Specsavers Batley and Dewsbury look after area’s eye care to help take unnecessary pressure off NHS

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An opticians in Batley and Dewsbury are urging people with essential or urgent eye-related issues to contact them directly to help ease pressure on the NHS during the coronavirus outbreak.

So far, Specsavers Batley and Dewsbury have supported those with eye problems of varying severity in lockdown to ensure pressure was taken off local hospitals, which included an elderly gentleman who complained of blurred vision and an irritated eye – he was seen by the optician the same day and referred to the local eye clinic as he had a shingles infection in his cornea.

They also saw a 24-year-old lady who experienced double vision over the course of a week; the sign of a blockage in a vessel or a problem with the nerves supplying the ocular muscles. After a telephone consultation, she was referred to hospital and seen by a specialist within the hour.

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They also had a customer who was complaining of a yellow spot in his eye. Although worried, a video consultation with the store diagnosed him with a condition called pingecula, which is treatable with some over the counter ocular lubricants.

Various customers also called with headache or migraine complaints. After phone consultations, these were then either referred, if serious, or simply reassured.

Both store’s Opthalmic Director, Nicola Nisbet, said: “Our aim is to keep customers at home wherever possible. Our open for care service means customers who have concerns about their eyes can telephone us for advice, and we can provide support either in-store for emergencies or over the phone to help us asses them.

“Much of the time we will be able to resolve their problems this way, and keep them at home where it is safest – this will also help to ease the burden on GPs, pharmacies and hospitals during the crisis.

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“Where face-to-face treatment is necessary, we will make arrangements for customers to be assessed in an environment that complies with the latest government advice to reduce the risk of the virus spreading.

“The service has proved especially useful for local key workers who couldn’t do their jobs without our help, and we’ve already been able to assist lots of people across the area whose eye problems would otherwise have caused them real distress during the crisis.”

If anyone is required to attend the store for emergencies, they will be asked to do so – and key workers will be prioritised. Any face-to-face contact will be minimal, handled in-line with current Government’s guidelines.

Nicola added: “We’re proud to provide vital care for our community at this time and I’m delighted we are able to support those who need it as safely as possible. We’d urge anyone with concerns about their eyes at this time to contact their optician, in the first instance, to take the burden off our NHS workers - we’re always here to help.”

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Customers are being encouraged to call the store if they need urgent support with a sight problem, or if they have issues with their glasses, contact lenses or hearing aids.

Specsavers’ teams are classed as key workers to provide urgent and essential eye care to those who need it. This includes supporting other key workers who couldn’t function without our help and people who would come to harm without our health expertise, especially where the usual hospital services and NHS facilities are being prioritised for the fight against COVID-19.

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