As part of the on-going campaign to reduce the high level of avoidable sight loss in the UK, the Optical Confederation helps Local Optical Committees co-ordinate open sessions with their local MPs.


April 2017

  • On Friday 28 April, Shadow Community Health Minister and Burnley MP Julie Cooper visited Brown Opticians in Burnley. At the visit, Julie (pictured centre) met with members of the East Lancashire Local Optical Committee to hear about the community eye care services in her constituency. Commenting on the visit, Julie said: 'I was pleased to meet with representatives from the East Lancashire Local Optical Committee, to hear all about services local optical practices provide, along with an overview of the provision of these services across the country. It’s clear to me that optical practices should be the first port of call for any one with eye problems, to provide a more convenient service for patients and to take pressure away from hospitals struggling to cope with demand.’

March 2017

  • On Friday 10 March, Tottenham MP David Lammy met with Barnet, Enfiled and Haringey Local Optical Committee at DH Burns opticians in Tottenham. David is pictured here, with representatives from the committee (Prakash Rughani and Shush Rattani), as well as owner Richard Quail, optometrist Bobby Das and other members of staff from DH Burns. 



November 2016

  • On Friday 25th November, Tom Blenkinsop (MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland) met with the Tees Local Optical Committee at Stokeld and Stevens opticians in his constituency. This was a follow up to Mr Blenkinsop's first meeting with Tees LOC in 2012, and was a chance to discuss the extended primary eye care services currently running in Middlesbrough, and those the LOC are working to get commissioned. The meeting also coincided with Road Safety Week, and all attendees took the time to promote the importance of regular eye test for constituents. Tom is pictured here, second from the right. 

October 2016

  • On Friday 21st October, Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner met with Kam Dhillon and Alison Lask from the Cambridgeshire Local Optical Committee, to discuss the extended primary eye care services available to his constituents, as well as the importance of maintaining good eye health through regular sight tests. Daniel is pictured here, in the centre. Commenting on the visit, Daniel said: "An eye test isn't just about getting glasses - think of it as an MOT for your eyes that could end up saving your sight."

August 2016

  • On Wednesday 10th August, Sir Roger Gale, MP for Thanet North, visited Sanford Opticians in Herne Bay. Commenting on the visit, Sir Roger, pictured on the right, said, "Only those who have lost their sight can really understand what it means to enjoy a faculty that most of us take for granted. My own mother, who was driving until she was nearly 90, has found her mobility and the ability to live a full and active life curtailed as a result of sight loss, and I know the devastating effect it has had on her. It is vital that people avail themselves of the optical services available on the basis that prevention is infinitely better than the alternative, which may mean no cure at all.”
  • On Wednesday 31st August, Peter Heaton-Jones, MP for North Devon, visited Eyewear Creations Opticians in Barnstaple. At the visit, Peter met with Jane Williams, practice owner, and Jonathan Drew, from the Devon Local Optical Committee. Commenting on the visist, Peter said: " I was delighted to visit Eyewear Creations in Barnstaple today and experience for myself the state-of-the-art technology being used there.  It was also extremely helpful to talk to representatives of the Devon Local Optical Committee about the increasingly vital role opticians play in delivering primary care services.  Optometrists are now able to do so much more than check your eyesight: they can often be the first to recognise a range of potentially serious conditions.  I hope the NHS can take advantage of this expertise to assist with the efficient delivery of patient care across North Devon.”

July 2016

  • On Friday 8th July, Oliver Colvile, MP for Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport, met with the Optical Confederation and the Devon Local Optical Committee at Boots opticians in Plymouth. Oliver, pictured in the centre, said: "I would like to say thank you to the Optical Confederation for meeting with me last Friday in Boots Opticians, Plymouth, to talk about the work they do and discuss how opticians and optometrists can be doing more for patients to take the work load off General Practitioners. People can have an eye test at a local opticians, which can detect major sight problems and get them the expert diagnosis they may need. If more practices can offer enhanced services as well this in turn may take the pressure off GPs."
  • On Friday 15th July, Khalid Mahmood , MP for Birmingham Perry Barr (pictured in the centre), visited an optical practice in his constituency. Commenting following discussions with Birmingham LOC about the post code lotteries that exist between different parts of his constituency, Khalid said: "People with sight loss issues rely on good community-based services. Currently there is not the equality of high care services across all parts of the city to encourage early detection and treatment. The people of Birmingham deserve better."
  • Andrew Jones, MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough, and Minister for Road Safety, visited Page and Smith opticians in Harrogate on Wednesday 27th July. Commenting on the visit, Andrew (pictured second from the left) said:  “I have done a lot of work with Guide Dogs locally and nationally.  I know from that just how important it is that we look after our eyesight.  This visit really hammered home the important message; regular checks and early intervention mean that problems that may cause blindness later in life are identified and dealt with before they have chance to damage your eyesight.”

