EYE health experts in Yorkshire are working closely together to help protect the vision of residents in their safe and secure practices.

Dispensing Optician, Paul Verity, owner of Paul Verity Opticians in Ilkley, has recently seen a number of patients whose vision had deteriorated throughout lockdown, largely due to cataract.

Cataract is the natural age-related clouding of the lens, which will worsen over time and can only be treated with surgery.

The Ilkley optician has been working with Optegra Eye Hospital Yorkshire – based in Apperley Bridge - to help patients who have needed treatment during the challenges of 2020, referring both NHS and private patients.

Mr Shafiq Rehman, Ambassador Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon at Optegra Yorkshire, said: “It is vital that eye checks continue despite local and national lockdowns, as some serious eye conditions have no symptoms in the early stages. The sooner we can diagnose and treat them the more successful the treatment may be, and so eye checks are essential both for improved day-to-day vision as well as longer-term eye health.”

And while the nation experiences another lockdown Paul Verity calls on local people not to neglect their eyesight. He said: “As essential healthcare providers, Verity Opticians will remain open throughout this second lockdown. Working under our established Covid safety protocols, we will continue to take and fulfill eye test appointments, supply spectacles and contact lenses, carry out spectacle repairs or give general eyecare advice.

“If you have any doubts that you are not seeing as well as you should be, don’t put it off, contact your local optometrist practice.

“They will have the skills, the services and the optical products to help you get the best from your vision and enhance your lifestyle.

“And rest assured that safety measures are in place to keep you safe from Covid-19.”

Based on The Grove, the optician remained open throughout the previous lockdown, and intends to do the same in lockdown two.

Paul said: “While the front door was locked so we could minimise numbers at any one time, our team of experts were available every day to respond to telephone enquiries and triaging them for seriousness. This meant we could fulfil our local community's eye care needs either across the doorstep, through delivery to their homes or bringing patients into the practice for examination when vision was compromised.

“Once restrictions were lifted, and our professional bodies allowed it, we could then unlock the door again and the people of Ilkley responded well.”

Both Paul Verity Opticians and Optegra Eye Hospital Yorkshire have adapted their environments to keep everyone safe and ensure that treatments can continue.

Within the opticians this included a lot of cleaning, lengthened appointment times to one hour to allow for this, and so reducing overall capacity. The optometrist wears full PPE, they work behind perspex screens and have multiple hand gel stations around the practice.

They have also purchased a UVC steriliser so that the small testing items and the frames that people try on can be quickly and efficiently sterilised for next use. They have a pre-examination questionnaire, checking on medical history including any issues with Covid-19.

At Optegra Yorkshire, there is screening before appointments, patients are asked to only arrive a few minutes before their appointment when they will have their temperature checked and are provided aprons, facemasks and hand sanitiser. They are asked to attend alone unless assistance is needed.

Patients are limited at any one time and new, successful virtual consultations mean that much of the face-to-face consultation time is reduced as those questions have already been covered.

Paul has referred a number of local patients to Optegra for cataract surgery this year.