Minor Eye Condition Service (MECs) now offered locally by some opticians – for what symptoms and where can you refer patients?


Since the beginning of the year local optometrists have been offering a new free NHS minor eye conditions service (MECs) to their patients. Common eye problems as listed below can now be assessed and treated locally by participating practices.

Loss of vision including transient loss; Sudden onset of blurred vision; Ocular pain or discomfort; Systemic disease affecting the eye; Differential diagnosis of the red eye; Foreign body and emergency contact lens removal (not by the fitting practitioner); Dry eye / gritty / itchy (not cellulitis); Epiphora (watery eye); Trichiasis (in growing eyelashes); Differential diagnosis of lumps and bumps in the vicinity of the eye; Possible diplopia; Flashes / floaters; Retinal lesions; Patient reported field defects

Click here for the list of optician’s practices providing this service.

An appointment is normally required, so it is recommended that patients contact their local practice for advice. They will assess the symptoms and decide on the urgency of the appointment. For some conditions an appointment within 24 hours may be recommended, for most an appointment within 5 days is appropriate.

The service is available to all patients who are registered with a GP surgery in the following CCG areas: High Weald Lewes and Havens, Mid Sussex, Crawley and Horsham, Eastbourne Hailsham and Seaford, Hastings and Rother. Please note it is not available for Brighton and Hove patients.

Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Patients who phone NHS 111 will also be directed to participating practices.

The optometrist may decide to treat the condition. All optometrists are able to sell and supply P and GSL eyedrops to their patients. They are also able to sell and supply selected POMs in an emergency for conditions other than bacterial conjunctivitis. These include 0.5% chloramphenicol drops and 1% chloramphenicol ointment.

Not all optical practices will stock these drops and may recommend a local pharmacist. If they have recommended a POM the practitioner will provide a signed order for the patient to take to the pharmacist.

A link to the requirements of a signed order can be found here.

A formulary of the commonly supplied drops can be found here.

More information can be found here.

Alternatively email sech.primaryeyecaresussexltd@nhs.net if you have any questions.