Optical practices - also known as optometry practices or opticians - are usually the first place to contact to help you maintain good eye health, or to help you with eye or vision-related symptoms.

Sight tests are just as important as your routine dental checks or visits to the GP. Most people should have a sight test every two years but some may need to be checked more often, for example children and people over the age of 60. Some serious eye diseases have no symptoms in the early stages so they need to be examined by a professional. Early detection and treatment can prevent longer-term problems.
NHS sight tests are available for many people. Some people can also get NHS help with the cost of glasses. To check eligibility please look here: https://www.nhs.uk/nhs-services/opticians/free-nhs-eye-tests-and-optical-vouchers/

The NHS also has information about visiting an opticians here: https://www.nhs.uk/nhs-services/opticians/visiting-an-optician/

This short animation shows what to expect when visiting an optical practice.

Some people need a little help to have a successful sight test. The Easy Eye Care service is designed to accommodate the needs of patients with learning disability and autism. This service is available at specific optical practices.

Click here for more information

To find your nearest participating practice, click here.

For new symptoms like these, NHS Lancashire and South Cumbria ICB commissions both minor and urgent eyecare services though many of our optical practices. Currently, the name of the service may depend on where you live, but a unified service under a single name will arrive in April 2024. Please enquire at your local optical practice – explain your symptoms and ask if they provide an NHS-funded service to help.

Morecambe Bay

Minor Eye Conditions Service (MECS)

East Lancashire and Fylde Coast

Community Urgent Eyecare Services (CUES)

Preston, Chorley and South Ribble

Community Health and Eyecare (CHEC)

West Lancashire

For patients with a GP in West Lancashire the community ophthalmology service requires a referral from your GP or the Skelmersdale NHS Walk-in Centre.

People who are suffering sight loss can access support from a variety of sources and there is no need to be officially certified or registered as sight impaired.

Morecambe Bay

Our partners at Galloways, Sight Advice South Lakes, and Vision Support Barrow & District will be able to help with low vision aids (magnifiers) and sight-loss support services. We also have an eye care liaison officer (ECLO) working with the eye clinics at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay who can help people navigate a range of support services. 

Preston, Chorley, and South Ribble

We have sight loss support services available through Lancashire Teaching Hospitals Trust as well as through some optical practices and Galloways society. The hospital service incorporates both low vision aid assessments and additional support through their eye care liaison officer (ECLO). Ask the optometrist at your local optical practice for a referral.

Fylde Coast

Some optical practices offer NHS-funded low vision aid service (magnifiers), and N-Vision  provides both a low vision aid service and a wealth of sight loss help and advice. There is ECLO support at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

East Lancashire

We have a network of optical practices offering low vision aid (magnifiers). A list of participating practices can be found here. Our colleagues at ELVIN also provide valuable support to people with sight loss in the area and East Lancashire Hospitals Trust have ECLO support in their clinics.

West Lancashire

Low vision services (magnifiers) are provided at Southport & Ormskirk Hospital where there is also ECLO support. Galloways has offices in Penwortham and Southport. Please ask your local optometrist for a referral. For other support resources please contact RNIB on 0303 123 9999 who have details of local resources.

Lancashire & South Cumbria ICB provides specialist eye health services that your optometrist or GP may refer you to, for example for a cataract or glaucoma assessment. These services may be located in optical practices, community clinics, or hospitals.

University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay
(Furness General Hospital, Westmorland General Hospital, Royal Lancaster Infirmary)

East Lancashire Hospitals Trust
(Royal Blackburn Teaching Hospital, Burnley General Teaching Hospital)

Lancashire Teaching Hospitals Trust
(Lancashire Eye Centre at Chorley District Hospital, Royal Preston Hospital)

Blackpool Victoria Hospital

Southport and Ormskirk Hospital

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