With funding from the Welsh Government, the centre has been developed through collaboration between Aneurin Bevan University Health Board and Specsavers, Newport City Centre.
At the centre, the first of its kind in the UK, a high street optician provides initial screening and referrals for people with symptoms of wet AMD. NHS hospital staff deliver treatment for the condition from the same high street location.
Wet AMD damages the macula at the back of the eye. This can permanently distort the ability to see detail and colour and, if left untreated, can cause vision to deteriorate within days. Speedy treatment is crucial.
By bringing primary and secondary healthcare providers together to deliver clinical assessments and treatments in a community setting, more patients will benefit because of reduced waiting times and the central location.
The service, which will create an additional 1,600 appointments a year, involves Specsavers’ optometrists providing an initial screening service, the results of which are reviewed virtually by a hospital-based ophthalmologist to speed up the process of diagnosis and referral for treatment.
Patients who would previously have been referred to the Royal Gwent Hospital will instead be seen at the purpose-built centre.