Service overview - Ophthalmology

Our eye service departments provide a range of ophthalmic services for adults and children, including the following:

General eye clinic appointments
Laser treatments
Optometry (sight testing)
Orthoptics (non-surgical treatments, eg for squints)
Prosthetic eye services
Ophthalmic imaging (eye scans)

AttendAnywhere video consultations for patients

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We have introduced video appointments to help us carry on seeing patients during the current coronavirus pandemic.

Many of our services are now using this resource. Please click here to read more and to watch a short video, which will help you understand how these video appointments will work.

Broomfield Hospital - Ophthalmology services

Ophthalmology Services – A106

The Ophthalmology Services are based at Broomfield Hospital (location A106) but also have clinics in Braintree Community Hospital, St Peters Hospital, Maldon and South Woodham Ferrers Health Centre.

Patients are most commonly referred by their Optician or their GP.  However referrals are also accepted from Accident and Emergency, the Stroke Team, the Maxillo-Facial Team, Diabetic Eye Screening Services and other Ophthalmology Departments.

The Ophthalmology Team consists of 6 Consultant Ophthalmologists, Specialty Doctors, Orthoptists, Nurses, Ophthalmic Technicians, Health Care Support Workers and administrative staff.

The Ophthalmology Team provides specialist eye care for patients of all ages, from premature babies upwards.  Services include paediatric, glaucoma, retinal, corneal, ocular-plastics, macular degeneration and emergency clinics.


General Contact Details

For appointments: 01245 513900 or email Appointment@meht.nhs.uk 

Surgery Waiting List: 01245 514767

Orthoptic Secretary (only for patients under the care of the orthoptic department): 01245 514500 or email: mie-tr.Orthopticsbroomfield@nhs.net


About your visit

Whether your appointment is at Broomfield or at one of our other locations the pathway though the clinic is similar.  A member of the nursing team will assess the vision in each eye by reading down the letter chart.  Your colour vision and pupil reactions may also be checked.

There are a number of additional assessments you may require before seeing the Doctor, including visual field examination, imaging of the back of the eye or a measurement of the front of the eye.  When available these will be completed on the same day as the Doctor’s appointment, however occasionally this is not always possible.

 It may be necessary for the nursing staff to instil drops into the eyes to dilate the pupils.  The drops enable the doctor to examine the back of the eye in more detail, but often cause the vision to become blurry.  Therefore it is important that the patient does not drive for up to 6 hours after the appointment, until the vision has returned to normal.

The Eye Clinic at Broomfield in A106 is a very busy place and you should expect to be in the Eye Clinic for a couple of hours. 


Ophthalmology Appointments

Clinic Appointments

Ophthalmology appointments are booked by the Appointments centre. 

Follow-up appointments for 6 weeks or further in the future are placed on a waiting list and booked closer to the required time.  This is to avoid clinic cancellations due to clinician annual leave.

New patient referrals that are not booked with the GP through the Choose and Book system are graded by the clinicians and then booked by Marion in the appointments team.

To contact the Appointments team call 01245 513900 or e-mail appointments@meht.nhs.uk

Clinic Co-ordinator

Our clinic co-ordinator leads the ophthalmology appointment booking staff.  They manage the appointment waiting lists and optimises clinic capacity by checking clinics are fully booked daily.

Diabetic Eye Screening Administrator

Our administrator co-ordinates the appointments for patients referred to the Hospital Eye Service from the community Diabetic Eye Screening Service, which is managed by Health Intelligence.

To contact our administrator regarding your appointment, please call 01245 516707.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration and Macular Oedema Clinic Administrator

The administrator co-ordinates the appointments for our Age-Related Macular Degeneration and Macular Oedema Clinics. 

To contact the administrator regarding your appointment, please call 01245 514899.


Ophthalmology Surgery Waiting List

The waiting list staff co-ordinate all of the Ophthalmology surgery taking place at both Broomfield and Braintree Hospitals.  They contact patients to book dates for surgery as well as the pre-assessment and follow-up appointments the patient requires relating to their surgery.