June 2016

  • On Friday 10th June, David Lidington, MP for Aylesbury, visited Boots opticians in his constituency. At the visit, David (pictured third from the right) met with Bruce Gilson from the Bucks LOC and Anna Mead, an Ophthalmologist working in hospitals in Bucks, who both made the case for eye care services to be delivered in community optical practices. Commenting on the visit, David said: "Sight loss is a serious risk for a number of my constituents, particularly for older people. Regular sight tests are an important way to prevent avoidable sight loss. I was impressed by the work that is being done locally by the Optical Confederation and Bucks Local Optical Committee to increase public understanding of how optometrists can provide advice on wider matters of eye health as well as basic sight tests. I hope that they are able to continue to improve and expand these important services for the people of Bucks."
  • On Friday 17th June, Kevin Foster, MP for Torbay, met with Devon Local Optical Committee at Boots Opticians in Paignton. Commenting on his visit, Kevin Foster (pictured centre) said: ""It was good to meet the team at Boots in Paignton, to discuss the work they do promoting eye health. Opticians in High Streets across the bay do more than just test our sight; they can also detect signs of a range of underlying health conditions such as diabetes or high cholesterol. I know local opticians are keen to deliver more high quality primary care services in the heart of the communities they serve, hence meeting the Devon LOC to discuss the real opportunities this provides for patients.”

May 2016

  • On Friday 6th May, Tiverton and Honiton MP Neil Parish visited an optical practice in his constituency. Commenting on the visit, Mr Parish - pictured here - said: "It was a pleasure to meet Charles Bill at Bill Opticians on Friday to see the fantastic work they do in treating eye conditions and promoting good eye care. Around 7/10 people in the UK wear corrective eye wear or have had laser eye surgery, so many of us rely on quality and well-trained opticians.As with all health conditions, early diagnosis is the key to good eye health. I pay tribute to the work of practices like Bill Opticians in raising awareness of the symptoms of eye problems like macular degeneration, cataracts and glaucoma and providing testing, treatment and preventative measures for these problems. I encourage anyone who has any concerns about their eyesight to visit an opticians. We can’t leave anything to chance when it comes to the health of our eyes”.
  • On Friday 13th May, Vernon Coaker, Labour MP for Gedling and Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, visited Thomas Bond opticians in Arnold. Commenting on the visit, Vernon (pictured on the right), said:“I was delighted to visit Thomas Bond Opticians and see the important work they do in helping local residents protect their sight and improve their vision.  I was impressed by the number of tests and the detailed work which is involved – it is clearly a very specialised field and it was interesting to hear from the Local Optical Committee how they work with optical practices in the area.”
  • On Friday 20th May, Alberto Costa - MP for South Leicestershire - met with the Leicestershire and Rutland Local Optical Committee at Specsavers in Lutterworth. Commenting on the visit, Alberto (picture here, on the left) said: It was a pleasure to meet with representatives from the County's Optical Committee, the Optical Confederation and of course, Specsavers, who I am thankful to for hosting our meeting earlier today. Of course, eye care is especially important and I was very encouraged to hear of the very good work many Optometrists and Opticians are doing both across the constituency and the County".


April 2016

  • On Wednesday 6th April, Jim Shannon, DUP MP for Strangford (pictured second from the right), met with us and Optometry Northern Ireland at Telford Opticians, Newtownards. Commenting on his visit, Jim said: "During my visit I heard about the excellent work Optometry Northern Ireland are doing to try to deliver more eye care services in the community, and of the similar work in the rest of the UK. We also discussed how important it is to have a regular sight test, starting from a young age."
  • On Friday 22nd April, Margaret Hodge, MP for Barking, met with the North East London Local Optical Committee. At the meeting, Margaret (pictured here on the right), was interested in hearing of the greater role optical practices could play in delivering eye care closer to home, and agreed that a Minor Eye Conditions Service (to treat minor eye problems in optical practices), which has been commissioned by a third of CCGs in England but not by Margaret's local CCG (Barking), should be available nationally. 
  • On Friday 29th April, Rt Hon. Oliver Letwin, MP for Dorset West (pictured centre), visited Specsavers in Bridport to hear about the importance of sight tests, and the learn about the greater role community optical practice can play in delivering eye care. 

