Ophthalmic workload statistics
A National Statistics publication for Scotland
Statistics as at year ending 31 March 2020
- Primary care
About this release
This release by Public Health Scotland (PHS) provides information on NHS General Ophthalmic Services eye examinations and related findings for 2019 to 2020 with comparisons to previous years. It does not report on General Practitioners and hospital eye examinations activities.
- In 2019 to 2020 just under 2.2 million NHS funded eye examinations were performed by community optometrists and ophthalmic medical practitioners in Scotland.
Source: Ophthalmic payment system: 2006/07 to 2016/17 (OPTIX), 2017/18 to 2019/20 (Ophthalmic Data Warehouse).
- Most patients attending for an eye examination were managed within primary care optometry (93.6%) and not referred for further investigation.
- Around three in four claims were for initial regular eye examinations (primary eye examinations). The remainder were for emergency, additional or follow-up care (supplementary eye examinations).
- The most common reason for a supplementary eye examination was ‘Unscheduled Appointments’ (35.8%).
- Cataracts were the most common of all the clinical conditions recorded (16.4%) during eye examinations.
NHS General Ophthalmic Services
NHS General Ophthalmic Services in Scotland are provided by eye care professionals who use a wide variety of tests and procedures to examine the eyes of a patient during an eye examination. There are a number of possible outcomes following the examination including:
- no medical or corrective action needs to be taken;
- a prescription for spectacles / contact lenses needs to be issued;
- treatment for an ocular condition is prescribed and followed up by the practitioner;
- repeat examinations or procedures are conducted to refine a hospital referral, or to rebook for continual monitoring in the community;
- referral to the patient’s General Practitioner with general health concerns;
- referral for specialist ophthalmic care by a hospital consultant.
In April 2010 and October 2018, changes in legislation reduced the frequency and circumstances under which a primary examination can be undertaken. If these conditions are not met, only a supplementary examination can be claimed for payment.
In October 2018, a new enhanced supplementary eye examination was introduced, for when the review appointment requires the pupils to be dilated. Reason codes have also been revised.
The next release of this publication will be 12 October 2021.
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Older versions of this publication
Versions of this publication released before 16 March 2020 may be found on the Data and Intelligence, Health Protection Scotland or Improving Health websites.