The role of optician staff is changing. Optometrists, dispensing opticians and optician staff are more frequently having to provide patients with medical advice. The gradual increase in cases of long-term eye disease has meant that staff need to be able speak to patients about how to protect their vision as well as having more medical knowledge to know when to refer patients to hospital.
When a patient has a known eye disease, regular monitoring is usually recommended by seeing a consultant ophthalmologist. Typically patients with glaucoma, AMD, diabetic retinopathy and ocular hypertension require regular monitoring. More specifically, we recommend patients with the following observations are monitored at least once per year:
Glaucoma - patients with a visual field defect in one or both eyes or an abnormal OCT disc scan (thinning of the neuroretinal rim).
Ocular hypertension - patients with a pressure greater than 21 mmHg and risk factors such as OCT changes, thin corneas, tilted optic discs and peripapillary atrophy or a positive family history of glaucoma.
Ocular hypertension - patients with a pressure reading above 25 mmHg even if they have a normal OCT disc appearance.
Age-related macular degeneration - patients with dry AMD with poor vision in one or both eyes or any new abnormalities on the OCT macular scan.
Diabetic retinopathy - patients with poor control of diabetic blood sugar levels or new abnormalities on the OCT macular scan.
Patients have three choices on monitoring their condition: through the NHS, self funded private care or through OcuPlan.
Their local NHS service Patients are eligible to receive a free review in the NHS. They are likely to see a different doctor at each visit and this may not be their consultant, but they will normally have access to their previous medical notes for continuity of care. The NHS will usually send them an appointment with a set date and time. Some parts of the country use virtual NHS clinics where they may not see a doctor and your test results usually get interpreted later.
Self funded private care Paying for private care allows the patient to choose their consultant, when and where they are seen, they also see the same doctor at each visit. This helps to provide good continuity of care, longer appointment times and peace of mind. They can also have their eye investigations performed privately, but they will usually have to pay extra for these.
OcuPlan care packages OcuPlan is a new way for patients to access all the benefits of private eye care, but in a more cost-effective way. It sits in the middle-ground in terms of cost and typically saves patients up to 50% compared to self-funded private eye care. Cost savings are made by having investigations with recognised OcuPlan optometrists who upload the results for their private consultant, who they then see in their private clinic at a time and place convenient for them. They can also spread payments out over the year with 12 monthly installments at no extra cost.
In line with our values of being fair, open and honest, we want to ensure that we are transparent with patients and provide them with all the information they need to decide on what eye care is right for them. We also want to provide our optometrists with information they might need to help offer advice to patients on the care available. To assist you, we have created a non branded downloadable PDF that includes information on the options available to your patients. This can either be used in house, or provided to your patients.
OcuPlan is committed to working with our network to help provide the best possible eye care for patients with long-term eye disease. If you have have any questions regarding patient options, or how OcuPlan can help your practice and patients, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.