March 2016

  • On Friday 4th March, Rupa Huq, MP for Ealing Central and Acton, visited Hynes Optometrists in Ealing, to hear about the importance of having regular sight tests, and to learn about the Ealing and Hounslow Local Optical Committee. Rupa, pictured on the right, was particularly interested to hear of the importance of children having sight tests from a young age.
  • On Friday 11th March, Nus Ghani, MP for Wealdon and Chair of the all-party Eye Health and Visual Impairment group, met with the East Sussex Local Optical Committee at Specsavers in Uckfield. Nus (pictured second from the left) said: "As Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Eye Health and Visual Impairment, it was a pleasure to visit Specsavers’ Uckfield branch on Friday. I am proud to work closely with RNIB and other eye health charities and organisations, and from personal experience know full well the difference that high quality, and regular, eye care can make.”
  • On Friday 11th March, Wolverhampton North East MP and member of the Health Select Committee, Emma Reynolds, visited a practice in her constituency to meet with the Wolverhampton Local Optical Committee and hear about the community eye care services in place across Wolverhampton. Commenting on the visit, Emma (pictured in the centre) said: “The number of people living with sight loss is set to increase dramatically in the coming years. This visit was a great opportunity for me to see the work being done to overcome this problem. With an ageing population, we must do all we can to increase the early detection of eye problems. I’m grateful to Prab and the Wolverhampton Local Optical Committee for the work they are doing and for inviting me to learn more about it. Community based optometry has a great role to play in the prevention of sight loss. The PEARS scheme, which is helping to reduce pressures on the NHS, has proven a wonderful success and a welcome service for the residents of Wolverhampton. I urge everybody to visit their opticians to report any issues they are having with their eyes as soon as they occur and encourage us all to go for regular check-ups. Early detection and treatment is the best defence we have against sight loss.”  
  • On Friday 18th March, MP for Central Devon, Mel Stride, visited a practice in his constituency. Mr Stride, (picture on the left), was very impressed to hear about the greater role community optometry could play in managing eye conditions and problems, and said: "The arguments put forward by the opticians today were very compelling. If people can get a better service, closer to home and if the number of people making GP appointments and visiting A&Es with minor eye conditions is reduced as a result, then the proposals I heard today are worth serious consideration.”
  • Rupa Huq MP (pictured left) followed up her visit on 4th March with a further visit on 29th March, to meet with some young patients and learn more about the need to start having sight tests from a young age. Commenting, Rupa said: “Of course, it’s essential that everyone has a regular sight test - every two years, or more often if your optometrist recommends – but I’m here to particularly encourage parents and guardians to make sure that if their child has not had a recent sight test, they book them in for one, as undiagnosed sight problems can have a negative impact on a child’s ability to perform well at school.” 
  • On Thursday 31st March, Helen Goodman, Labour MP for Bishop Auckland (pictured centre), met with Durham LOC at Specsavers in her constituency. Commenting on her visit, Helen said: "It was really interesting meeting with representatives from the Durham Local Optical Committee and hearing about the services now delivered - above and beyond the sight test - in opticians. In particular, it was interesting to learn about the Minor Eye Conditions Service, and how people with minor eye problems should visit an opticians in the first instance if they have a problem like a sudden change in vision, or a red, gritty, uncomfortable or watery eye.” 

February 2016

  • MP for Charnwood and Vice-chair of the all-party Eye Health and Visual Impairment group, Edward Argar, visited an optical practice in his constituency on Friday 12th February. Commenting on his visit, Edward Argar (pictured here on the right) said: "Keeping our eyes healthy is important for everyone, and making sure we all have regular eye tests is a vital part of that. It was fantastic to be hosted by Geraint Griffiths at Optical 3, his practice in Anstey, and to hear first hand from him and members of the Local Optical Committee about the hugely important role local opticians like Geraint play in looking after our sight, as well as his innovative work on children's eye health. Local opticians do so much more than just eye tests, meaning rather than having to go to hospital we can have a lot more eye complaints treated just round the corner from our own homes."
  • On Friday 12th February, Pat McFadden, MP for Wolverhampton South East, visited Scrivens Opticians in Bilston to hear more about the importance of sight tests, and to discuss the community services available across the constituency, including a minor eye conditions service. Commenting on his visit, Pat McFadden MP (pictured centre) said, “For many years I have worn glasses or contact lenses and would advise everyone to get their eyes tested regularly.  This can not only help identify eyesight problems but other eye conditions too."
  • On Friday 26th February, Sir Eric Pickles, MP for Brentwood and Ongar, visited Cole Martin Tregaskis Optometrists in his constituency to meet with the Essex Local Optical Committee and learn about the importance of regular sight tests/ Commenting on his visit, Sir Eric Said (pictured centre): "The eyes are not only the window to the soul, they can pick up and show problems long before other symptoms appear. It’s a sensible precaution to have regular sight tests, whether you feel you need one or not. It is of particular importance for someone who is under 16 or over 60. It’s as sensible as getting your teeth checked, so don’t delay.”


