Where can I get help for my eye condition?

Pharmacist and/or self-care and/or over the counter treatment (OTC)

  • Red eyelid lump (chalazion)
  • Conjunctivitis (redness of the white of your eye, a discharge, blurry vision caused by the discharge, a gritty feeling in the eye) – see patient information leaflet
  • Burst blood vessel
  • Dry eyes (the pharmacy can offer eye drops) – See patient information leaflet
  • Stye – (the pharmacy can offer self-care advice or if infected Chloramphenicol eye drops)
  • Blepharitis  - (treatments such as wipes are available from the pharmacy)
  • Tired/ red eyes

Routine sight test with an Optician

Suitable if you notice a gradual change in vision or issues that might be resolved by prescribing glasses or changing an existing prescription.  Symptoms might include:

  • Noticing that vision seems fuzzy or blurry
  • Difficulty seeing detail (distance or near)
  • Symptoms of headaches or eyestrain
  • Intermittent double vision. It is also used for routine vision testing. 
  • Noticing your sight is getting gradually worse over time 
  • Noticing that it is harder to see detail, such as small print
  • Achy eyes 
  • Gradual occurrence of blurring or distortion of vision

GP

  • For non emergency eye conditions, in the first instance you should visit an Optician either via a routine sight test or the Minor Eye Conditions Service (MECS). 
  • Contact your GP if you are told your eye condition may be the result of a new or worsening underlying condition such as diabetes, hypertension or migraine.

Minor Eye Conditions (MECS) available from 1 July 2021

Suitable for new and or sudden-onset problems with the eyes or vision, and things that seem unlikely to be resolved by prescribing or changing glasses.  This could include symptoms such as:

  • Sight is misty and cloudy
  • Your vision has a small blurred area in the centre
  • Straight lines look distorted or wavy, or like there’s a little bump in them
  • Becoming more sensitive to bright light
  • Seeing rainbow coloured rings around white lights
  • Flashers or floaters that have been occurring for a while
  • Suddenly occurring blurring or distortion of vision

And/or one of the following conditions:

Sudden onset loss of vision including transient loss where it doesn’t relate to a cause or condition listed in the red Emergency Department box - Sudden vision loss

Ocular pain - Pain felt either on the eyes surface or within the eye

Differential diagnosis of red eye - The white of the eyes becomes reddened or bloodshot

Foreign body and emergency contact lens removal - Something is stuck in the eye

Dry eye - Occurs when the eyes do not make enough tears, which leave the eyes feeling gritty, itchy and sore

Blepharitis - Eyelids become red and swollen

Epiphora - Excessive watering of the eye, also known as 'Watery eyes'

Trichiasis - Eyelashes grow inwards towards the eye, which can cause irritation

Differential diagnosis of lumps and bumps in the vicinity of the eye - Usually a Stye or Chalazion, appearing as a small eyelid bump

Flashes/floaters - Both appear in the field of vision. Floaters look like small specks, dots, circles, line or cobwebs and Flashers can look like flashing lights or lightning streaks.

Patient reported sudden onset field defects - Sudden appearance of a blind spot in the normal field of vision

Sudden onset double vision - Two images of a single object are suddenly observed for some or all of the time

Emergency Department (only for emergencies)

  • Injury, trauma or chemical splash to the eye
  • Globe injury, penetrating or blunt (especially with a protruding eyeball and haemorrhage around the eye), open or closed
  • Sudden or dramatic vision loss/ total vision loss
  • Severe photophobia
  • Eyelid so swollen the eye cannot be seen at all
  • Severe, excruciating pain, especially if you also have a headache/nausea and reduced vision or sensitivity to light
  • Contact lens wearer with red eye/ severe pain/ reduced vision
  • Painful eye with droopy eyelid/ double vision/ abnormal pupil
  • Severe pain or loss of vision after surgery or injection
  • Sudden onset of double vision
  • Eye complaints effecting patients with the use of only one eye (if blind in one eye, etc.)
  • Eye complaints that are a result of a head injury
  • Eye complaints that present with other neurological symptoms (stroke-like symptoms)
  • Eye complaints in diabetic patients
  • Eye complaints that affect both eyes