Looking out for your own eyes (11th July 2016)

Having had a traumatic last couple of weeks, thereabouts, with a scare on my eyesight, I thought it might be helpful to relate it here, in case anyone suffers the same symptoms.


I woke up with flashing lights to my left eye along with a floater. Google correctly said this could be symptomatic of a retinal damage (or potentially ). I attempted to get an appointment at an optician and was told I needed a MECS appointment (Minor Eye Condition Service) but nobody seemed to have any appointments that day. Eventually, Boots said they could take me and on arrival I said it was for a MECS appointment. They said that was impossible as they hadn’t the person on the premises. They then said as I was due a check up they could do this and it would be the same anyway.

I ended up with new glasses (unsurprisingly) but I was still worried deep down as to whether they had given me the appropriate checks so I saw my GP. She immediately asked if they’d put drops in my eye to dilate the pupil in order to take a more thorough look. They hadn’t. I then had to begin the process of a proper MECS appointment again. You couldn’t make this next bit up.


Having been told The Manchester Eye Hospital have a walk in, I rang them, only to be told they couldn’t treat me because I don’t have a Manchester post code. I was told to ring Stepping Hill in Stockport. They said they couldn’t see me with out a referral note from my GP. I returned to the GP who said you can walk into the eye hospital if you live in Greater Manchester. She also said I’d probably get agro from Stepping Hill. Sure enough they said they couldn’t confirm a MECS until they’d seen me. Not wanting to waste a journey, I worked through the list of MECS opticians until I got one to take me.


They said the only difference between the MECS and the normal test was the drops. These dilate your pupils and you are unable to drive afterwards. They then have a good look into your eyes using a light and magnifier to check for retinal damage. Fortunately, mine are ok, thought the floater could always be there but will most probably go away within a couple of months.


I have to watch out now for the very slight chance of retinal tearing by looking out for the symptom of the appearance of a curtain coming down over my eye. If not picked up straight away, it can cause blindness. Having said that, the symptoms I had are merely age related or due to a slight bang to the eye I experienced a few days prior.


It might be worth drawing down a copy of your local opticians that do MECS tests in the event of this happening so you can get straight on the telephone. If you ring them, they should attempt to get an optician for you within 24 hours of you contacting them but this is not necessarily going to happen after my experience.


Usually similar changes to the eye take place in age without our noticing. In my case, some of the viscous fluid had been affected as well, causing those symptoms.

Hope this doesn’t happen to anyone here, of course, but just in case, I hope you’ve found the article helpful.

Published by Hilary Hughes

Lady Driving Instructor / Automatic Car

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