A NEW clinic is set to open in York, offering NHS cataract consultation and treatment for residents.

Optegra Eye Clinic York launches on September 18 at Tudor Court in York Business Park in Nether Poppleton.

The York clinic is one of several opening across the UK to help tackle the NHS backlog of patients awaiting cataract surgery.

Optegra Eye Health Care’s NHS director Richard Armitage expanded on his company’s place within reducing these lists and some aspects of the elective surgery.

York Press: Richard Armitage is NHS Director at OptegraRichard Armitage is NHS Director at Optegra (Image: Optegra)

He said: “The Health Secretary convened a taskforce from a number of different health leaders taskforce from Sir James Mackey (then national director of elective recovery at NHS England) to independent sector providers.

“Not us, we’re a smaller player in the market.”

“The outcome of that was published at the start of August and one of the biggest things that came from that was that patients both need to be aware that they have a choice of providers, enabling them to get the treatment quickly and also that there needs to be a sufficient number of providers available to deliver the treatment.”

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He said the private sector provides those facilities at no cost to the taxpayer, delivering care to free up NHS Trusts, including their physical space.

Richard said Optegra has been around for 15 years offering ophthalmology services across the UK but only since 2019 did streamlining the services and treatments it offered to recognise what it could offer in the underserved cataract market.

York Press: Cataract surgery is expected to last around eight minutesCataract surgery is expected to last around eight minutes (Image: Optegra)

He said: “It’s a very easy to treat procedure.

“You don’t need to be in a highly specialised acute hospital, it can be done in facilities closer to home.

“We can do that quickly and have massive meaningful changes to people’s lives as well.

“The operation itself takes about eight minutes.”

Cataracts are usually the result of the ageing process, where the lens in the eye naturally starts to harden.

Richard said one in three people develop a cataract, where a cloudy sensation is experienced when seeing and often people will find it increasingly difficult to do close work.

Optegra carries out 50,000 cataract procedures a year which involve removing the affected lens and replacing it with an artificial clear lens.

The NHS reports cataract surgery has a high success rate in improving your eyesight and that it can take two to six weeks to fully recover from cataract surgery.

Referrals to Optegra are done by an optician, mostly as part of routine sight tests but a patient can present themselves at any time.

Richard said the optician – including high street practices - will do the diagnosis and the referral goes into a managed triage service where it’s checked for suitability and the patient is directed to the provider they’ve chosen.

If a provider has not been chosen, the patient is given a list of options as to where they could go, which in York will now include Optegra.