Lenses in England

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Nina Perossa
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Lenses in England

Postby Nina Perossa » Tue 07 Nov 2006 1:19 pm

Hi,

I am about to move to England so I would like to have some information. I would like to know if it is posible to by contact lenses for keratoconus in a farmacy without a prescription or you have to see a doctor before (in Slovenia you have to see a doctor). How long do you wait to get a new pair (here you have to wait for one month)? And last, how much does one lens cost, I use only one?

Thank you!

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GarethB
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Postby GarethB » Tue 07 Nov 2006 1:32 pm

Hi Nina

Welcome to the forum.

Not quite sure how the system works for people coming in from outside the UK regarding payment for lenses.

Pharmacies do not dipense KC lenses, depending where in the UK you will be settling, a high street optician may be able to treat your KC and prescribe a contact lens you need. In this case you can just walk in and make an appointment. If you register with this group, you will have access to recomended opticians in your area if someone has listed one.


Other area such as where I live, it is the hospital that has the expertese to prescribe and dispense lenses for KC. In this case, you need to go to your local gereral practitioner (GP Doctor) which you will have to register with anyway. They will then refer you to the hospital which depending on where in the UK can be a month to over six months! Once in the NHS system things can be better, but does depend on the area you live in. There is always the private medical care route too which can be expensive.

Who said the UK healthcare system was simple and the envy of Europe? :?

Hope this helps, but I know it is confusing.
Gareth

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Nina Perossa
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Postby Nina Perossa » Tue 07 Nov 2006 1:41 pm

Well, it sounds a bit confusing, but is the same as here in Slovenia:) Can you tell me what is a high street optician?
Probably I will order an extra lens while I am still in Slovenia.
And how long do you wait to get the lenses once you recived a prescription from a doctor?

Thaks again!

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John Smith
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Keratoconus: Yes, I have KC
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Postby John Smith » Tue 07 Nov 2006 1:49 pm

Hi Nina,

A "High Street Optician" is simply an optician's (optometrists) practice (in a shop) that is on the "High Street" - the main shopping street of most towns.

For those with keratoconus, you're better off seeing an "independant" optician rather than one of the big names (i.e. you may be better off avoiding Boots, Dolland & Aitchison, Specsavers etc.) They are generally good, but don't have the time to spend with Keratoconus patients.

Stangely, doctors (GPs) can't prescribe contact lenses(!), that has to be done by an optician. Once you get the prescription, your lenses will normally be ready in about a week in the high street, but somewhat slower if prescribed by a hospital.
John

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James Colclough
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Postby James Colclough » Tue 07 Nov 2006 8:33 pm

Hi John,


Is is still not possible for a GP to refer you to an eye unit.

As when I moved to London in the mid 80's I saw an optician who was also a consultant at the Royal Eye Unit in Kingston, he gave me a letter to give to my then GP referring me back.

I suspect much has changed. But if not would it not be wise to register with a GP an obtain an NHS number.

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GarethB
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Keratoconus: Yes, I have KC
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Location: Warwickshire

Postby GarethB » Tue 07 Nov 2006 8:42 pm

It is still the case James that an optom gives you a letter to take to your GP requesting you get refferd to the hospital.

Nothing has changed from the 80's to 2004 when i had to get refferd.
Gareth

jayboi2005
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Keratoconus: Yes, I have KC
Vision: Contact lenses
Location: Cheshire

Postby jayboi2005 » Wed 08 Nov 2006 2:48 pm

Nothing has changed again, 2006 when i was ref

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Christine Wright
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Postby Christine Wright » Sun 12 Nov 2006 6:28 pm

Good to hear from Slovenia. I was on a choir tour there in July this year, and found Ljubljana and Lake Bled to be beautiful places to stay.

To help explain the differences in terminology: A lot of European countries do not have Optometrists, who can examine the eye and prescribe glasses or contact lenses. Eye Doctors (Ophthalmologists) have to do the eye examination and prescribing. The glasses are made up by 'Opticians', who are the equivalent of the British Dispensing Opticians who work with Optometrists in many of our High Street practices. I'm not exactly sure who fits the contact lenses in Europe - it may be the Doctor, or an Optician working with the Doctor. Perhaps some of our European friends on this site can tell us what happens in their countries.....

This possible confusion of job titles is why we try to stick to the title 'Optometrist', despite the fact that people are always saying "why can't you just call yourself an Optician"!!

Hope this helps....

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John Smith
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Keratoconus: Yes, I have KC
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Location: Sidcup, Kent

Postby John Smith » Mon 13 Nov 2006 12:41 am

Thanks for the clarification Christine... I always wondered what the difference was!

Oddly, if you look in most dictionaries, Optometrist and Opthalmologist mean the same as each other!
John

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Andrew MacLean
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Postby Andrew MacLean » Mon 13 Nov 2006 10:48 am

Nina

When you arrive in the UK you ought to make it a point to register with a family medical practitioner (in the United Kingdom we call family medics "General Practitioners", and this description is usually abbreviated to "GP".

When you have registered, make an early appointment with your GP and explain that you have Keratoconus. Your GP may refer you to a specialist Ophthalmologist who will be responsible for advising you on the management of your Keratoconus. It may be that the hospital where your Ophthalmologist works will have a contact lens clinic, in which case you can be sure that the optometrists there will have a great deal of experience of fitting lenses to eyes with Keratoconus.

I look forward to welcoming you to the United Kingdom. Let us know when you have moved here. In the meantime, it has been good to welcome you to the forum.

Andrew
Andrew MacLean


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