NHS Lothian Eyecare Treatment Centre open to locals

NHS Lothian’s new Emergency Eyecare Treatment Centre ensures that patients with serious or emergency eye conditions receive prompt care and treatment following a face-to-face clinic appointment.

Thursday, 11th June 2020, 6:48 am
Kevin Wallace, Optometric Advisor, performs an eye examination on Mrs Cathy Wright in the Emergency Eyecare Treatment Centre.

The centre was opened to support emergency face-to-face eye care during the Covid-19 pandemic. Currently community opticians are providing only remote consultations and triage to reduce the risk posed to patients and staff.

The Emergency Eyecare Treatment Centre (EETC) has received more than 440 patient referrals since its launch on April 15.

To access the service, people worried about their vision should phone a local optician for an assessment.

If the optician decides a face-to-face consultation is necessary, an appointment is arranged at the EETC.

The EETC provides a Lothian-wide service from its base in the Lothian Optometry Teach and Treat (LOTT) Clinic at the Lauriston Building, Edinburgh.

Opened in conjunction with primary care colleagues, it is run by Independent Prescribing Optometrists, supported by our nursing and administration team.

Kevin Wallace, optometric advisor, NHS Lothian, said: “Lothian optometrists have been providing an excellent service to their patients through remote consultations, often using video technology. When necessary, the optometrists have been referring patients for face-to-face assessment in the EETC, where we’ve seen conditions such as serious infections, DIY injuries, and ocular foreign bodies. Most of these conditions are treated in a single visit, without the patient having to go to our main eye hospital, the Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion.”

NHS Lothian is keen to reassure the public that anyone concerned about their eyesight during the pandemic will receive appropriate advice and support and that they should not delay seeking help.

Mr Jas Singh, consultant ophthalmologist and clinical director, ophthalmology, NHS Lothian, said: “I would urge anyone who has any concerns about their vision to contact their local optician in the first instance. They should not wait, as we are here to help.”

Staff in the EETC are delighted with the centre’s success over its first few weeks.

Gill Wilkie, NHS Lothian’s acting clinical service manager, Ophthalmology, said: “The EETC is an excellent example of primary and secondary care working together to quickly develop a safe and efficient service to deal with eye problems during the current pandemic.

“It has been so successful that discussions are taking place on how to continue to use the excellent resource of independent prescribing optometrists to relieve pressure on the Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion when normal service resumes.”