrists will often display the purple smiling face in their practice windows.
Click on the links below for more information, you can also view the Eye Care Wales website here.
Sudden eye problems can be serious and prompt assessment is advisable. In the past, people with sudden eye problems visited their G.P. which often meant they had to wait to be seen. Now, if you have an immediate eye problem, which you think may be serious, you can visit an optometrist who is registered with the WECI scheme and have an appointment on the same day. Also, the WECI scheme allows G.Ps to refer patients with a sudden eye problem straight to a registered optometrist. Optometrists are well placed in the community to check out these types of eye problems quickly and effectively.
Research has shown that certain groups of people are more likely to develop glaucoma, diabetes, cataracts and other related eye diseases. Other people in the scheme would find losing their sight particularly difficult, so special care needs to be taken to identify early eye disease.
Not necessarily, if you have an acute eye problem you can simply contact a WECI registered optometrist, without having to see your G.P. However, if you have a sudden eye problem and you would like to visit your G.P. then you may do so. Your G.P. can then decide if they think it is necessary for you to be referred to a WECI registered optometrist.
No, if you fall into one of the listed groups then you can simply contact the optometrist and make an appointment.
Identifying the warning signs can be difficult. You can't always see the problems by looking in a mirror, and many of the diseases have no pain or discomfort - so it's important to have your eyes checked.
No, it is different from the routine sight test for glasses. The Eye Care Initiative eye examination focuses particularly on the health of your eye. An optometrist who is registered with the scheme will thoroughly check your eyes for any signs of disease. Also, the PEARS and Eye Health exams are free of charge for the patient provided they fall into one of the above categories.