A Croydon eye doctor has been shortlisted for a national award.

Croydon optometrist David Barker has been selected as one of three finalists in the optometrist of the year category in the Association of Optometrists (AOP) awards 2019.

The annual awards recognise the highest levels of achievement in UK optics.

Part of Mr Barker’s nomination was for helping successfully implement a new scheme in Croydon which enables people to access enhanced eye care services in their local community.

The service means that Croydon residents with certain minor eye conditions, such as cataracts or glaucoma, can can refer themselves, or be referred by their GP, to a local optical practice where they can have their eyes checked at a time convenient for them. By managing patients in optical practices the service also reduces the strain on hospitals.

Mr Barker said: “I was very proud to be nominated for the Optometrist of the Year in the AOP Awards.”

"It is a reflection of the work we have done in Croydon establishing the Croydon COS scheme which allows me to see and treat patients who see their GP or self-present with various minor eye conditions.”

Mr Barker explained: “Rather than the patient having to wait several months for a hospital appointment, local optometrists can see and treat the patients locally in a much quicker timescale.

“Last year over 6,000 patients were seen under the COS scheme and the vast majority were seen and discharged, with 87% rating the service as ‘excellent’.”

As well as being a full-time optometrist, Mr Barker has qualified as an Independent Prescriber which means he can prescribe medications where necessary. He has also achieved higher qualifications in the medical retina category and glaucoma.

He added: “Working in independent practice for over 22 years, I have constantly strived to ensure that my skills are as up to date as possible to give patients the absolute best service and advice they deserve,”

The 2018 AOP Awards attracted over 20,000 votes from both optical professionals and members of the public

Members of the public can vote at: https://www.mi-vote.com/aopawards19/