The Welsh government are concerned that people are losing their sight due to diagnosis and treatment coming too late.
In Wales nearly 100,000 people have sight loss problems and it is expected that that number could double by 2050, reports the BBC.
Due to this the Welsh government have created an eye care delivery plan, which they say is pioneering. The Royal National Institute of Blind People has said that they hope it will mean fewer people suffered with preventable problems.
Figures show that around 75% of sight loss occurs in people over the age of 65 and that there are worries sight problems will only get older as the population continues to age.
The plan has set out a range of commitments:
– Annual eye tests for children in special schools and regular eye tests for elderly people in care homes.
– Treatment should be given closer to home.
– Skills of opticians should be made better use of to reduce the number of unnecessary referrals to hospital.
– It also aims to improve the range of services among optometry practises and will be monitored by a task group to ensure targets are met.
Ceri Jackson, RNIB Cymru director says that the problem was compounded because when people were diagnosed they did not always receive treatment fast enough.
“Sadly, we do hear of people who do lose their sight who are registered blind or partially sighted because they have not been seen in the time they when should be seen,” she said.
“What I hope this plan will do is place more emphasis and priority around joining up those services across primary and secondary care so we do make sure people don’t lose their sight unnecessarily.”
Launching the new plan, Mark Drakerford, Health Minister, says that estimates suggest that in half the cases reported complete sight loss could have been prevented.
Mr Drakeford said: “With cases of sight lost set to increase by 22% by 2020 and double by 2050 due to the ageing population, we have to act now. We need to ensure more people have regular sight tests and that eye health problems are detected early. People need to know where they can access services, care and support in their local area and also be assured they will have rapid access to services and support when they need it.”
Mr Drakeford believes the plan will ensure services were in place to prevent and treat problems around eye sight.