Emergency Eyecare

Minor Eye Conditions Service

As of June 2019 the local NHS has launched a Minor Eye Conditions Service (MECS) for patients of Bradford, Airedale and Craven GPs at local opticians practices.

MECS allows patients who have had a recent onset of minor to serious eye concerns (see the list below) to be seen at a local opticians practice for assessment and treatment, with referral on to GP or hospital as required. This eases pressure on busy surgeries and hospitals and is more convenient for patients. Patients with sudden, severe eye problems should still attend A&E and long-term conditions will continue to be monitored at routine appointments.

MECS appointments are provided free of charge by NHS funding for all patients registered at a local GP, even if you do not normally qualify for a free eye examination. A MECS appointment is intended solely for the purpose of assessing the immediate eye concern and is not a full eye examination – no sight test prescription will be issued.

Getting a MECS appointment at Airedale Opticians

You may be referred for a MECS appointment by your GP, a pharmacist, the NHS 111 number or the local hospital. You may also self-refer by calling the practice directly. You do not need to have previously attended Airedale Opticians to be seen here under MECS.

If you would like to book an appointment under MECS, please call the practices directly – Keighley 01535 690077Crosshills 01535 635856 – we cannot always respond to e-mail or social media requests quickly.

Our practice team will take details of your condition, which allows us to check your eligibility and triage the appointment using the NHS guidelines.

MECS appointments are also available at many local opticians in the Bradford, Airedale and Craven area – the full list is available on the Bradford LOC website. You can be seen at any opticians practice, even if you are not normally a patient there. You will not be required to sign up or make any purchases at a practice if you attend for a MECS appointment.

Why choose Airedale Opticians for your MECS appointment

At Airedale Opticians you will be seen by an experienced staff optometrist and receive a full, thorough check of the health of the eye, with referrals or follow-ups made as required.

You will have the option to take a 3D OCT and/or Optos Ultrawide Otpomap Scan to supplement the optometrist’s inspection – for certain conditions this can provide an even more detailed view of the back of the eye which may help to avoid the need for hospital referral – more details on our Retinal Scans.

Airedale Opticians is uniquely able to provide treatment for certain conditions such as dry-eye or blepharitis on the same day in practice, providing instant relief, rather than waiting for long referrals. We also carry the largest selection of eye drops, solutions and health products in-practice.

Conditions eligible for a MECS appointment

The following lists are a guideline only, if you have any queries please contact the practice, or out of hours the NHS 111 number.

The MECS service is intended for seeing patients with the following concerns:

  • Loss of vision including transient (temporary) loss
  • Very sudden onset of blurred vision
  • Recent onset of flashes and floaters
  • Pain in and immediately around the eye
  • Red/bloodshot eyes
  • Foreign Body removal
  • Emergency contact lens removal (if it is not possible to get to the fitting practice)
  • Dry eye
  • Blepharitis
  • Epiphora (excessively watering eyes)
  • Trichiasis (ingrowing eyelashes rubbing against the eye)
  • Differential diagnosis of lumps and bumps in the vicinity of the eye

The MECS service is not intended for:

  • Routine vision changes, any spectacle related problems or second opinions on sight tests etc. these will require a sight test appointment
  • Very severe eye pains, penetrating eye damage, serious head traumas etc. – attend A&E (preferably the BRI)
  • Patients identified in advance by a doctor or medic to have severe eye conditions which need hospital attention e.g. orbital cellulitis, temporal arteritis
  • Eye problems related to herpes zoster
  • Adult squints, double vision
  • Post operative removal of sutures
  • Suspected cancers of the eye (or in the vicinity of the eye)
  • Age related macular degeneration
  • Cataract referrals
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Patients that have been seen in the MECS service in the previous 3 months for the same condition (you should contact the practice where you previously attended)

Emergency Appointments outside of MECS

If you have any eye concerns that are not covered by a MECS appointment, or you are not registered with a local GP, we can still see you for a private eye examination which will cover a full eye health and prescription check, with further referrals or treatment available as required. Contact the practice by telephone for more information or to book an appointment.