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Eye care pathways in Northumberland

Eye care pathways Northumberland

Eye care pathways in Northumberland – do they really work and how could they be improved?

In Northumberland, as across England as a whole, growing numbers of people are living with sight loss or impairment. This is likely to increase further as people live longer since a good deal of vision impairment is related to the ageing process. The estimated number of people living with sight loss in Northumberland is 13,500 (4% of the county’s population) which is higher than the national average and this is estimated to rise to 5% of the county’s population by 2032.

Consequently, vision rehabilitation services are considered key to prevention, supporting independence, and reducing demand for health and social care services.

The total estimated indirect cost of sight loss in Northumberland is over £32million. In 2020-2021 people in Northumberland living with sight loss and a wider audience told Vision Northumberland that some people in the county experience unfair barriers to accessing registration and low vision/rehabilitation services, that the eye care pathway in Northumberland was flawed, and that people did not know what services were available to them.

People stressed the importance of:

  • Support close to home rather than travelling to Newcastle
  • Support that focuses on the health and wellbeing impacts of sight loss such as depression, social isolation and loneliness
  • Good support from officers such as Eye Clinic Liaison Officers, low vision specialists and rehabilitation officers
  • Joined up working and effective signposting between services
  • Developing the necessary skills to live with sight loss and maintain independence
  • Access to comprehensive assessments that balance different aspects of a person’s life
  • Health and social care professionals who are compassionate, understand the challenges of sight loss, and have knowledge of visual rehabilitation services and support
  • Accessible information and advice especially in GP services

This report, funded by Healthwatch Northumberland, follows up on that work asking the key questions:

What challenges do people with sight loss in Northumberland experience when accessing registration and low vision/rehabilitation services as outlined in the Care Act 2014?
Does the eye care pathway really work in Northumberland and how could it be improved?

Read the eye care pathways in Northumberland report

National Eye Health Week 2020

This week is National Eye Health Week (NEHW). It runs from 21 to 27 September, promoting the importance of good eye health and the need for regular eye tests for all.

David Cartwright, chair of Eye Health UK, the charity responsible for organising the National Eye Health Week (NEHW) campaign explains: “NEHW provides a unique opportunity for everyone involved in optics to join forces and inspire people to take positive steps to keep their eyes and vision healthy as well as preventing avoidable sight loss.

“Delays in people seeking treatment during lockdown and reduced capacity in optical practice mean it’s important that those with greatest need are prioritised. This year’s National Eye Health Week will seek to mobilise those that are experiencing problems with their vision or eye health and encourage them to seek help from their local eye care practitioner.”

Throughout the week watch out for advice about looking after your eyes and the 10 Best Eye Health Habits. These include: eating a healthy, balanced diet, not smoking, watching your weight and wearing sunglasses to protect your eyes from UV damage.

Each day of the week will feature a different theme. Themes for 2020 include: Ageing eyes, screen use and kids’ eye health.

Visit the Vision Matters website for top tips and resources to look after your eyes including a podcast, new online eye health calculator and vision simulator.

If you notice a change to your vision or have any concerns about your eye health contact your local optician.

Why not tell us about your local optician to help improve services. How was the service your received? Did you struggle to get seen during lockdown? Tell us your story here.

Events

Glaucoma Support Session Hexham

As part of national Eye Health Week, the International Glaucoma Association is holding information events in Alnwick and Hexham this September. If you or someone you know is living with glaucoma, come along to get some support and information. Refreshments will be provided.

If you would like more details or to book a place please contact Hannah Morrow on: 07854 821911 or email h.morrow@iga.org.uk.

Glaucoma Support Session Alnwick

As part of national Eye Health Week, the International Glaucoma Association is holding information events in Alnwick and Hexham this September. If you or someone you know is living with glaucoma, come along to get some support and information. Refreshments will be provided.

If you would like more details or to book a place please contact Hannah Morrow on: 07854 821911 or email h.morrow@iga.org.uk.

Northumberland County Blind Association: Information and Equipment Day

A chance for blind and partially sighted people to come along and try the latest equipment from some of the leading suppliers of low vision aids and solutions. There will be free information, advice and support from organisations including:

  • Associated Optical
  • Enhanced Vision
  • HumanWare
  • Optelec
  • Pamtrad
  • Royal National Institute for the Blind
  • British Wireless for the Blind
  • Blind Veterans UK
  • Macular Society

 

Everyone is welcome.

For more information visit Northumberland County Blind Association or call: 01670 514316.