The lack of minor eye conditions services (MECS) in Okehampton has caused a "barrier to local residents accessing care," the local Specsavers branch has said.

The branch has stressed the need for a service nearby that can treat patients suffering from minor eye conditions such as irritable eyes or ingrown eyelashes and is working hard to set one up to patients from visiting a GP or travelling to the hospital.

Optometrist Kathryn Reynolds, the store's director, said: This is a barrier to local residents accessing care," she said. "Patients have to go to hospital or secondary care, which is not always necessary. If an MECS was commissioned locally, patients and the NHS would benefit. Residents in areas nearby like Tavistock and Launceston have access to an MECS in their local Specsavers, and we are working hard to get a similar service commissioned here."

The comment came at a meeting with Central Devon MP and Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride, who visited the store to see how opticians and audiologists support the local community by delivering eye and ear care, supporting community organisations, and providing career opportunities for local people.

Audiologist Max Bennet, a store director, talked to Mr Stride about the in-store NHS and private hearing care services. 

He said: "Hearing loss is one of the most common health conditions, and the impact of hearing loss can be significant. We can ensure residents of Okehampton can access the highest standard of audiology care close to home."