Sheffield Local Optometric Committee

Referrals of patients with Flashes and Floaters


It has been brought to the attention of the Sheffield Local optical Committee that some patients presenting to their optometrists with symptoms of Flashes and floaters, suggestive of either a PVD or retinal tear, are referred on a GOS 18 into SPA [Single point of Access] without having a dilated indirect fundal examination first, OR it is not made clear on the referral form that dilation and indirect examination was carried out.

This can lead to delay in properly examining the patient and in some cases may adversely affect the outcome for the patient as a result. There are obvious medico- legal issues, should that occur.

Currently in Sheffield, if a patient is referred on a GOS 18 with F&F, and has not been dilated, or the referral does not state that dilation was undertaken, then that patient is contacted to arrange a visit to a PEARS accredited optometrist, who will aim to see the patient within 48 hours, for a dilated fundal examination.

However, this does not alter the responsibility for any optometrist to carry out a full dilated indirect fundus examination prior to referral.

Any delay in seeing that patient may obviously lead to problems if the patient does in fact have a retinal tear / detachment.

Those Patients referred in to SPA having been dilated, and examined with indirect Ophthalmoscopy, with no retinal problems seen, will be seen by a PEARS optometrist for a repeat examination within the 6 week limit.

Obviously any patient found to have retinal tears should always be referred direct to the Hospital eye department as an urgent case, and any patient with a retinal detachment should be treated as an ocular emergency and sent directly to the Emergency Eye Centre.

For College members, patient leaflets on F&F can be ordered FOC from the College of Optometrists website.

Next Meeting:

Copthorne Hotel
Bramall Lane
S2 4SU

at 19:00 Tuesday 30th of April 2019 - AGM

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