I RECENTLY had the pleasure of visiting a local optometric practice, Specsavers, in Friars Walk, Newport.

NHS services here are provided in partnership with Specsavers thereby reducing the pressure on local GPs and hospitals.

Regular eye examinations are an important health check-up and can play a vital role in the detection of various health conditions such as glaucoma and macular degeneration.

By making better use of community optometrists we can reduce waiting times for many people as there will be improved access to a specialist eyecare service in every community able to manage the most common eye disorders.

I would encourage as many people as possible to have regular sight tests.

More than half of all sight loss in the UK is recognised as avoidable and the Wales Eye Care Service still provides the opportunity for patients to be seen close to their homes, in the community’

I am grateful to the practice manager, Craig Mackenzie and his team for allowing me to visit and to see the fantastic work this innovative community based centre is doing in providing quality clinical services.

- I also recently visited Big Pit to learn more about the digital innovations and virtual reality tours that they have been working on.

The virtual reality tours provide an insight into the how coal mines worked and the lives that miners lived.

Keeping the history of Wales’ mining heritage alive is extremely important.

With technology developing at the speed it is, I am impressed to see the Big Pit team moving with the times to increase engagement in our history.

The Big Pit team is also working across many historical sites including the National Roman Legion Museum, with the virtual reality tours being the first to be used by Google in the Welsh language.

I was very pleased to see how the team was also incorporating social responsibility by offering specialist tours to people suffering from dementia, people with mental health issues and children with Autism amongst many other groups.

I look forward to visiting them again soon to see how each of the projects has developed.

- Last November the British Medical Association said there are clear potential benefits to the use of e-cigarettes in reducing the substantial harms associated with smoking, and a growing consensus that they are significantly less harmful than tobacco use.

I hope the Welsh Government reviews its negative opinion of vaping.