January 2016

  • On Friday 8th January, Rother Valley MP, Sir Kevin Barron, visited Ian Van Hoof opticians in his constituency to hear more about the community services the Rotherham and Barnsley Local Optical Committee are working to get commissioned in the area. Commenting on his visit, Sir Kevin Barron (pictured on the left), said: "It was great to see the work done at the opticians, who can pick up dangerous conditions early with just a simple eye test. Accessibility to these services is essential so it was good to hear that people can book appointments at a time to suit them. I would encourage people to visit the opticians as the number of people living sight loss is nearly 2million, and the sooner issues are identified the quicker they can be treated."
  • On Friday 8th January, Andrew Smith, MP for Oxford East (pictured centre), visited a practice in his constituency to meet with the practice staff and the Local Optical Committee, where they spoke about the greater role community optical practice can play in delivering eye care. Commenting on his visit, Andrew said: "Opticians provide a vital service to local people, and it was good to see at first hand how their work is organised and the range of checks they can do.  They really are an important part of front line health care."
  • On Friday 15th January, Rochester and Strood MP, Kelly Tolhurst, visited Niall O'Kane Optometrists in Strood. Kelly, pictured in the centre, met with the Kent and Medway local optical committee to hear about the enhanced eye care services in place across the county of Kent. 
  • Cheryl Gillan, MP for Chesham and Amersham, visited an optical practice in her constituency on Friday 22nd January, to learn about the importance of sight tests, and to hear about the work the Local Optical Committee carries out to bring more eye care services into the community. Commenting on her visit, Cheryl (pictured centre) said: "Good eye health is vital and I was delighted to hear during my visit about the services our local optometrists are helping to deliver in Buckinghamshire. Regular eye checks can detect other health conditions too, so I hope people will go along for these."
  • On Friday 22nd January, Stephen Hammond, MP for Wimbledon (pictured second from the left), visited a practice in his constituency to meet with the Local Optical Committee to hear more about the importance of sight tests, and the enhanced role optical practices can play to deliver eye care service in the community. Commenting on his visit, Stephen Hammond said:"It was great to visit Boots and understand what an eye test involves and how important it is.  We should all visit an optician as regularly as we visit the dentist."



December 2015

  • On Friday 4th December, Exeter MP Ben Bradshaw (pictured here) visited Pullen and Symes Opticians in his constituency to hear more about the greater role optometry can play in delivering eye care in the community. Commenting on his visit, Mr Bradshaw said: “Opticians are a vital part of primary care. I am concerned that the services and skills of local opticians are not being fully utilised.  I would urge the NEW Devon CCG to make full use of this group of professionals to improve services to local people and cut unnecessary referrals to hospital."
  • On Friday 11th December, Labour MP for East Ham, Stephen Timms, visited Neil Gordon Opticians in his constituency. After the visit, Mr Timms (pictured here) said: "In December, I visited Neil Gordon Opticians, an optical practice in my constituency, in a visit arranged by the Optical Confederation. They wanted to give me a better idea of services local opticians now provide. John showed me some very impressive equipment, capable of producing amazing images of our eyes! I came away determined to have my eyes tested every year or so, and I hope my constituents will too.”
  • On Friday 18th December, Alan Mak, MP for Havant, visited an optical practice in his constituency to hear more about the services available to patients and to see the advanced equipment used in high-street optical practices. Commenting on his visit, Mr Mak (pictured on the right), said: "It was great to meet Martin and his team to learn more about the services above and beyond the sight test that can be delivered in practices like this. I was also very impressed with the advanced equipment in the practice. Optometrists and opticians are well placed to diagnose and treat a range of eye related problems and they should be one of the obvious places for patients to seek treatment." 

November 2015

  • On Thursday 12th November, Justin Madders - Shadow Health Minister and MP for Ellesmere Port and Neston (pictured on the far right) - visited an optical practice in his constituency. Commenting on his visit, Justin said: "I was pleased to meet the team at Orrell Opticians who have been a long standing and successful local business. There were a number of issues raised and I was impressed with the contribution they make towards the NHS and the local economy."
  • On Friday 20th November, Mary Creagh (pictured here), MP for Wakefield, visited Auckland Opticians in Horbury. Commenting on her visit Mary Creagh said: "It was great to meet Caroline and her team at Auckland opticians, and try out their amazing 3D scanner."

October 2015

  • On Thursday 8th October, Ruth Smeeth, MP for Stoke-on-Trent North (pictured here), visited an Opticians in Kidsgrove. Commenting on her visit, Ruth Smeeth said: "It was great to visit L. Thompson Optometrists here in Kidsgrove, and extremely informative to see the great work that they do. Many people don’t realise they are eligible for free sight tests, and I would urge everyone to make sure they are getting their eyes tested regularly."
  • MP for Southend West, Sir David Amess, visited an optical practice on Friday 16th October to hear more about the community services available in his constituency. Commenting on his visit, Sir David (pictured here) said: "It is reassuring to hear how the constituents in my area and the rest of Essex are benefiting from the excellent work of Essex LOC. Its efforts to provide community eyecare services for the benefit of patients is admirable. The Shared Care Glaucoma Scheme demonstrates how close ties with Hospital Eye departments can forge excellent working relationships that benefit patients, opticians and hospitals alike."

