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Minor Eye Problems?

If you have recently started to experience a problem with your eyes – such as sticky or inflamed eyes, flashing lights or floaters – you can be assessed and treated by our local Minor Eye Conditions Service.

This is a free NHS service available within several local optometry practices.

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What is a Minor Eye Conditions Service (MECS)?

The MEC service treats conditions which do not necessarily need specialist hospital examinations, in convenient locations for the patient, and is carried out by specially trained Optometrists. You may contact the participating Optometry Practice of your choice and they will offer you their earliest MEC appointment, which will be within a week of you contacting them or they will direct you to another participating Practice.

Conditions that can be seen under within the service include:

  • Acute* red eyes;
  • Acute* irritated or inflamed eyes;
  • Sticky discharge or acute* watery eyes;
  • In-growing eyelashes;
  • Foreign bodies in the eye – urgent conditions will be redirected to A&E if treatment is required in under 24 hours;
  • Recently occurring flashes or floaters.

*An acute condition is one with a sudden onset. If you have had the condition for many weeks and months it is called a chronic condition and you should discuss this with your regular optometrist or GP, in the first instance.

Please note this is NOT a standard sight test.

Where should I go?

You will need to contact one of the accredited optometry practices (opticians) offering the MEC service to make an appointment – be sure to mention that you want an appointment with the MEC service rather than just regular sight examination.

Appointments are available during normal working hours with some practices also offering appointments at weekends.

Not all the registered practices have an optometrist available every day. If they don’t have appointments within a week they will be able to guide you to another nearby accredited optometry practice.

How do I book an appointment with the service?

To make an appointment, call one of the opticians listed in the MEC service section below.

You will be asked some questions about your problem and symptoms when you contact the practice to assess whether the condition is suitable for the MEC service or is more urgent in nature. You will be seen within one week if a MEC appointment is suitable.

Please take your glasses and a list of your current medication with you to the appointment. The optometrist may need to put drops into your eyes to enlarge your pupils and get a better view inside your eyes.

You should not drive until these drops have worn off, which may take a few hours.


If your condition is found to be more serious after examination, the optometrist will refer you urgently to the hospital eye clinic who will then contact you with an appointment.

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

Concerned about this service?

If you feel dissatisfied with this service and you wish to make a complaint please contact the Primary Eyecare (Cambridgeshire) Company Ltd using the contact details below:

Primary Eyecare (Cambridgeshire) Company Ltd
42 Chesterton Road
Cambridge
CB4 1EN

Minor Eye Services Directory

13/11/2018