Minor Eye Conditions Service (MECS)

The Minor Eye Conditions Service (MECS) is an NHS funded service delivered by community optometrists for recently occurring eye problems.  Patients can access the service directly or be referred by another professional such as a GP or pharmacist.  Recently occurring symptoms suitable for MECS include the following:

  • Dry, gritty, irritable and uncomfortable eyes
  • Superficial foreign bodies in the eye
  • Red eye or eyelids
  • In-growing eyelashes
  • Recent and sudden changes in vision
  • Flashes and floaters

Please note this is not a sight test for glasses.

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

You should go to A&E if you have:

  • Sudden loss of vision in one or both eyes
  • 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.

How do I book an appointment with the service?

Participating opticians can offer appointments if you need advice or treatment for a recent eye condition.

You will be asked some questions about your symptoms, to assess how quickly you need to be seen by the service. Depending on your symptoms, you will be seen within one or two working days.

Appointments are available during normal working hours, and some opticians offer appointments at the weekend.

Please follow this link for further information and an up-to-date list of accredited services.

Patients can telephone 0344 264 4160 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm) to find their nearest participating optometry practice or a list can be found at this link.  This is not a walk-in service, so patients are advised to telephone a participating practice where they will be asked a series of questions about their eye problem to determine how quickly they need to be seen.  Community Health and Eyecare (CHEC) provide this service via sub-contracting arrangements with local optometry practices.

You can also email: chec.stoptom@nhs.net to find out where the nearest optometry practice is for the Minor Eye Conditions Service (MECS).

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

For further information please contact 0344 264 4160.

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Page last updated 14 November 2023