September 2015

  • On Monday 7th September, Rob Flello, MP for Stoke-on-Trent South, visited Razvi Opticians in Meir, Stoke-on-Trent, to hear more about community services available to his constituents.

August 2015

  • Waveney MP Peter Aldous (pictured) visited an Optical Practice on Monday 10th August. Commenting on his visit, Mr Aldous said: ' I had a great time visiting Martin Storey Opticians in Beccles. It was very interesting to hear more about the range of conditions optometrists can detect during a sight test, and to see the advanced equipment they use in the community in action.'
  • South East Cornwall MP Sheryll Murray (pictured) visited an Optical Practice in her constituency on Monday 24th August. After the visit, Mrs Murray encouraged others to have their sight tested: "As someone who has worn glasses for a number of years, I know how precious our eyesight is and I urge everyone to ensure they have regular checks. Opticians have a range of equipment that doctors, particularly GPs, do not have available to them. If you notice anything wrong with your eyes, even if your sight is fine, you should book an appointment with your optician as  soon as possible."

July 2015

  • Redditch MP Karen Lumley visited an optical practice in the constituency to hear about the community services that were now available to her constituents
  • South Staffordshire MP Gavin Williamson (pictured) visited an optical practice in his constituency to learn about the importance of regular sight tests. Commenting on his visit, Mr Williamson said: 'I had such an interesting time visiting Kelcher Optometrists. It was wonderful to visit a practice which has been providing such an important service in Great Wyrley. I was fascinated to discover that an eye test can pick up other health problems, such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Good eyesight is something we only notice we have when it's gone, which is why I am encouraging those that don't already have regular eye tests to book in and visit their local opticians.'


March 2015

  • Commenting on his visit, Cleethorpes MP Martin Vickers (pictured) said 'I was fascinated to hear more about this part of the NHS and how this long-established local practice serve the local community. As in all aspects of healthcare it it good to know that by taking a more active role we can prevent many serious conditions developing in the first place or, at the very least, have them identified early on and receive the appropriate treatment'   

February 2015

  • After visiting a local practice, Eastleigh MP Mike Thornton (pictured) said 'I found the visit really interesting, learning more about the importance of optometrists, their contribution to the nation's health and how many diseases other than normal eye conditions can be detected by an eye test. I would urge everyone to have their eyes checked regularly.'  

January 2015

  • 'Good eyesight is something we only realise we have had once it has gone!' noted Cheadle MP Mark Hunter (pictured) after his visit to Jinkinson Opticians. The MP went on to say 'Regular eye tests ensure that we can look after our eyes as best we can and as it is free on the NHS for children, those over 60 and those on low incomes, I urge all local residents to make an appointment' 
  • Scunthorpe MP Nic Dakin (pictured) stated after his visit he was 'interested to hear about all the different services that optometrists can offer to people on the high street and how they can reduce unnecessary GP appointments and help keep hospital waiting lists down by monitoring many conditions' 
  • Commenting on his visit, Virendra Sharma MP (pictured) said "Regular check-ups are key to maintaining good health, and something no-one should ignore. As a member of the Health Select Committee we are always discussing ways to help our overstretched A&E services. I will be encouraging a public awareness campaign on eye tests to help reduce pressures on NHS staff. Kings Opticians is a great example of how a business can be part of the community" 



November 2014

  • After visiting a local optical practice, Catherine McKinnell MP (pictured left) said she had learned how the practice was "working closely with others accross the NHS to provide excellent patient care, and save the NHS money in the long-term."

October 2014

  • Commenting on his visit to a local optical practice, Andy Love MP (pictured second from left) said, "Getting your eyes tested is one of those things that’s very easy to put off, but struggling on with headaches and reduced vision really isn’t sensible. The right pair of glasses can help prevent eyes being strained and reduce further sight loss."  

July 2014

  • Following her visit to a local optical practice, Theresa Villiers MP (pictured right) said, "Conditions like glaucoma can seriously damage your vision and are easily treatable if caught early. So there are important health reasons for getting an eye test." She encouraged drivers in particular to have an eye test "because of the road safety risks that come with driving without having impaired vision properly corrected with an up-to-date prescrption for glasses or contact lenses."

