The Minor Eye Conditions Service (MECS) provides assessment and treatment for people with recently occurring minor eye problems. It is an NHS service provided by accredited optometrists (also commonly called opticians).

What Conditions Can Be Treated by the Service?

If you are experiencing:

  • Red eye or eyelids
  • Dry, gritty or uncomfortable eyes
  • Eye irritation and inflammation
  • A lot of recent discharge from the eye or watery eye
  • Recently occurring flashes or floaters
  • Painful eye
  • Ingrowing lashes
  • Recent and sudden loss of vision
  • Foreign body in the eye

Please note, this is not a sight test.

Who Is The Service For?

The service is for people of all ages. Children under 16 years must be accompanied at their appointment by an adult. You do not need a GP referral to use this service.

This service is available in many parts of England. Search our directory to find out whether the service is available in your area by entering the postcode for your GP practice.

Download our Minor Eye Problems leaflet to find out more.

If you have a major eye condition that is being regularly monitored by your optometrist or hospital eye service, such as cataracts, diabetic retinopathy or glaucoma, this is not covered by this service. In this case you should consult your usual optometrist or hospital eye service directly for advice in the usual way.

How Do I Book an Appointment With the Service?

When you have chosen an optical practice that is convenient for you, you can book the appointment yourself. This is called Self Referral.

You should telephone the Optical Practice directly to make an appointment. Please do not visit the Optical Practice without first making an appointment.

When you telephone the Optical Practice, you will be asked some questions about your symptoms so the team can assess how quickly you need to be seen.

Depending on your symptoms, you will be seen within 24 hours or a few working days. Your consultation may take the form of a telephone, video or in-person appointment.

If your symptoms are mild, you may be advised to contact your local pharmacists for simple treatment and over-the-counter medication.

MECS appointments are available during normal working hours. Some optometry practices offer evening and weekend appointments.

If your condition is more serious, the optometrist will book you an urgent appointment at a hospital eye clinic. If you need a routine appointment with a hospital, the optometrist will organise this for you.

You may also be advised to make an appointment with your GP if your eye condition is relation to your general health.

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