Ophthalmology Waiting List: 01245 514767


Medical Secretaries

The Medical secretaries and support secretaries type clinic letters and support the Consultants and Doctors in their administrative duties.


About our Clinics

Glaucoma

Glaucoma clinics are for patients either diagnosed with, or under investigation for glaucoma.  Within these clinics you will typically undergo a visual field assessment and digital imaging of the optic disc either with a photograph or an OCT scan.

Retinal

Patients within the retinal clinics have their pupils dilated with drops.  The drops enable the doctor to see more of the retina at the back of the eye, but usually make the patient’s vision blurry for a few hours.  Often the retinal patients have an OCT scan of the back of the eye, particularly if the concern is with their central vision.

Cataract

If the patient has been referred by their optician to have their cataract removed they will be seen in the Cataract Clinic.  The doctor will assess the cataract to decide if it is ready to be removed and if so the nurse will go through all the pre-operation questions and health assessment.  The patient will then be put on the waiting list for cataract surgery.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration Clinic (ARMD)

On the initial visit to the department for suspected age related macular degeneration the patient is fully investigated.  Their vision is checked by the nurse and some drops instilled to dilate the pupils.  The patient will then have an OCT scan and the doctor will review the results and decide if a fluorescein angiogram (FFA) needs to be completed.  The FFA involves having some dye injected into the blood stream and by taking a sequence of photographs the blood vessels at the back of the eye can be assessed.  If the patient fulfils the criteria they will then be offered a course of injections into the eye with the aim of preserving the vision.

Once the patient has completed their course of injections they will be regularly reviewed by the doctor along with repeat OCT scans.  This is to enable accurate monitoring of the disease process.  Further injections will be offered if the doctor feels further treatment is required.

(Wet) Age Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD)

A new eye disease treatment is now available on the NHS here at Broomfield Hospital. Patients in Essex are now able to receive this revolutionary treatment for the eye disease, (wet) Age Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD).

Diabetic Eye Screening Service

The Diabetic Eye Screening Service offers all known Diabetic patients a yearly photographic screen of their eyes in the community.  If they are concerned about a patient’s eyes they refer them to the Hospital Eye Service.  The patient has dilating drops, an OCT scan of the eyes and is seen by the doctor who then decides on future management.

Macular Oedema Clinic

On the initial visit to the department for suspected macular oedema the patient is fully investigated.  The patient’s vision is checked by the nurse and some drops instilled in the eyes to dilate the pupils.  The patient will then have an OCT scan and the doctor will review the results.  If the patient fulfils the criteria they will then be offered a course of injections into the eye with the aim of preserving the vision.

Once the patient has completed their course of injections they will be regularly reviewed by the doctor along with repeat OCT scans.  This is to enable accurate monitoring of the disease process.  Further injections will be offered if the doctor feels further treatment is required.

To speak to the administrator regarding your appointment please call 01245 514899.

Injection Clinic

The injection clinics are run by both Doctors and our specially trained Staff Nurses.  The injections are to treat either macular degeneration or macular oedema.  The injection clinics take place in the Treatment Room within the Outpatient Clinic in A106.

To speak to the administrator regarding your appointment please call 01245 514899.

Paediatric Clinic

In the paediatric clinic children are seen by the orthoptist, refractionist and the ophthalmologist.  The orthoptist assesses the vision, visual alignment and movement of the eyes.  The child then sees the refractionist to check for a spectacle prescription and is reviewed by the ophthalmologist.  We have a Consultant Ophthalmologist with a specialist interest in paediatrics and strabismus.

Ocular Plastics Clinic

We have a Consultant Ophthalmologist with a special interest in oculoplastics.  Oculoplastics concentrates on the area around the eye, including the eye lids and tear ducts.

BoTox Clinic

The consultant injects botulin toxin into the muscles of the face around the eyes in the case of blepharospasm.  Blepharospasm is the uncontrollable twitching of the muscles which can be uncomfortable.

