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Age-Related Macular Degeneration

A UK optometrist suspecting wet AMD does not need to refer the patient back to their GP (This not so in IOM where referrals are to GP or A&E thereby building in a delay) . Optometrists can legally refer patients direct to hospital services. (Not in IOM as this means A&E who do not have a retinal specialist) They are encouraged to do so both by the Department of Health (not in IOM, no retinal specialist) and their professional bodies because referral back to a GP can cause unnecessary delay. IOM procedure suggests the possibility of a demarcation dispute, one certainly not for the benefit of Patients. A clear Government statement on this would be welcome. The current procedure completely ignores the RCO timetable.


In many areas, patients with suspected dry AMD are no longer referred to ophthalmology. More optometry practices have OCT equipment and some optometrists have low vision qualifications as well. Patients who are not referred to ophthalmology need good quality information about their condition, including something to take away to read in their own time. They should be told how to look after their eyes and how to monitor their vision in case their dry AMD becomes wet.

(Sourced from macularsociety.org UK website, with IOM comments added)

Situation in UK with IOM differences highlighted.


Wet age-related macular degeneration is a serious condition which can rapidly lead to permanent sight loss if not treated quickly. The Royal College of Ophthalmologists (RCO) Guidelines on AMD say that a patient with suspected wet AMD should be referred to a retinal specialist or fast track macular clinic on the same day and seen within one week. The patient should be treated within one week of that appointment appointment.