Eye or dental problems

Eye and dental problems are common issues, and can range from the mild to the serious.

Eye problems

The NHS Scotland website has a helpful and quick online guide for eye symptoms which can check your symptoms to help determine how best to help you:

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 MECS 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.

Specsure Opticians11-13 Derwent Centre, Consett DH8 5SD01207 588625
R Young Opticians3 Clifford Road, Stanley DH9 0AB01207 232524
Specsavers StanleyCromarty House, Front Street, Stanley DH9 0SX01207 262 728
Specsavers DurhamUnit 2, 1-4 North Road, Durham DH1 4PW0191 383 9495
Specsavers ArnisonUnit S, Arnison Retail Park Durham, DH1 5GB0191 814 2020

Conditions treated

Conditions that can be seen under the service include:

  • 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.

Serious or ongoing eye conditions

If you are worried you may have a serious problem with your eyes for example sudden vision loss, or a red painful eye with some vision change this will be best assessed by a GP.

Dental issues

GPs receive no specialist training on dental conditions so are advised not to treat these.

Instead please contact your local dentist or the 111 service.