Corneal Clinic

We have a Consultant Ophthalmologist with a special interest in the cornea.  The cornea is at the front of the eye and allows light into the eye.  A Staff Nurse assists the consultant in this clinic by completing additional assessments.  These include the Pentacam to assess the shape of the cornea and the Cell Check assesses the health of the corneal cells.

Laser

The laser clinic is for the treatment of retinal problems and in the management of glaucoma.  Laser treatment is often required following cataract surgery.

Post-Operative Clinic

The Post-Operative clinics are led by the nursing staff and are primarily for after cataract surgery to ensure the eye has healed and that the vision has improved.  After cataract surgery the patient is requested to bring a copy of their new glasses prescription to the appointment.  This information is used for audit purposes.

Minor Surgery

The treatment room in the Outpatient Department in A106 is used to complete small eye lid procedures, such as the removal of small lumps

Orthoptic Clinic

Orthoptists are experts in evaluating vision and are able to assess the vision in patients of all ages from newborn babies to adults and patients with special needs.  They specialise in assessing eye movements and in the visual development of children.

The Orthoptists monitor and treat children with amblyopia (“lazy eye” or “lazy vision”, when one eye can see more clearly than the other) and strabismus (“squint”, when one eye turns in a different direction to the other eye).  The children are reviewed regularly and are treated with glasses, wearing a patch, exercises or with surgery by the Consultant Ophthalmologist.

The Orthoptists diagnose and manage patients with eye movement abnormalities such as those experiencing double vision, or those with difficulties moving their eyes perhaps due to trauma, palsy or disease.

To contact the Orthoptic Secretary call 01245 514500 or
mie-tr.Orthopticsbroomfield@nhs.net

Secondary Vision Screening

The orthoptists provide a secondary vision screening service in community clinics for children that have failed their eye check with the school nurse or whose parents mention concerns about the eyes or vision to their health visitor.  The clinics are held at a variety of local health and children’s centres and offer reassurance for parents, or referral into the hospital eye service for further investigation or treatment.

To contact the Orthoptic Secretary  01245 514500 or
mie-tr.Orthopticsbroomfield@nhs.net

Refraction Clinic

The Refractionist (or Optometrist) carries out a refraction to determine a patient’s spectacle prescription.  This clinic is primarily for children, but adults can be seen in exceptional circumstances.

The Dispensing Optician has a large selection of children’s spectacle frames to choose from, or the prescription can be taken to the patient’s local Dispensing Optician if they prefer for the prescription to be dispensed.

If you have any questions regarding glasses that have been ordered and supplied by the Dispensing Opticians please contact 01621 782048.

Visual Field Assessment

The Visual Field machine assesses the patient’s peripheral vision.  It is used primarily in the assessment of glaucoma and is also useful for some patients that have had a stroke, have other neurological disease or if they are on medications with side-effects that could affect peripheral vision.

Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT)

The OCT uses a harmless laser to assess the tissues of the eye.  It is predominantly used if the ophthalmologist is concerned about the macular (central vision) of the retina, particularly in diabetic patients.  The OCT is regularly used to assess the optic disc in glaucoma patients.

Fundus Photography

The fundus camera takes a digital photograph of the back of the eye. 

The fundus camera is used for the Fundus Fluorescein Angiogram clinics to assess the blood supply to the retina.  A special dye is injected into the blood vessels of the patient’s arm and a number of images are taken as the dye travels around the arteries and veins in the eye.

Fundus Fluorescein Angiography Clinic (FFA)

The FFA clinic is run by a Staff nurse and photographer.  Fluorescein dye is injected into a vein in the patient’s arm and as the dye travels around the body it makes it enters the blood vessels in the retina at the back of the eye.  The photographer is able to use the fundus camera to take images of how the dye travels around these vessels in order to look for blockages or leaks.

Southend Hospital - Ophthalmology services

South Essex Eye Service, our ophthalmology service, provides ophthalmic services to the population of South Essex and beyond.

