Optometry

We provide clinics at Essex County Hospital, Colchester, Clacton and Harwich hospitals.

Who are we?

We provide visual rehabilitation to patients, and provide diagnostic support to our medical colleagues.

Some of our specialist optometrists also work in clinics such as cataract, glaucoma and medical retina.

What services do we provide?

Contact us:

Contact lens enquiries 01206 744656
Low Vision Assessment clinic enquiries 01206 744656
Appointment enquiries 01206 744705/744423

Refraction

Refraction is the evaluation of visual function by using objective and subjective methods to determine refractive error (spectacle correction). This method uses a range of specialised techniques for diagnostic purposes, post-operative result and management of complex optical prescriptions.

Refraction provides visual assessments prior to the consultant’s consideration of registering a person as being severely sight impaired or sight impaired.

Contact Lens Service

We provide contact lenses where there is a medical need, usually when vision cannot be improved with spectacles but can with contact lenses.

Examples:

To get an appointment you must be referred by your GP, optometrist or another hospital.

For contact lens enquiries contact us on 01206 744656

Low Vision Assessment (L.V.A.) clinic

If you are being seen in the Eye Clinic for treatment or monitoring, you can ask your doctor for a L.V.A. appointment.

If you are not currently attending the hospital for an eye condition, but have a diagnosed visual impairment and are not seeing well, even with a correct, up-to-date prescription, you can ask your GP or optometrist to refer you to the L.V.A. clinic.

If you are having difficulty with everyday tasks such as reading, writing, watching television or crossing the road due to your eyesight, the L.V.A. Clinic can offer you visual aids and advice.

What to expect at your appointment

To determine the best advice and optical aids to give you, the optometrist will take a detailed case history where you will be asked about current and previous eye conditions, your living conditions including the type of lighting you have around your home and whether you have any help from family or friends, how you manage with household tasks such as cooking and cleaning and whether you have any hobbies or interests.

Spectacles may be checked and new ones will be prescribed if they help. Please bring all your spectacles with you to this appointment.

Often if you have a visual impairment changing your spectacle prescription is unlikely to improve your vision.

Optical aids you may be given

Optical aids (with the exception of electronic aids) are loaned free of charge. Aids loaned include non-illuminated and illuminated magnifiers for close work, and telescopes and binoculars for intermediate and long distances.

Non-optical aids may be offered, such as signature and writing guides. Tinted glasses to reduce glare and light sensitivity are available on loan.

Information

Lighting, contrast, talking books and newspapers, large print books and newspaper with television guides can be discussed with the optometrist and the Eye Clinic liaison officer (E.C.L.O.). Information about local charities and services are also available, and some are listed below.

Information on national associations for the visually impaired is also available in the Eye Clinic.

CVI registration

Certificates of Visual Impairment (C.V.I.) can only be certified by a consultant ophthalmologist. There are two categories of registration: severely sight impaired (blind) and sight impaired (partially sighted).

Severely sight impaired – The majority of people registered are not totally blind. To qualify your vision must be below a certain level and/or your field of vision must be severely restricted.

Sight impaired – Reduced vision and/or visual field loss.

If you are attending the hospital Eye Clinic you can ask your doctor if you are eligible for registration. If you are not currently under the care of an ophthalmologist, you can get advice on eligibility and how to get registered from your optometrist or GP.

Children’s Optometry Clinics

Children are referred to this clinic by different health professionals for further investigation. This clinic is run in conjunction with orthoptists and a paediatric ophthalmologist. Spectacle prescriptions or contact lenses are provided for clinical reasons following the assessment.

Visual Field Assessment

The visual field refers to the total area in which objects can be seen in the side (peripheral) vision while you focus your eyes on a central point. A visual field test will show whether you have a loss of sensitivity of vision in your visual field. The pattern of vision loss will help your ophthalmologist diagnose the cause. Diseases that may affect the visual field of the eyes include glaucoma, diabetes, high blood pressure, macular degeneration, multiple sclerosis, optic glioma, overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism), pituitary gland disorders, retinal detachment, stroke and temporal arteritis.

Corneal topography

This is non-invasive imaging technique for mapping the surface curvature of the cornea, the transparent front part of the eye. Corneal topography is exceptionally useful for examining characteristics of the cornea such as shape, curvature, power and thickness. The three-dimensional map is a valuable aid to assist in the diagnosis and treatment of a number of conditions such as keratoconus, in planning cataract surgery and intraocular lens (IOL) implantation, in planning refractive surgery such as LASIK and evaluating its results, and in assessing the fit of contact lenses.

Cataract surgery pre-assessment biometry

This service carries out ultrasound investigations (biometry) prior to cataract surgery. Biometry provides measurements that are used to determine the power of the new lens to be inserted during surgery.