Fundus cameras, which allow optometrists to view the back of the eye (the retina) and to take digital photographs, are the very latest in screening equipment. They can reveal signs of a variety of eye conditions and wider health problems, and allow the optician not only to view, but also capture images of the retina, enabling monitoring and comparison over time.
The six Local Health Boards in Wales with a Hospital Eye Service (HES) will share the funding to buy 18 cameras between them.
Introducing fundus cameras into every HES will help meet the Welsh Government’s Programme for Government commitment to establish ophthalmic diagnostic and treatment centres across Wales.
Announcing the funding, Health Minister Lesley Griffiths said:
“Because of the quality of images provided by the fundus camera, optometrists can often pick up on small changes they would not have been able to see in the past. This will enable early detection and treatment of a range of conditions such as diabetes, macular degeneration and cancer of the eye.
“Using the latest technology delivers wider benefits to the NHS. It is estimated an ophthalmologist using a fundus camera will see ten patients for the cost of seeing one patient. Nurses, technicians and orthoptists using the camera will support a consultant-led virtual clinic, freeing up the consultant to see more patients.”