What is MECS?

MECS is an NHS service for patients aged 16 and over who are registered with a Lewisham, Lambeth, Bexley or Southwark GP, to access an accredited local optometrist if they experience a medical eye condition.

Medical eye conditions that can be treated by MECS.

  • Sudden or recent reduction in vision one or both eyes
  • Red eye(s) or eye lids
  • Pain and /or discomfort in the eyes, around the eye area or temples
  • Recent onset or sudden increase of flashes and /or floaters in one or both eyes (appears like a fly, black specks, or a cobweb moving across your vision)
  • Mild trauma, for example a scratch to the outer surface of the eye(s) or lid(s)
  • Suspected foreign body in the eye
  • Recent onset of double vision
  • Significant recent discharge from or watering of the eye

If you are unsure whether your symptoms qualify for MECS, please contact us and we will advise you accordingly.

Eye conditions not treated under MECS

If you have any of the following conditions you must go directly to your nearest Accident and Emergency Department:

  • Sudden loss of vision in one or both eyes
  • Considerable eye pain
  • Significant trauma, such as a penetrating injury or lacerations to the eye(s) or lid(s)
  • Chemical injury or burns
  • Problems arising from recent eye surgery

If you already have an eye condition which is being treated, such as cataracts or glaucoma, you will not be covered by MECS and you should contact whoever is treating you.

Remember: you may not be able to drive immediately after the eye examination.

How do I access MECS?

All you need to do is call us, explain the problem and ask if you can have a MECS appointment.  Alternatively, if you make an appointment to see your GP, he or she may refer you to the optometrist for treatment.

What happens when I see the optometrist?

The optometrist will discuss your eye history, any symptoms you may be experiencing and any related medical history.  You will receive an eye assessment relevant to your symptoms.

Please take a list of all current medications and your current glasses with you to the appointment.

As a result of the consultation you may be:

  • Given appropriate treatment by the optometrist, which may include a follow-up appointment
  • Referred to your GP for appropriate treatment if your eye condition is related to your general health
  • Referred directly to the hospital eye service if your eye conditions is more serious

Following your appointment, the optometrist will notify your GP about the outcome of your consultation in order to ensure your medical records are updated.

Please note:

This service does not replace routine eye examinations and will not cover you for the cost of new glasses or lenses.

A sight test will not be performed as part of the assessment or treatment and you will not be issued with a prescription for glasses.

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