Optometry Scotland has warmly welcomed the introduction of free eye examinations for everyone in Scotland on 1st April 2006. The traditional NHS sight test is primarily designed for those who require spectacles, has been replaced by a comprehensive eye examination appropriate to a patient's needs, symptoms and general health and which may not necessarily include a sight test for spectacles. The new examination is free at point of use to all patients, whereas previously certain categories of patients were required to pay for the old sight test.
Through enabling legislation in the Smoking, Health and Social Care (Scotland) Bill, Optometry Scotland has formulated a New NHS Eye Examination. It has the following key benefits:
- A free eye examination for every person in Scotland
- An examination that is appropriate to their needs and symptoms
- Refraction is not a mandatory part of the New NHS Eye Examination
- Optometrists can manage more eye conditions in the community
- It will reduce inappropriate referrals to hospitals by the introduction of repeat tests and procedures
i.e. a supplementary examination
- It will encourage the use of dilation, contact tonometry and full threshold fields
- It paves the way for an increase in co-managed care between hospital ophthalmologists and local community optometrists
- It reduces health inequality by making rural and low volume practices more viable
A link to The Scottish Executive Press Release is available below.