PATIENTS in West Cornwall are set to benefit from a new cataract clinic that will reduce the number of appointments between referral and treatment.
The first of the cataract clinics took place this week and specialists from RCHT's ophthalmology service will be at West Cornwall Hospital every other Monday, seeing around 25 patients during the day.
"Around 80 to 90 per cent of the patients referred to the clinic by opticians or GPs will have a diagnosis of a cataract confirmed and will need to go on for surgery," said David Jones, consultant ophthalmologist.
"Until now patients would come for an initial consultation and then go away without any certainty of the date for their pre-operative assessment or the cataract surgery itself."
But now patients referred to the cataract clinic will go through a three-step process on the day where they will not only have their diagnosis confirmed but will also be measured for their lens implant and screened for their suitability for surgery.
When patients first arrive they have an eye examination and accurate measurements are taken of the size and shape of their eye.
Blood pressure is also tested and then the patient's pupils are dilated ready for an examination by the consultant ophthalmologist.
After seeing the consultant, who will confirm the need for cataract surgery, discuss the pros and cons of going ahead with an operation and put them on the waiting list, patients are reviewed by a specialist nurse.
At the end of their appointment, patients go home knowing that they will get an appointment to return to West Cornwall Hospital for their cataract surgery within 12 weeks.
One of the first patients at the clinic was Paul Tarplee from Carbis Bay.
Paul said: "I had started to notice a change in my eye and the likelihood of a cataract was picked up when I went for a check-up with my optician.
"They referred me through and I got an appointment within a couple of weeks. I've now had the diagnosis confirmed and everything is in place to go ahead with surgery in a few weeks' time."