‘Grantham patients will suffer when Low Vision Service is cut’

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Providers of an eye care service say patients will suffer because the service is being cut this month.

The Low Vision Service is provided free of charge in Grantham and across the county and provides people who suffer from reduced vision with high quality eye care services locally. In 2016, the service treated 620 patients.

The service helps improve the quality of life for patients as it focuses not just on eyesight problems, but also more functional issues, such as vision for reading, ability to manage alone in the home unaided, glare problems and helping improve travel vision to enable people to remain independent.

The decision to withdraw the service was made by the South West Lincolnshire 
Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and will see the Low Vision Service end this month.

Tushar Majithia, managing director of Lunettes Opticians in Grantham, which was commissioned to provide the service, said: “When sight is impaired it can be very difficult to carry out everyday tasks with ordinary spectacles or contact lenses. People underestimate the impact poor eyesight can have on people, particularly the elderly, who are often already struggling to remain independent.

“I believe there is a misconception that the Low Vision Service is duplicated by Lincolnshire’s Sensory Services but this isn’t the case. The two services have quite different provision for patients.”

Mandy Johnson, chief executive of Lincoln and Lindsey Blind Society, also campaigning against the decision to cut the service, said: “There will be increased costs to hospitals and doctor’s surgeries if patients are not able to have a fully assessed low vision examination as there is certain to be a rise in falls for patients. Likewise, patient’s home care requirements will increase as people will no longer be able to complete their own care.”

A spokesman for the CCG said it could not give a statement because of purdah, which means it is unable to comment in the lead up to the general election.