Optometrists (ophthalmic opticians) who are registered to take part in the WECS may perform, free of charge, one of the following special types of eye examinations, depending on the patient:
- Selected categories of patients who may be at greater risk of eye disease and may be entitled to an eye healthcare examination. A request for this can be made from the patient themselves or from the patient's G.P.
- A patient who has a sudden eye problem can request an Eye Health Examination Wales. This request can be from the patient themselves or via their G.P.
Any member of the public can receive either of these eye examinations by visiting a Eye Health and EHEW registered optometrist (ophthalmic optician). A list of accredited optometrists is available here: - Services in your area.
Accredited optometrists will often display the purple smiling face in their practice windows. The logo can be seen at the top of this page.
If you are an optometrist/GP or other Health care professional and would like to know more about these schemes: -Professionals
If you are a member of the public and would like to know more about these eye examinations continue reading.
Some frequently asked questions about the EHEW are listed below.
How do I know if I am entitled to an EHEW eye examination?
You are entitiled to an Eye Health Examination Wales (EHEW) examination if:
You have been referred by your GP to an EHEW registered optometrist with an eye problem.
You have an eye problem that occurred suddenly (acutely) and you think it requires urgent or immediate attention.
You have sight in one eye only, i.e. you are effectively blind in your worse eye.
You have a hearing impairment and are profoundly deaf
You suffer from retinitis pigmentosa.
Your family origins are Black African, Black Caribbean, Indian, Pakistani or Bangladeshi.
You are at risk of eye disease by other reasons of race or family history.
You can ask your GP for a referral to a registered optometrist or you may visit the optometrist yourself and explain why you are entitled to an EHEW eye examination.
What is special about these groups?
Sudden eye problems can be serious and prompt assessment is advisable. In the past, people with sudden eye problems visited their G.P. which often meant they had to wait to be seen. Now, if you have an immediate eye problem, which you think may be serious, you can visit an optometrist who is registered with the WECS scheme and have an appointment on the same day. Also, the WECS scheme allows G.Ps to refer patients with a sudden eye problem straight to a registered optometrist. Optometrists are well placed in the community to check out these types of eye problems quickly and effectively. Research has shown that certain groups of people are more likely to develop glaucoma, diabetes, cataracts and other related eye diseases. Other people in the scheme would find losing their sight particularly difficult, so special care needs to be taken to identify early eye disease.
Do I have to see my GP first?
Not necessarily, if you have an acute eye problem you can simply contact a WECS registered optometrist, without having to see your G.P. However, if you have a sudden eye problem and you would like to visit your G.P. then you may do so. Your G.P. can then decide if they think it is necessary for you to be referred to a WECS registered optometrist.
What are the warning signs of eye disease?
Identifying the warning signs can be difficult. You can't always see the problems by looking in a mirror, and many of the diseases have no pain or discomfort - so it's important to have your eyes checked.
Is the new eye examination the same as a sight test?
No, it is different from the routine sight test for glasses. The Eye Care Initiative eye examination focuses particularly on the health of your eye. An optometrist who is registered with the scheme will thoroughly check your eyes for any signs of disease. Also, the EHEW and Eye Health exams are free of charge for the patient provided they fall into one of the above categories.
Where can I have the eye health examination?
Penny Barton Optician, 19 Newport Road, Caldicot
How often should I have the examination?
If you are having the examination because you have an acute eye problem then the optometrist will advise you. If you fall into any other group, e.g. you have ethnic family origins, or you have a hearing impairment, we recommend that you should have the examination once every year.
Full details are at www.eyecarewales.nhs.uk