Key Points
  • Direct referral schemes have been developed to reduce appointments and timing by allowing direct referral to hospital when a patient is considered as meriting treatment.
  • Cataracts may be assessed on a score-based system before referral is considered. A questionnaire is essential in this pre-referral assessment and includes factors other than high-contrast acuity such as impact on life.
  • Revised NICE guidelines support referral based on factors other than acuity alone.
  • Accredited optometrists are able to carry out post-operative monitoring of cataract patients.
  • NHS and private referral pathway details are readily available outlining the steps for referral, and knowing these is important to ensure a patient is aware of the options available for their cataract treatment.
  • Most private providers offer information to optometrists about the referral process to their centres.