While it is good news that promising new technology evokes new treatments for eye patients in England and Wales, there is a detriment to the advancement in therapy and treatment. That is, the additional demand placed on clinics and hospitals and the pressures that optical staff are now under to serve the numbers requiring appointments.Opticians in local towns are having to take on greater appointment strains in an attempt to lift the pressure on main hospital eye clinics.
There have been worrying figures collated from the Welsh Government that clearly show that waiting list times have doubled on figures from the previous year and with one hundred thousand already experiencing problems with vision loss it is believed that the number could be nearer two hundred thousand by 2050 as we are an aging population.As a case in point, the new treatment for wet macular degeneration that was released generally seven years ago opened the floodgates for all the new referrals and diagnosed patients to receive treatment, so prior to 2007 there were no treatments being made compared to around four thousand today that visit a clinic every four to six weeks.This means some patients exceed the recommend time periods for their injections / treatment, and while they do get them scheduled, they are not being completed as recommended.
For clinicians the pressure appears to be on making the first contact with new patients and not the diagnosed patients requiring follow ups.
There is a five year Eye Health Care Delivery Plan that is being introduced by the Welsh Government that will begin to implement changes to the structure of eye care including waiting times for patients.