June 2014

  • After her visit to a local optical practice, Chi Onwurah MP (pictured left) said, "so many of us take good eyesight for granted, but we’d be lost without it and it surely deserves a regular visit to the optician. I was pleased to see all the facilities modern opticians have and the contribution they can make to treating many eye conditions as well as often helping to restore self confidence with a suitable pair of glasses."
  • During his visit to a local optical practice, Nick De Bois MP (pictured left), described the role of community optometrists and opticians in preventative healthcare as "presently underestimated" with "the potential for both improving people’s eye health and helping save money on our hard pressed NHS budget.”

May 2014

  • Following a visit to a local optical practice, Ian Swales MP (pictured second from left), said, "With recent experience of eye problems, I can't stress enough the value of seeing your optician." 
  • David Burrowes MP (pictured far left) commented after his visit to a local optical practice, "I was delighted to visit a local opticians in my constituency and to see what is being done to encourage regular eye tests. Eye health is incredibly important and I would encourage my constituents to look at what options are available to them on the NHS and through some work schemes to ensure that they are getting regular check-ups.”
  • Commenting after his visit to a local optical practice, Graham Brady MP (pictured right) said, "I very much enjoyed my visit and it was fascinating to see some of the expertise and the technology associated with good eye health."
  • Caroline Nokes MP (pictured second from right) urged all her consituents to undertake regular sight tests and to protect their eye health, after a visit a to a local optical practice.

April 2014

  • Following his visit to a local optical practice (pictured on left), David Blunkett MP said, "It is vital that everyone takes the opportunity to have their eyesight checked regularly. Not just in case they need glasses or contact lenses, but to also pick up other serious issues like diabetes which can then be treated."
  • Building on a previous visit to an independent optical practice last year, Matthew Offord MP (pictured far right) visited a franchise of a larger optical company. He explained following the visit that, "The issue of eye health is very important to me as I know that regular eye checks not only save sight but can also lead to diagnoses of life-threatening conditions. As such opticians play an important role within the Health Service and my visit enabled me to understand better the value of community optometrists and opticians."
  • Stephen Lloyd MP commented on his visit to a local optical practice (seated on left), "I encourage all my constituents to have regular eye tests; so many serious eye conditions can be treated if they are caught early." 

March 2014

  • Commenting on her visit to a local optical practice, Mary Glindon MP (pictured on left) said she was pleased to "learn about the importance of an eye test, not only to maintain healthy eyesight, but also to detect other possible health issues" and to see "first-hand how the staff there provide a great service to local people". She added that she would "definitely promote the importance of eye testing whenever I can.”
  • Following his visit to a local optical practice, Geoffrey Cox MP (pictured on left), commented that his visit had “helped to clarify just how important it is for everyone to have regular eye tests, especially as they can also reveal a range of potential medical problems such as diabetes.”

February 2014

  • After a visit to a local optical practice, Andrew Bridgen MP (pictured third from left), said, "It is essential that awareness is raised towards the importance of regular tests and ensuring the those parents with children 16yrs old and younger make use of the free service available to them."  
  • Julie Hilling MP (pictured on left) commented on her visit to a local optical practice, “It was really interesting to hear much of the eye sight problems people suffer from is preventable through the early detection. Regular eye tests are a simple and practical way to maintain good eye health and look after your eyes.”
  • Following a visit to a local optical practice, John Leech MP (pictured on left), said, "I have long argued for regular testing to help spot eye problems early. I also support mandatory eye tests when reapplying for driving licences.
  • Adrian Sanders MP (pictured far right) visited an optical practice in Torquay to learn more about the importance of sight tests in the prevention of avoidable sight loss. He commented that, "It's great to see a locally owned business thriving on the high street and providing footfall for the whole town centre.  This is a substantial business employing 30 people working on the front-line of primary health care."
  • After a visit to a local optical practice, North Norfolk MP and current Minister of State for Care Services, Norman Lamb (pictured third from left), said, "It is crucial that people are aware of the importance of regular eye tests. It is clear that regular testing is the best way to maintain healthy vision.  In particular, catching long term eye conditions early to enable prompt treatment is key to achieving the best outcomes with many conditions.”

January 2014

  • Commenting on the importance of sight test following his visit (pictured in centre) to a local optical practice, Stephen Metcalfe MP, said, "The test is not just a check to see whether you need glasses or not, but is also a means of ensuring your eyes are healthy. It would be a tragedy for anyone to lose their eyesight when it could have been prevented so I would encourage everyone in South Basildon and East Thurrock to get their eyes tested".



