Kirkintilloch opticians look to the future

MSP Fiona McLeod with Specsavers' Neil Drain
MSP Fiona McLeod with Specsavers' Neil Drain

A new high-tech system to ensure eye problems are dealt with swiftly has been introduced in East Dunbartonshire.

Specsavers, in Kirkintilloch, recently became one of the first opticians in the area to introduce the new time-saving referral system as part of NHS Scotland’s ‘eHealth agenda’.

Under the new scheme people attending their opticians will be able to have copies of their retinal photographs - which can highlight a whole range of medical problems - digitally sent to an ophthalmologist.

A copy of their eye test can also be sent to the specialist doctor, meaning fewer people will have the inconvenience of having to attend hospital.

If the referral needs to be followed up by an actual appointment the new system will allow the optician to keep track of individual cases and ensure that no patients are left waiting for an unreasonable time.

Referrals can also be marked as urgent, which means patients must be seen within two weeks.

Currently, East Dunbartonshire has one of the fastest growing elderly populations in Scotland.

The new, high-tech eyecare service has been welcomed by Strathkelvin and Bearsden MSP Fiona McLeod, who recently visited Specsavers to see the system in action.

She said: “With the high number of older people who live in East Dunbartonshire we have to ‘think outside the box’ when it comes to providing care and services which help them be as independent as possible and stay in their own home longer.

“Everyone knows the saying ‘old age doesn’t come alone’ and it can mean deteriorating eyesight as well as sight specific conditions such as glaucoma.

“It can be a hassle and time consuming going to your optician, being referred to the eye hospital, getting transport and so on – but with the new programme customers can have high resolution imaging of their eyes taken at their optician, which are then sent electronically to the hospital eye service to be checked.”

Neil Drain, director at Specsavers Kirkintilloch, said: “We are delighted to be supporting the new referral system within our store.

“The new programme will allow us to receive feedback from the ophthalmologists by post with the outcome of any referrals. Altogether the referral programme will be a much better system for customers, ophthalmologists and ourselves.”