A specialist eye clinic which has already helped to improve the eyesight of over a thousand people in the North East is celebrating its one year anniversary this week. The new Optegra clinic has already completed almost 2.5k individual NHS cataract surgeries.
It has also hosted a special CPD event to mark its anniversary – attracting 70 community optometrists to a talk by Optegra surgeon Jaswant Sandhu about YAG laser capsulotomy. The interactive session allowed each participant to secure five CPD points.
Since opening its doors in November 2021, Optegra Eye Clinic Newcastle has welcomed approximately 1,800 NHS cataract patients, many having two eye procedures, within a few weeks of referral. They may otherwise have had to wait up to year for surgery, as the waiting lists reached an all-time high following the pandemic.
Simon Ferguson from Eyeworks Opticians in Whitley Bay has referred over 100 patients so far. He says: “The reason I use Optegra is simple. Both resident surgeons provide accurate and consistent post operative results giving high levels of vision with excellent recovery. They have been exemplary in their communications and the location has been key enabling our patients to travel a relatively short distance for treatment. For those without transport the free transport offered by Optegra is something other providers do not offer.
“In fact I have been so impressed that my mother had both her cataracts successfully treated at Optegra Newcastle and is very happy with the results!”
The five-star clinic on the Team Valley Trading Estate is dedicated purely to treating NHS patients and has helped to substantially reduce waiting times for cataract surgery in the region, which were one of the longest in the country after the pandemic.
Optegra’s partnership with the NHS means that GPs and opticians can refer patients to the Newcastle clinic for treatment within weeks. In fact Optegra has built up relationships with approximately 120 local optometrist practices who now refer their cataract patients to the clinic.
Cataract can develop slowly over time, causing blurred vision, clouding of vision and even double vision for some people. As it happens so gradually, patients often do not realise how badly their eyesight had deteriorated until they have the actual treatment.
Mary Scott from Swalwell was the first patient to be treated at Optegra Newcastle a year ago and she now says: “It has been fantastic, it did not take long for my eyes to settle and be back driving – even to visit my daughter down south. I can even drive at dusk now, no problem, which is when cataracts use to cause glare. Now I have the confidence to do that and it makes a big difference to me.
“It is as though I was wearing dirty or smudgy glasses, they have been taken off and it is all so clear and colours are so bright, I would recommend if to anyone – get your eyes done!”
Cataract surgery is the only treatment for cataracts, which affect one in three adults. The procedure is pain-free and the most commonly performed elective surgery in the NHS. It takes only around 10 minutes and is conducted as a day case procedure with no need for an overnight stay.