December 2013

  • Commenting after his visit (pictured on right) to a local optical practice, Alex Cunningham MP, said, "I was pleased to learn more of the problems facing local opticians in delivering cost effective care for local people.  I was appalled to learn that the walk in emergency service offered locally will not be commissioned again after the end of March 2014".
  • Oliver Colville MP, Alison Seabeck MP and Ben Bradshaw MP joined the Devon Local Optical Committee and Devon Local Pharmaceutical Committee for a roundtable discussion on Tuesday 3rd December 2013 to discuss the management and treatment of minor health conditions in community optician practices and community pharmacy.  
  • Following a visit (pictured on right) to a local optical practice, David Crausby MP, said, “It was interesting to discuss the ways that our local opticians are working with the National Health Service and I was very impressed to learn about the wide range of medical benefits that can come from a simple eye exam".   

November 2013

  • Mel Stride MP commented after his visit (pictured third from left), "Regular sight tests can pick up early signs of eye conditions before symptoms appear and I would encourage residents to take advantage of having an opticians on their doorstep."
  • Paul Burstow MP visited (pictured in middle) a local optical practice in his constituency of Sutton and Cheam. Following his visit, he said, "There is no doubt good eye health and regular checks can pick up a range of health problems often at an early stage".

October 2013

  • The House of Commons Health Select Committee Chair, Rt. Hon Stephen Dorrell MP, visited (pictured in middle) a local practice in Anstey. He commented, “I was pleased to have the opportunity to visit Opticare.  I had an interesting conversation about the changing shape of optical care and the role of optical care in primary care provision.” 
  • Hugo Swire MP commented on his visit (pictured left) to a local optical practice in Exmouth that, “Clearly it is in all our interests that more people are treated locally rather than having to travel to hospital so I shall be speaking to my Ministerial colleague the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, to ask him to look at ways of encouraging more people to make use of the advances in equipment which many opticians now have.”

August 2013

  • Nick Harvey MP visited a local optical practice in his constituency on 1st August 2013. Following his visit (pictured right), he said, "we are all guilty of taking our eyes for granted and they are probably one of the things we take the least care of. Constant use of modern technology and life styles can take their toll so it is very advisable to have regular checkups particularly when many problems are preventable."

July 2013

  • Following his visit to a local optical practice, Gary Streeter MP (pictured on right) commented that it "was helpful to learn more about the importance of eye checks and the health advantages this can bring and it is vital that we all get our eyes tested regularly.”
  • Commenting after a visit to a local optical practice, Neil Parish MP said that early intervention was "vital" in order "to stop preventable sight-loss from blighting the lives of thousands unnecessarily." The MP commended the practice team for  "helping people have healthier eyes for longer".

May 2013

  • The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health, Dr Dan Poulter MP, visited a local optical practice in his constituency. Dr Poulter commented that, "the meeting helped remind me of the importance of looking after our eyes and I would strongly encourage my constituents to go for regular eye tests, not just to check to see if we need glasses but to see if we might be suffering from any other medical conditions such as diabetes, and to receive treatment."

April 2013

  • Sarah Champion MP commented after her visit to local practice that the early intervention work made by optometrists and opticians "prevents costly NHS bills and, genuinely, saves sight!".

March 2013

  • Joan Walley MP visited an optical practice in her constituency of Stoke on Trent North and called for the enhanced ophthalmic services developed across Staffordshire "to be protected and developed" under the new NHS arrangements from April 2013.
  • Commenting after his visit to a local optical practice, Matthew Offord MP said: "Like many of my constituents, I suffer from poor eyesight and eye health. Therefore it is vital for all of us to seek regular examinations so that degenerative conditions can be diagnosed before they pose a risk of sight loss."
  • Following a visit to a local optical practice, Stephen Williams MP commented that "ensuring everyone has good eye sight through regular
    sight testing is key to prolonging independent, active living.”

February 2013

  • Commenting after her visit to a local optical practice, Anne Marie Morris MP said, "It’s a stark statistic that there will be a 115% increase in the number of people living with sight loss by 2050. I’m pleased to support regular checkups as a
    means of preventing this number from becoming any larger".
  • After her visit to a local optical practice, Rebecca Harris MP urged her constituents "particularly motorists to get your eyes tested regularly and maintain a good level of optical health."

January 2013

  • Andrew Bridgen MP stressed how important it was "to urge the general public to look after their eye health and go for regular sight tests", following a visit to a local optical practice in North West Leicestershire.
  • Following a visit to an optical practice in his constituency of South Cambridgeshire, the former Secretary of State for Health, Rt. Hon Andrew Lansley MP, described the practice as "a fine example of how, through local opticians, issues can be identified early to address problems quickly and cost-effectively".



