Eye Health and Ophthalmology

Page contents 

Eye health and care

Our community eye care services enable High Street opticians to identify and, in some cases, treat or monitor certain eye conditions. Conditions which cannot be treated or monitored by a High Street optician can be referred directly into specialist services for treatment.

Surrey Heartlands CCG has recently re-launched services with local Opticians to enable opticians (also known as optometrists) to directly refer patients with cataract, suspected wet AMD or suspected glaucoma to hospital rather than having to go via their GP. Minor eye conditions can also be seen and treated by an optician.

You will need to be registered with a GP in the following areas to access these services, identified in the table below.

*but patients will need to travel to a participating Optician in either Guildford & Waverley or Surrey Downs.

Minor Eye Conditions Service (MECS or ACES)

Currently only available at selected Opticians in the Surrey Downs area and Guildford and Waverley area – a patient must be registered with one of these GP Practices to access this service.

Minor eye conditions service 
This service covers the following conditions; red eye or eyelids, dry eye or gritty/uncomfortable eyes, inflammation and irritation of the eye, significant sticky discharge from the eye or watery eye, recently occurring flashes and floaters, in-growing eyelashes, recent and sudden reduced vision, foreign body in the eye, eye pain and excessive tears. Patients can self-refer and book an appointment simply by contacting one of the opticians using the search facility available on the Primary Eyecare website.

Other eye-care services available to patients registered with a GP in North West Surrey, Guildford & Waverley, Surrey Downs and East Surrey

Direct Pre-Operative Cataract Referral 
This service enables opticians to identify possible cataracts in patients during their routine eye test. Where an optometrist (optician) identifies cataract they will carry out an additional assessment to identify the extent of the cataract and will discuss treatment options with the patient. Patients will be given information about cataract and treatment options for consideration, before making a decision about whether to opt for surgery. When a patient has decided to opt for surgery they will be directly referred to the hospital eye department by their optometrist.

Wet Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) Referral
This service helps high street opticians identify suspected wet AMD in patients during their routine eye test. By urgently referring patients directly to a hospital or community clinic, further tests can be carried out and treatment can be started within two weeks if necessary.

Glaucoma Repeat Reading Service
Under this service, during a standard eye test an optometrist may identify raised intraocular pressure or suspicious visual fields which can be a sign of glaucoma. Optometrists are asked to repeat these readings/ tests to confirm a continued high or suspicious reading before making a referral. Where patients have a repeated high reading they will be referred directly to the hospital eye department.

What are the benefits of these pathways?
These pathways have many benefits to patients including faster referral to hospital, removing the need for a GP appointment and preventing unnecessary trips to hospital.


How do patients access these pathways 

1. MECS / ACES – currently for Guildford & Waverley and Surrey Downs patients only.

pdf List of opticians offering this service (203 KB)

pdf List of eligible GP Practices which you must be registered at to access this service. (432 KB)

Patients can self-refer and book an appointment simply by contacting one of the opticians using the up-to-date search facility available: Find a Practice - Search for your nearest participating optical practice (primaryeyecare.co.uk).

pdf Patient leaflet for Guildford and Waverley providers. (541 KB)

2. Direct Pre-Operative Cataract Referral
Glaucoma Repeat Reading Service
Suspected Wet Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) Referral

Patients must be registered with a pdf Surrey Heartlands GP Practice to access these services (432 KB) .

Lists of Opticians providing these services in Surrey Heartlands CCG area:

pdf Direct Cataract Referral Service (297 KB)

pdf Direct Wet Age-related Macular Degeneration Referral Providers (255 KB)

pdf Glaucoma Repeat Readings Service (302 KB)

Optometrists (opticians) will undertake the cataract assessment or repeat readings for suspected glaucoma, where required, after they have undertaken an NHS Sight Test. If you have any concerns about cataract or glaucoma please consult your optical practice.


Where can I find more information about these eye conditions?

For more information about eye health please visit 'NHS look after your eyes'. 

For information about cataract please visit 'NHS conditions: cataracts'. 

For information about glaucoma please visit 'NHS conditions: glaucoma'. 

For information about AMD please visit 'NHS conditions: AMD'.

For information about minor eye conditions service please visit 'primary eye care: minor eye conditions'.


Model Publication Scheme Class: Class 9: Services Commissioned