New mobile eye service helps to save sight in Yorkshire

Practice Plus Group Ophthalmology in Rochdale is thrilled to announce a new, sight-saving mobile eye service in York and Bradford for the debilitating disease Wet Age-related Macular Degeneration (Wet AMD).

Optometrist studies a patient at mobile eye service in Yorkshire
Optometrist studies a patient’s eyes

About the mobile eye service

The mobile eye service, delivered provides quick and effective treatment for NHS patients who have been referred by their optician or GP for treatment for Wet AMD, diabetic macular oedema and retinal vein occlusions. Patients will be offered an appointment within 72 hours of referral, more than a week faster than the Royal College of Ophthalmologists guidelines.

Patients will be treated by specialist nurses, with care overseen remotely via internet access by the ophthalmology consultant team, overseen by Karen Goodall, a consultant in macular and retinal disease and National Medical Director for Practice Plus Group- Macular services.

“Wet AMD causes people to lose their central vision. It is caused when abnormal blood vessels grow into the macular area, which is responsible for central vision. Blood or fluid can leak from these vessels, causing scarring and rapid loss of vision.

“According to the Macular Society, age-related macular degeneration currently affects more than 600,000 people in the UK and is one of the leading causes of vision loss in the adult population. Estimates indicate that around 39,800 people develop wet AMD in the UK each year; The good news is that, with prompt treatment, deterioration can be stopped in its tracks and a person’s sight saved.

Karen Goodall

“We have established fast-track referral pathways for optometrists and GPs that ensure, the moment they become concerned that their patient may have Wet AMD, they can call us for an appointment. We aim to see, diagnose and treat patients within 72 hrs of referral and, mainly due to patient choice, achieve, 100% within a week – twice as quickly as the Royal College of Ophthalmology guidelines, – as a result our outcomes are among the best in the country.”

Investment and impact

We have invested more than £300,000 in the mobile clinical unit, which incorporates a waiting room, assessment area, and treatment room in which patients receive the sight-stabilising injections.

The service will prevent people with visual problems from having to travel considerable distances from their homes for treatment. It will be possible for local patients, who currently travel outside the area to receive treatment, to be transferred to the new local service by their GP or optometrist.

AMD Nurse Practitioner Lynn Ford, who will be helping to deliver the service, said: “Patients come to us at a time in their lives when they are feeling particularly vulnerable. They may have started to lose their central vision, and the thought of having injections into their eye may also cause anxiety.

“Previous patients have told us that at a time when their vision is compromised and confidence affected, trips too large, imposing hospitals can be frightening. We bring our service into the community, arranging appointments at the closest location to a patient’s home in a smaller, friendlier, more welcoming environment.

“Standard treatment includes three injections over three months, and further injections as needed. We continue treating and reassessing until we are satisfied that we have slowed down and stabilised any sight loss. We also refer patients to other services and support groups where appropriate.

“Some of my regular patients say it becomes almost a quiet moment out of the day for a chat, a relax and they feel better after it. I am sure our new patients will feel the same way.”

AMD Nurse Practitioner Lynn Ford

The York service will visit B&Q car park, Clifton Moor Retail Park, Rawcliffe, York, YO30 4XU.

The Bradford service will visit B&Q car park, Leeds Old Road, Bradford, BD3 7BQ.