November 2012

  • After a visit to a local optical practice, David Amess MP expressed his hope that "everyone takes their sight seriously and follows the advice" offered.
  • Tom Brake MP noted after his visit to an optical practice that "I was able to see firsthand just how important a proper eye examination can be. It doesn't take much time at all, and it can bring light to many problems that contribute to poor vision. I encourage all people to have regular eye tests to maintain healthy sight"

August 2012

  • Tom Blenkinsop MP visited a local optical practice and said that "the work that the Optical Confederation do to promote eye tests and frequent visits to opticians for checks should be commended. They are contributing to better health throughout the general population."
  • The Isle of Wight's MP, Andrew Turner, visited a local optical practice to learn more about the local enhanced eye care services available to his consituents. Commenting on the visit, the MP said that he was "amazed at the wide variety of services that opticians can now offer.  I was not aware beforehand of the impact that regular eye tests could have on hospital referrals and that some opticians are now doing work which would otherwise have to be carried out at St Mary’s.  This saves time and money and people do not have to travel into Newport for treatment so can be much more convenient."
  • Ben Bradshaw MP made a visit to a local optical practice to understand how eye care services operated in his constituency. Following the visit, he said that an eye test "can also provide valuable screening for other more serious long term conditions. I very much hope the important health role played by opticians is not lost as part of the current re-organisation of the NHS.”

July 2012

  • Following his visit (pictured third from left) to a local optical practice, Shadow Health Minister, Andrew Gwynne MP (Labour, Denton and Reddish) said, "I would encourage everyone to have a regular eye test. It’s hugely important and can be a way of identifying health problems like diabetes at an early opportunity. Everyone should take the time to make a visit to their optician.”

June 2012

  • Commenting on on a recent visit to a local optical practice on Friday, 29th June, Tony Baldry MP (Conservative, Banbury) encouraged all his constituents to take good care of their eyesight, and if ever in doubt, to visit their local opticians.
  • Conservative MP and former GP, Dr Sarah Wollaston visited Hoyland Opticians in Totnes on Friday, 15th June to further her understanding of local eye care services. Commenting on her visit, the MP said: “A simple eye test can be so important in picking up the early signs of treatable eye disease and I hope that everyone will make time for this essential check up. I am grateful to the Local Optical Committee and Richard Hoyland for taking the time to discuss how much more could be done to make further eye health services available closer to home.”

April 2012

  • During her visit to a local optical practice, Labour/Co-op MP for Liverpool Wavertree, Luciana Berger MP, was 'astounded' to learn that over 50% of sight loss is preventable. She encouraged everyone to visit their optometrist to get checked up, and to take advantage of the advice and guidance that is on offer.
  • Following her visit to a local optical practice, Alison Seabeck, Labour MP for Plymouth Moor View, called for optometrists to be used "to their full potential" in order to benefit patients.
  • Conservative MP for Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport, Oliver Colville, visited Specsavers Opticians in Plymouth on 3rd April 2012.

March 2012

  • Following his visit to Hayes Opticians in Torquay on 30th March, Adrian Sanders MP (Liberal Democrat, Torbay) stressed the importance of regular sight tests,  especially for patients with  pre-existing conditions such as diabetes. He commented that, "Most sight loss due to diabetes can be prevented, but it is crucial that the condition is diagnosed early and treated promptly. Up to one third of patients with diabetes will have background diabetic retinopathy, which needs to be monitored carefully as it can develop into irreversible sight loss.”
  • Joe Benton MP (Labour, Bootle), following his visit to a local practice, encouraged all his constituents "to take good care of their eyesight, and if ever in doubt, to visit their local opticians.”.
  • A former optician, David Heath MP (Liberal Democrat, Somerton and Frome), visited a local optical practice in Wincanton on Friday 9th March to learn more about Somerset’s Acute Community Eyecare Service (ACES). The MP described the ACES scheme as allowing optometrists "to use their professional skills to best effect, relieve pressure on hard-pressed GPs and hospital casualty units, and at the same time provide a more convenient and efficient service to patients."

February 2012

  • Commenting on his visit to Martyn Kemp Opticians in Woodhouse, Clive Betts MP (Labour, Sheffield South East) said "Sheffield offers the best primary eyecare service in the UK, which more people should make the most of and have regular eye tests at their local opticians practices".
  • Following his visit to an optical practice in Whitehaven, the Shadow Minister of State for Health (with responsibility for optics), Jamie Reed MP (Labour, Copeland) said “a lot of sight loss can be prevented through regular check-ups.  If you are aged 60 or over or on a low income, you are entitled to free NHS eye tests, so I would urge my constituents to go and get yourself checked out. Sight tests for children are also free, so if they have not had their vision checked at school or are having any difficulties with white board or screen work, again please use the service.” 

January 2012

  • The Minister of State for Care Services, Paul Burstow MP (Liberal Democrat, Sutton, Cheam and Worcester Park) visited a local optical practice on 27th January. He said, "Given that sight is one of the most vital senses, it is really important that people take good care of their eyesight, and if ever in doubt, visit their local opticians. As we update the NHS its a good thing that opticians will be taking a greater role in the public’s health alongside clinicians and their local authorities."