South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has used a speech in the Scottish Parliament to thank eye healthcare professionals who worked tirelessly through the pandemic to ensure patients were treated.
Speaking during a debate tabled for National Eye Health Week 2021 on Wednesday, Colin Smyth said eye health checks are one of our most “vital” forms of preventative medicine.
Colin, who is also a member of the cross-party group on visual impairment, said: “I want to take this opportunity to thank all those who look after our eye health—our optometrists, our opticians and everyone else who helps us take care of our vision.
“Eye health checks can be crucial in picking up conditions before they get worse. I will briefly share my own experience in that respect. Some time ago, I noticed what appeared to be a few floating objects and little flashes of light in my vision, so I popped into my local Specsavers to describe my condition and ask for advice.
“I was seen straight away and was very quickly diagnosed with a torn retina; I was then referred to the hospital that very day to see the on-call ophthalmologist, and the next morning, I received laser treatment to repair the tear.
“Had I not had such prompt service, the tear could very easily and quickly have led to a detached retina, which could have permanently affected my vision.
“Eye health checks not only pick up such conditions but can detect general health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. Indeed, that ability to pick up eye and more general conditions makes such checks one of the most vital forms of preventative medicine.”
Colin continued: “As with all health services, optometry practices have had to adapt to the pandemic to create a Covid-secure environment and minimise the risk of transmitting infection.
“They have done so superbly, and constituents can be assured that it is safe to attend their local optometry practice.
“However, I have been worried to hear in the debate about the significant reduction in the number of people choosing to attend eye health checks over the past 18 months.
“We need to keep highlighting the importance of those routine eye health checks.”