Kenneth Gibson MSP has welcomed new figures which show that 18,783 children and 149,000 adults in NHS Ayrshire and Arran (NHSAA) received a free eye examination in the 2017/18, the highest numbers yet recorded since the service began.
The number of eye examinations carried out in NHSAA has risen by 59.7% for children and 51.3% for adults since the SNP Government came into office in 2007, while investment on eye examinations in Ayrshire has increased by 121.5% from £2,799,000 in 2006/7 to £6,202,000 in 2017/18.
In response to a written question from Mr Gibson, Health Secretary Jeane Freeman MSP confirmed that a total of 2,212,184 free eye examinations were carried out across Scotland in 2017/18, in line with the SNP Government’s commitment to improving Scotland’s health.
In England and Wales, if you do not meet the criteria for a free eye test on the NHS, tests can cost from £20-£40 depending on the practitioner.
Since this policy was introduced in Scotland, attendance at eye clinics has increased by only 4.1% compared to a 44% rise in England. In Scotland community optometrists who carry out the free eye tests identify problems early, often avoiding the need for a referral to secondary care.
Commenting, Kenneth Gibson said:
“It is heartening to see that the number of people accessing this vital service has increased every year since the SNP came to power in 2007.
“The £60,729,000 invested by NHSAA in eye health shows the commitment of the SNP Government to this important policy.
“Not only do free eye examinations test your sight, they can also check the overall health of your eyes for eye-related illness such as glaucoma and detect signs of other problems such as diabetes and cancer, so it is vital that we all make the most of this excellent service.”