Minor Eye Conditions Service (MECS)


Where should I go with my eye problem?

This page explains where patients aged 6 or older in Oxfordshire can go with eye problems. If unsure, please call NHS111.

Speak to your local community pharmacy if:
  • you have a red, sticky, itchy, dry or gritty eye, or a red patch
    has appeared in the last week or so.

Pharmacists can quickly resolve most minor eye complaints with a brief examination and over the counter remedies.

Contact a MECS optometrist if you have:
  • Recently occurring flashes and/or floaters
  • Painful eye including pain with bright lights
  • Ingrowing eyelashes
  • Recent problems with your vision
  • Foreign body in the eye
Information about your MECS appointment

Accredited Opticians offering this service in Bicester are:

  • Specsavers – 25 Sheep Street – 01869 321 422
  • Dove & Conway – 100 Sheep Street – 01869 242 740
  • Robert Stanley – Bure Place – 01869 360 557
  • Vision Express – 47 Sheep Street – 01869 327 035

This is not a walk-in service – an appointment will normally be required, so please phone first. Appointments are available during normal working hours, Monday – Saturday/Sunday.

The optometrist will normally be able to triage you over the phone and advise you if it is necessary to go to Eye Casualty instead.

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. Please take your NHS number with you. If your condition is more serious, the optometrist will direct you to eye casualty.

This service is funded by the NHS. There are specially trained and accredited optometrists who can diagnose and treat many eye conditions that previously would have been seen by a doctor in eye casualty or general practice. If you are unsure whether your symptoms can be assessed and treated by the service, please phone 111, or contact one of the accredited Optoms below for advice.

Please Note a MECS examination is not an eyesight test.

To download a patient leaflet, please click here

Go direct to eye casualty if you have:

  • Serious eye trauma
  • Eye surgery within past 30 days AND current issue is that eye
  • Severe eye pain (so bad that it stops you from working)
  • Painful red eye WITH reduced vision OR light sensitivity
  • Painful eye WITH vision loss AND nausea/vomiting OR haloes around lights
  • Painful eye WITH droopy eyelid, double vision and abnormatal pupil
  • History of iritis or uveitis and suspicion of a new episode
  • Sudden, sustained loss of vision
  • Sudden onset double vision
  • Vision loss WITH headaches AND soreness of scalp/jaw
  • Swollen eyelid WITH red, painful, bulgy looking eye AND double or blurry vision
  • Flashes or floaters WITH veils, curtains, clouds OR reduced central vision
  • Contact lens WITH red eye, severe pain, getting worse with time AND reduced vision
  • Swollen eyelid WITH fever

Eye Casualty is located at the John Radcliffe Hospital (West Wing entrance), 01865 234 567For more details and directions to the JR click here.

Opening hours for Eye Casualty walk-in service
  • Monday to Friday: 8.30am – 4.30pm
  • Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays: 8.30am – 3.30pm
  • Christmas, Boxing Day and New Year: closed, with on-call service

If you have an urgent eye problem outside these hours, please contact your out-of-hours GP, dial 111 or come to the main Emergency Department (A&E).

You only rarely need to go to your GP:

  • If your eyelids are swollen and you have a fever (this is urgent)
  • If you think your vision changes might be linked to a headache (Migraine)