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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