Contact lens opticians practicing in Wales have now been granted permission to deliver acute eye care services as part of the Eye Health Examinations Wales service.
After lengthy discussions, the Welsh Government in consultation with Optometry Wales, the EHEW clinical lead and the Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO) has confirmed that all practising CLOs in Wales can apply to commence Wales Optometry Postgraduate Education Centre (WOPEC) EHEW accreditation training with the view of participating in the EHEW scheme on successful completion.
Commenting on CLO participation Dr Nik Sheen, Director of WOPEC said: ‘Delivery of the EHEW service now enables Contact Lens Opticians to see those patients presenting with an acute eye care problem. This is great news for Wales and particularly practices that are seeing increasing numbers of these patients so that the skills and expertise of contact lens opticians can be utilised fully’.
Sali Davis Chief Executive Optometry Wales said: ‘Optometry Wales is keen to ensure widespread use of CLOs to help deliver these vital clinical services in a community setting. This is a great achievement for ABDO and we look forward to supporting this invaluable contribution that CLOs can make to the workforce in Wales’.
ABDO Deputy Chief Executive Barry Duncan said: ‘Clearly this represents a further step forward in multi-disciplinary working between the optometrist and contact lens optician in the community optical practice. It also recognises the skill set of contact lens opticians and the role they can play in eye health provision. ABDO is delighted with the forward thinking approach of all colleagues in Wales and expresses sincere gratitude to those who have made this possible’.
The training process will complement the system currently operating in England. Upon completion of the online training modules the practitioner will attend an ABDO Extended Services Training Day in collaboration with WOPEC followed by the WOPEC EHEW accreditation training. Contact lens opticians who want to take part in the EHEW accreditation training should contact Sharon Beatty at WOPEC BeattyS@Cardiff.ac.uk for further information.