By Alexa Kaczka
Many patients suffering from vision problems will have to wait for their condition to get even worse before they can receive NHS treatment, according to a new report.
Research carried out by Ultralase has found that a fifth of GP practices are changing the criteria they use to refer cataracts patients, with the average patient now waiting an additional 15 weeks for NHS treatment.
Even though 85 per cent of GPs polled believe that postponing treatment has a detrimental effect on patients' quality of life, nearly a third of practices say that their patients will now have to wait for their eyesight to deteriorate further before they can be referred to the NHS.
The poll found that in the majority of cases, patients who previously had 20:20 vision would not be eligible for treatment until their vision had deteriorated by at least four lines on a standard eye test chart and dropped to the minimum standard for driving.
The report was commissioned for National Cataracts Awareness Week, which is taking place between July 25th and 31st to raise awareness of the damaging eye condition in the UK.
by Martin Burns