Minor Eye Conditions Service (MECS)

What Can Be Treated At A Minor Eye Conditions Service (MECS)?

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

Symptoms that can be seen under the service include: 

image depicting minor eye conditions

  • Red eye or eyelids
  • Dry eye, or gritty and uncomfortable eyes
  • Irritation and inflammation of the eye
  • Significant recent sticky discharge from the eye or watery eye
  • Recent occurring flashes or floaters
  • In-growing eyelashes
  • Recent and sudden loss of vision
  • Foreign body in the eye 
  • Systemic disease affecting the eye
  • Eyelid lumps and bumps 
  • Recent onset diplopia (double vision)
  • Blepharitis 
  • Glaucoma suspect 


If you have very minor symptoms you may be advised to self-care or seek support from your local pharmacy first. 

If you have a serious eye condition that is being regularly monitored by your optometrist or hospital eye service, it is usually better to be reviewed by them as they have all of your medical history. 

Please note, we do not offer standard sight tests – you will need to visit your local optician for these. 


How Do I Book An Appointment With This Service?

You are able to self-refer into this service and do not need to speak to your GP first. If you have a recently occurring minor eye problem, please contact our Clinical Services Department:

01227 284314 / 01227 284315 - Monday to Friday 8am – 5pm.  

You will be asked some questions about your symptoms in order to assess how quickly you need to be seen by the service, which will be within 24hrs in urgent cases and within a few days for non-urgent cases.


Preparations Before Your Appointment

Please bring your glasses and a list of your current medication with you to the appointment. 

The optometrist may put drops in your eyes to enlarge your pupils in order to get a better view inside your eyes. You should not drive until the effects of these drops have worn off, which may take a few hours.


What Will Happen At Your Appointment?

You may have any of the following non-invasive tests carried out in order to diagnose the problem you are having: 

  • The optometrist will likely want to check your eye using a slit lamp – a slit lamp is a stereoscopic microscope that emits a focused beam of light with variable height, width, and angle. This instrument permits three-dimensional visualisation and measurement of the fine eye.
  • Photos may be taken of both eyes using an Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) machine – this a non-invasive diagnostic instrument used for imaging the retina.
  • Visual fields may be checked using a Humphrey Field Analyser to make sure you don’t have any abnormal blind spots. This can take up to 15 minutes.
  • Visual acuity may be checked – this is a measure of the ability of the eye to distinguish shapes and the details of objects at a given distance.
  • The pressures of your eyes may be checked using a handheld tool.

If minor eye surgery is needed we can arrange for you to be seen in our General Ophthalmology Clinic at Estuary View.  

If your condition is more serious, the optometrist may 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 in relation to your general health.


Need To Cancel Your Appointment? 

If for any reason you cannot attend an appointment, please contact the Clinical Services Reception team as soon as possible to arrange a new appointment.

Monday - Friday 8am - 5:00pm 
01227 284314 or 01227 284315