Eye-Care Services

Minor Eye Condition Services (MECS)

The MECS service is available as an alternative option to presenting at Accident & Emergency for the diagnosis and treatment of minor eye conditions. MECS can be accessed on a self-referral basis or alternatively your GP may refer you onto MECS if appropriate.

Your local optician has the accredited skills to be able to see and treat the following eye conditions:

  • Distorted vision
  • Mild to moderate ocular pain or discomfort
  • Red eyes (which cannot be managed by the GP)
  • Corneal conditions (such as small corneal foreign bodies or superficial abrasions)
  • Dry eyes
  • Watery eyes (epiphora)
  • In growing eyelashes (trichiasis)
  • Eyelid lumps and bumps
  • Flashes and floaters
  • Blurred vision
  • Retinal lesions

Please note this is not an eyesight test.

If you are unsure whether your symptoms can be assessed and treated by the service, please contact a participating optician who will advise you.

If you have an eye condition that is already being monitored by your GP or the hospital, contact your GP practice or hospital department in the first instance.

You should go to A&E if you have...

MECS is most certainly an alternative to A&E, where we know some patients currently go. There are some circumstances, however, when only A&E will do:

  • Considerable eye pain
  • Significant trauma such as penetrating injury or lacerations to the eye or eyelid
  • Chemical injury or burns
  • Problems arising from recent eye surgery

You should go to A&E after 5pm and at weekends, if participating opticians are closed and you need urgent advice.

Find a participating optician

Make an appointment

  • Once you have found a participating optician you can call or visit your chosen one.
  • You will be asked some questions about your symptoms, to assess how quickly you need to be seen by the service.
  • Appointments are available during normal working hours. Some opticians offer appointments at the weekend.
  • The optician may put drops in your eyes to enlarge your pupils, to get a better view inside your eyes. You should not drive until the effects of these drops have worn off, which may take a few hours.

What should I take with me?

  • A list of your current medication
  • If you wear glasses, please take them with you

What happens next?

  • If your condition is more serious, the optician will book you an urgent appointment at a hospital eye clinic
  • If you need a routine appointment with a hospital, the optician will make a referral for you
  • If your eye condition is related to your general health, you may be advised to make an appointment with your GP
  • If you need medication, you may be advised to contact your local pharmacist

Other useful links

Understanding Cataracts The Royal College of Ophthalmologists and the Royal National Institute of Blind People: https://www.rcophth.ac.uk/patients/cataract/

Cataract Surgery via NHS Choices: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/cataract-surgery/

Cataracts College of Optometrists: https://lookafteryoureyes.org/eye-conditions/cataracts/

Shared decision aid for cataracts via NHS RightCare: https://decisionaid.ohri.ca/AZsumm.php?ID=1165

Guidance for those with learning disability Seeability - What is a cataract? (Easy Read): https://www.seeability.org/ourspecialisms/?book=eye-care-conditions

Having a cataract operation (Easy Read)