Chairman Update


Chairman’s update July 2014

Over the last year ONI have been working closely with optometry
colleagues in the Health & Social Care Board to develop a pilot for a
PEARS (Primary Eyecare Assessment and Referral Scheme). This scheme will
enable accredited optometrists to investigate and manage, or triage for
onward referral, patients presenting with acute, sudden onset mainly
anterior, non-sight threatening eye problems who would otherwise visit
their GP or Emergency Hospital Eye Services.

A recent review of ophthalmology referrals across NI indicated that approximately 15% of
patients who are referred to the Hospital Eye Service with anterior eye
problems could be managed successfully in primary care optometry

Following training and assessment, this pilot will commence in September
2014 and will involve 15 optometric practices in the Armagh/Dungannon
area. The pilot will run for approximately 6 months and if proved successful the hope would be to extend the scheme across NI. Thanks to all our colleagues in the pilot practices for their participation. Please contact ONI if you would like further details.

Best Wishes


David Barnes (Chair)

About Optometry Northern Ireland

Optometry Northern Ireland was established from the Negotiating committee for Northern Ireland and has representation from the main associations for optometrists and dispensing opticians in N.I. Local Optometric Committees in Northern Ireland are also represented. The reason for our formation was to present a united voice to the Northern Ireland Department of Health, politicians, media and others.

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