Opticians

How to access services

Opticians carry out tests on your eyes in order to check the quality of your sight and look for signs of eye disease which may need treatment from a doctor or eye surgeon.  They also prescribe and fit spectacles (glasses) and contact lenses.  They can give you advice on types of lens, such as single vision or bifocal, and help you to choose frames.

There are three types of optician: Optometrists (also called ophthalmic opticians), Ophthalmic Medical Practitioner (OMP) and dispensing opticians.

  • Optometrists - carry out eye tests to check the quality of your sight, look for signs of eye disease which may need treatment from a doctor or eye surgeon and prescribe and fit spectacles and contact lenses.
  • Ophthalmic Medical Practitioners - are medical doctors who are also trained to carry out eye examinations and prescribe spectacles.
  • Dispensing Opticians - fit and sell spectacles, but do not test eyes.  They can give you advice on types of lens, such as single vision or bifocal, and help you to choose frames.

No referral or registration is required; contact your local optician to book an appointment or visit the NHS website to search for a local optician in your area.


The Minor Eye Conditions Service (MECS)

Red eyes, sore eyes, itchy eyes?

If you are worried about a recent eye condition - there is now a new free service to offer advice.  

You can access this service if you are registered with a GP in Shropshire or Telford and Wrekin.

MECS (Minor Eye Conditions Service) is provided by Community Health and Eye Care Limited (CHEC) and delivered by local accredited opticians, who can offer appointments if you need advice or treatment for a recent eye condition.

When to use MECS

Recent eye conditions that can be treated by the service include:

  • Red eye
  • Dry eye, gritty and uncomfortable eyes
  • Irritation and inflammation of the eye
  • Significant recent sticky discharge from the eye or watery eye
  • Recently occurring or sudden increase of flashes and floaters
  • Painful eye
  • Ingrowing eyelashes
  • Recent and sudden reduced vision
  • Something in your eye

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

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

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.  Some opticians offer appointments at the weekend.

You can use MECS if you are registered with a Shropshire or Telford and Wrekin GP.

CHEC does not book appointments, but patients can ring CHEC on 01743 297027 or 01772 717167 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm) or email  chec.stoptom@nhs.net to find out where their nearest optometry practice is so that they can attend 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 contact 01743 297027 or 01772 717167

 


Will I need to pay for these services?

You are entitled to a free NHS sight test if you:

  • are under 16 years old
  • are 16, 17 or 18 and in full-time education
  • are 60 years of age or over
  • are a diagnosed glaucoma patient
  • have been told by an ophthalmologist that you are at risk of glaucoma
  • are 40 years of age or over and are a parent, brother, sister, son or daughter of a diagnosed glaucoma patient
  • have been diagnosed as diabetic
  • are registered as severely sight-impaired, blind, sight-impaired or partially sighted
  • need complex lenses
  • are someone whose sight test is carried out through the hospital eye department as part of the management of your eye condition
  • are getting, or your partner gets:
    • Income Support
    • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
    • Pension Credit Guarantee Credit
  • are entitled to or are named on a valid NHS Tax Credit Exemption Certificate
  • are named on a valid HC2 certificate

Partial help: if you are named on a valid HC3 certificate you might get some help towards the cost of a private sight test.


NHS optical vouchers

You can get vouchers towards the costs of spectacles or contact lenses if you:

  • are under 16 years old
  • are 16, 17 or 18 and in full-time education
  • need complex lenses
  • are getting, or your partner gets:
    • Income Support
    • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
    • Pension Credit Guarantee Credit
  • are entitled to or are named on a valid NHS Tax Credit Exemption Certificate
  • are named on a valid HC2 certificate

Partial help: if you are named on a valid HC3 certificate you might get some help.

If your spectacles or contact lenses cost more than your voucher value, you will have to pay the difference.


NHS vouchers for repair or replacement of spectacles or contact lenses

You can get vouchers if you are under 16 years old.  If you are 16 years of age or older, conditions apply.


Additional Information

For more detailed information about getting help with health costs, please follow the links on the right side of this page.  Leaflets are also available at Jobcentre Plus offices or NHS hospitals, and possibly from your doctor, dentist or optician.