Optometry extended services

Across Greater Manchester, optometry extended eyecare services are commissioned for delivery by accredited practices through Primary Eyecare Services. Some information about the services can be found below.

To get involved, practices should email Primary Eyecare Services: hello@referral.support.co.uk  

Urgent Eyecare Service

The Urgent Eyecare Service (UES) provides urgent assessment, treatment or referral for sudden onset eye problems such as flashes, floaters, vision loss or minor eye injuries.

In 2021/22, this saw 38,699 patients seen within the service across the 10 Greater Manchester places, with 81 per cent of these wholly managed within the service.

This service is commissioned across all 10 places through the optometry lead provider organisation – Primary Eyecare Services – and is delivered across 211 optometry practices.

Patients access the service by telephone or video call, followed by face-to-face assessment where required. Practices work as a network, using inter-practice referrals to maximise capacity.

Practices use diagnostic testing to support investigation and diagnosis where required, with the ability to share images with hospital eye services where onward referrals are required. In addition, independent prescriber optometrists have been used for the first time in Greater Manchester to support more complex cases, further enabling care close to home where possible.

Evaluation of the Greater Manchester Covid-19 Urgent Eyecare Service (CUES) showed the activity demonstrated sustained reduction in secondary care.

Integrated Cataract Service

The integrated cataract service sees patients access an enhanced cataract assessment, which supports shared decision making, and follow ups after cataract surgery through local optometry practices.

Easy Eye Care

Easy Eye Care provides enhanced sight testing service for patients with learning disabilities or autism.

Greater Manchester established a pathway for patients with learning disability to access Easy Eye Care in 2016. This sees supplementary funding used to enable patients with learning disabilities to access eyecare from optometry practices, using the national pathway developed in partnership with SeeAbility.

Adults and children with learning disabilities are much more likely to have problems with their vision than the general population. However, they are less likely to recognise they have a sight problem and tell others about it. The Learning Disability Eye Test is designed to make it easier for people with additional needs to access the help they need.

This service is commissioned across all 10 Greater Manchester places through the optometry lead provider organisation – Primary Eyecare Services – and is delivered across 54 optometry practices. The service supported more than 400 people in the first five years, a significant proportion of whom had never had an eye examination.

The service recognises that children and adults with learning disabilities may need adjustments to make having an eye test more comfortable and successful. These include:

  • The option to visit the optical practice before the test to become familiar with the surroundings and equipment used in the test.
  • Longer appointments or a series of shorter appointments so there is no time pressure.
  • A trained optometrist who is experienced in testing and talking to people with additional needs.
  • Easy-read forms to complete, telling the optician about any eye problems.
  • An easy-read report explaining the results of the eye test.

The service is soon to be enhanced with a new single point of access to support people with learning disabilities and their carers to gain easier access to this service.