Minor Eye Conditions Service (MECS)




If you have a recent problem with your eyes – such as sore eyes, red eyes or visual disturbance – you can be assessed and treated by our local Minor Eye Conditions Service. This is a free NHS service available from a number of local opticians.


How do I book an appointment with the service?

To make an appointment, call one of the opticians below. 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 24 hours in urgent cases and within a few days for routine appointments.

Please take 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.

image of an eye appointment



  • Costspex 41 Dragonville Industrial Park, DH1 2XU 0191 386 3517 
  • Grundy and Naisbitt Ltd 1 Sanderson Street, Coxhoe, DH6 4DF 0191 377 0628 
  • Simon Berry Optometrist Ltd 41a Marshall Terrace,  DH1 2HX 01913757544 
  • Specsavers Durham Unit 2, 1-4 North Road, DH1 4PW 0191 383 9495 
  • Specsavers Arnison Unit S, Arnison Retail Park , Durham, DH1 5GB 0191 814 2020
  • G.A & J.M Foster Opticians, 92 High Street Willington, DL15 0PE, 01388 746800
  • Specsavers Bishop Auckland, 45 Newgate Street, DL14 7EW, 01388 606080

Conditions that can be seen under the service

  • 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
  • Recently occurring flashes or floaters
  • Ingrowing eyelashes
  • Recent and sudden loss of vision
  • Foreign body in the eye

If you have a major eye condition that is being regularly monitored by your optometrist or hospital eye service, this will not be covered by this service; for example, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy or glaucoma.


Where should I go?

Registered optometry practices (opticians) offering the service are listed above. An appointment will normally be required, so telephone first. Appointments are available during normal working hours and some practices offer appointment at weekends. Not all practices have an optometrist available every day, but if they don’t, they will be able to find you an alternative appointment nearby.


Who is this service for?

If you are registered with a local GP you can use this free service. It is for people of all ages – adults and children. Children under 16 years must be accompanied at their appointment by an adult.