Our multi-disciplinary team provides excellent eye care based on current best practice. Using the latest technology in our well-equipped facilities we plan and provide speedy, accurate diagnosis and appropriate care pathways for patients. Along with the ability to conduct minor operations, we offer a wide range of services including laser treatment, photo dynamic therapy, botox (as a non-cosmetic treatment) and an eye casualty service. These are provided at both Southend and Orsett hospitals.

We deal with a wide range of eye problems and only rarely need to refer patients to other hospitals. Our consultants are supported by a team of doctors, some of whom are on rotation from other specialist units such as Moorfields.


Our team

Our team is made up of orthoptists, photographers, optometrists, consultants and nurses.

Our consultants each deal with general eye conditions as well as individually specialising in all the major areas of ophthalmology including glaucoma, cataracts, diabetes and eye treatment for under 18s. Our dedicated and highly-trained nursing team, many of whom have been specially trained in eye care. These nurses run specialist clinics which means sometimes you will see a specialist nurse for your appointment and treatment and not a doctor.


Our services

We offer an extensive range of expert services and treatments for a variety of sight conditions, including:

Botox
Casualty clinics
Cataract surgery
Corneal diseases, conditions and trauma
Day stay / inpatient surgery (local and General anaesthetic)
Diabetic retinopathy
FFA (Fundus Fluorescein Angiography)
Glaucoma
Laser treatment
Medical retinal service
Minor operations
Orthoptics
Paediatric ophthalmology
Phasing
Photo dynamic therapy service
Pre-assessment
Retinal screening
Syringing of tear ducts
Visual fields
Vitreo-retinal surgery
Being referred

Via optician - if your optician decides that you need to be seen urgently in the eye clinic they will contact an eye doctor by phone to arrange an appointment for you. If your problem is less urgent, they will write to the eye unit or refer you to your GP for help

Via GP - if your GP decides that you need to be seen urgently in the eye clinic they will contact an eye doctor by phone to arrange for you to be seen urgently, usually either the same day or the following day. If your problem is less urgent, they will write to the eye unit to arrange a clinic appointment for you

Via A&E (casualty clinics) - if your optician or doctor thinks you need to see an eye doctor urgently they can phone and speak to the on-call doctor. You will be given an appointment for either the same day or the following day. This service is available every day, including weekends and bank holidays
If you do have a problem and you want advice about what to do, please contact the hospital switchboard to speak to one of our nurses. Alternatively you can contact NHS Direct.


Inpatient services

Both Southend and Orsett Hospitals provide a full range of inpatient and day stay care facilities.

We provide full outpatient, inpatient and day stay care facilities for our patients, including a ten bedded ward for those requiring an overnight stay. All surgery requiring a general anaesthetic is done at our hospital. Orsett Hospital provides full outpatient and daystay care facilities. Those requiring inpatient care are transferred to Southend. 


Outpatient services

Both Southend and Orsett Hospitals provide a full range of ophthalmic clinics which include 'specialist clinics' that deal with a specific condition such as glaucoma, diabetes, retinal or eye problems related to children.

It can take time to see each individual patient in some of our more specialised so there may occasionally be unavoidable delays. We appreciate your patience in such circumstances. On occasion it may be necessary for you to be seen at a clinic which is not the closest to where you live. This is because a small number of services or facilities are only provided at one site. You will be advised if this is the case. 

The following clinics are run solely by specialist members of our nursing staff: 

  • Fundus Fluorescein Angiography
  • Minor Operations  
  • Post Cataract checks
  • Pre-assessment for surgery

What to expect when you attend the eye clinic     

When you arrive at the clinic and have 'signed-in', you will be seen by a nurse who will test your vision and then put drops in your eyes. Most people who come to the clinic will need to have the drops put in. These will dilate your pupils so that the doctor can examine the inside of your eyes fully. It takes about half an hour for the drops to work; in some cases you may need a second dose. The drops will sting a little when they are put in and your vision will become blurred.  The blurred vision will last for up to six hours and you must not drive during this time.


Contact us

Eye unit: 01702 508181

NHS Direct: 0845 4647