Emergency Eye Clinic

McCracken Opticians are able to offer even more to their patients after Mark became one of the first optometrists in the UK to be granted permission to write his own prescriptions.

Mark McCracken, of McCracken Opticians in Church Street, has been granted independent prescribing status*, following his successful attainment of a diploma in Ocular Therapeutics (independent prescribing).

He was awarded the diploma from the College of Optometrists, in London, in May 2011.

Mark has been working towards achieving the independent prescribing (IP) qualification since 2008, when he achieved a diploma in Ocular Therapeutics (additional supply). As part of his training, Mark served a clinical placement at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire (UHNS) in both the glaucoma and emergency eye clinics between June 2010 and January 2011.

This latest qualification allows Mark much greater prescribing freedom than before, allowing him to treat and manage serious, often threatening to sight, eye conditions, such as recurrent uveitis (iritis) and corneal ulcers, from the emergency eye clinic that he runs from his practice. Mark is also trained and experienced in the removal of foreign bodies from the eyes, even high velocity metal injuries. Local GPs recognise Mark’s skills and regularly send many of their patients with eye conditions over for his opinion and intervention.

Many local GPs are also in the habit of sending over patients with symptoms of unexplained loss of vision, flashes and floaters and painful or persistent red eyes to McCracken Opticians. Likewise, as people’s knowledge of this service has increased, many patients with such symptoms are already self-referring into the emergency eye clinic. In many instances, this has stopped the need for referral to a hospital eye casualty in locations such as Queens Hospital Burton, Royal Derby Hospital or UHNS in Newcastle.

This is already proving to be a big hit with many of our patients, particularly those suffering from infirmity, those with transport difficulties, and those with busy lifestyles.


* Independent Prescriber status, the most significant leap for the optometric profession in clinical terms, came into effect in 2009. An Independent Prescribing Optometrist can ‘prescribe any licensed medicine for ocular conditions’. Mark is very proud to have been one of the first few optometrists in Britain to achieve Independent Prescribing qualifications; there are currently only about 200 independent prescriber optometrists in all of Britain so quite an exclusive group.

Unfortunately, like all revolutionary services, especially when there are very few qualified practitioners, there is no NHS funding stream available yet, so there is usually a small private charge for the private prescription fee and consultation time. But this will not stop us striving for improvements to NHS eye health provision locally – you should not have to face a drive to the hospital if this can be avoided! Our goal, regardless of funding difficulties, is to be able to supply a fast, convenient, safe and effective community-based acute eye health service for the people of Uttoxeter and its surrounds.