Opticians to provide urgent NHS eye care services

People across Bath, North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire can now access free NHS treatment for urgent eye care from their local optician.
pair of glasses

Thanks to a new service commissioned by the local NHS, high street opticians can offer free treatment for urgent eye conditions such as itchy and red eyes, scratched or swollen eyes or unexplained reduced vision.

Anyone, whatever age and whether registered with an optician or not, will be able to access treatment for any new or worsening eye conditions via a local optician.

The majority of opticians are still operating during the Covid-19 pandemic and most of them are offering this new service. If your local optician has closed during the outbreak then they will be able to direct you to another local provider who is still open. GPs will also be able to direct patients to this new service.

Dr Andrew Girdher, local GP and Clinical Chair for Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group said:

“It is essential that people do still get treatment for any new or worsening eye conditions. We understand that people may have delayed going to A&E or their GP for such things during the Covid outbreak but our eyes are really delicate and do need to be looked after. The great news is that now you can get many of the treatments you need from eye specialists without having to go to A&E or your GP.”

 “This is good news for our GPs and emergency departments too, as it reduces the numbers of patients they have to treat during this time.”

This is a temporary service set up as a result of concerns that many patients were not seeking treatment for eye conditions due to worries about exposing themselves to Covid-19 by visiting A&E departments or their GP. Local opticians will be supported by specialist eye departments to deliver this service.

It is hoped that the service will be rolled out nationally, with Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire the second region to launch it.

A full list of those opticians who are offering this new service is available at

Looking for information about health and care?

Find advice and information to help you stay well and make decisions about your health and social care support.

Find advice and information