For the foreseeable future the main focus will be on the delivery of the “Developing Eye Care Partnerships” strategy which covers all aspects of eye care services in Northern Ireland. Optometry plays a major role in the delivery of the strategy outcomes and this is reflected in the representation optometry (both hospital and community) has in the five task groups. Please find a link to the strategy below.
Probably the main areas of work here will be the development of care pathways for particular eye conditions and what optometry’s role will be within that. The glaucoma pathway is almost complete and as you probably know this has resulted in the Local Enhanced Service for optometry around repeat measures using contact tonometry. This pathway will soon also offer all optometrists the chance to work as “COSIs” (Community Optometrists with a Special Interest) in the new glaucoma service based at the Shankhill Health and Wellbeing centre under the supervision of ophthalmology glaucoma consultants.
The next pathway for development will be for the diagnosis and management of the “acute eye”. Many similar pathways have been developed across the UK with optometry playing a major role.
I feel optometry is extremely well placed to provide many enhanced services which will ensure that people have improved and timely access to good quality eye care close to their homes.
David Barnes Chairman Optometry NI 03/03/2014