Ophthalmology (Eye) Service

Opthamology Photo strip
Our aim is to provide patients with excellent standards of care in a warm and friendly environment.  The treatments we offer are delivered by a team of professional, dedicated and approachable staff with a view to reduce fears, anxieties or apprehensions you may have regarding your condition.
Individual care is given by all members of the multidisciplinary team to achieve the best possible outcomes for everyone in the department.
The clinics held at Kettering are general ophthalmic clinics, specialist clinics and an appointment only eye casualty clinic. We also run outreach clinics at Corby Diagnostics and Nene Park in Irthlingborough.
The Ophthalmology department is spread across three clinic areas; your letter will state which clinic you should report to.

Our Services

  • Nurse led preoperative assessment clinics
  • Nurse led diagnostic clinics for Age Related Macula Degeneration 
  • Diabetic retinopathy and Retinal Disorders
  • Corneal Service
  • Fluorescein Angiography
  • Glaucoma
  • Imaging and visual field testing
  • Low Vision Aids
  • Medical Retina
  • Oculoplastics Service (Lids, lacrimal)
  • Optometry
  • Paediatric Eye Services
  • Specialist Ophthalmic Services
  • Ultrasound examination
  • Contact Lens (currently unavailable referring externally)

Specialist Ophthalmic Services

There are many specialties within the field of Ophthalmology, which are described briefly below.

Cataract pathway team - We look after patients who are referred for possible cataract surgery, from the initial referral to post-operative care. 

Cornea and anterior segment - We care for patients with diseases and disorders of the cornea (the front of the eye), and with refractive and immunological problems.

Glaucoma - We look after patients with glaucoma, or glaucoma suspects. 

Neuro-ophthalmology and adult strabismus - We care for patients with some neurological conditions affecting the eyes.  We also look after adult patients with strabismus (or squints), and ocular muscle weakness.

Oculoplastics and orbit - We specialise in looking after patients with diseases and disorders of the eyelids, the tear drainage system, and the orbit surrounding the eye.

Paediatric eye services - We care for all children with visual disorders.

Medical retina - We look after patients suffering from diabetic retinopathy, uveitis, age-related macular degeneration, inherited retinal dystrophies and acquired retinal disorders.

What happens at your appointment?

Please book in at the clinic reception desk at each visit.  Once you have registered, your casenotes will be passed through to your team.
You may be required to see several members of the team during one visit, in addition to a doctor.
There are often several doctors' clinics running in one area, and each patient can have different requirements.  We endeavour to see all patients in appointment time order, whilst ensuring that everyone is treated according to their needs, and receives the  tests and investigations necessary. However, if  you are worried about the waiting time please ask the receptionist or a member of the nursing team. Please allow 2-3 hours for your appointment.
As there may be a long wait on any clinic, we ask that all diabetic patients ensure that they bring sufficient food to their appointment.
In all clinics, emergency patients are given priority; please be patient.

Your Consultation

The following investigations may be performed as part of your clinic visit:

  • Visual acuity test (reading the letter chart).  All patients are required to have a visual acuity test at each clinic visit. 
  • Visual field test.  This is usually performed prior to seeing the doctor, but can normally be done on request if the doctor requires it. 
  • Orthoptists specialise in eye movements. 
  • Dilating drops may have to be instilled in order for the doctor to examine your eye; these take 20 minutes to work and last for 4-6 hours; you are advised not drive until these drops have worn off.  You may wish to bring sunglasses as your pupils cannot constrict in bright light as normal.
  • Nurse led diagnostic clinics for Age Related Macula Degeneration, Diabetic retinopathy and Retinal Disorders.  A doctor or consultant will review the diagnostic scans and photographs and any future appointment or treatment plan will be arranged, if required, and you will be notified accordingly.
  • Ophthalmic clinicians take a variety of scans, images and photos.  You must be dilated for photos. Please do not drive to these appointments.
  • The consultant, or a member of his or her team will see you, on most clinics.
  • Nurses for a pre-operative assessment, if the doctor decides that you require surgery.

In addition to the medical team we also work closely with the Macular disease society and Northamptonshire Association for the Blind (NAB).

Eye Examination

Your eye will be examined using a microscope with a light attachment, similar to those used at opticians. You may also be given eye drops to show scratches or marks on the front of the eyes or local anaesthetic drops.
If we need to examine the retina, eye drops will be used to dilate your pupils. These take about 15 minutes to work and can affect your vision for about six hours. If it is a sunny day, you may need to bring sunglasses with you for comfort.  You will not be able to drive home
If your eye needs to be examined by a senior doctor, you may be asked to wait. Your nurse or doctor will tell you how long your wait is likely to be.

Types of Treatment

The doctor or nurse will discuss your eye condition with you and offer advice about any treatment you may need. You may be given a prescription for eye medication or a supply of eye drops. For some conditions, you will be advised to buy eye drops or other medication at a local pharmacy as it will be cheaper.
A few patients may need immediate or urgent treatment such as medication or laser treatment before they go home. You will be given a full explanation and will have the opportunity to ask any questions you may have.

Follow-up Appointments

If you need a follow-up appointment, you will need to make this at the reception before you leave. The time we give you is your booking-in time. Emergency patients will be given priority so you may be asked to wait.

What Happens Next?

Your GP will receive a letter after your visit with information of the diagnosis and initial treatment given to you.
You will be given a prescription for up to one month's supply of eye drops or medication. If you are likely to need more than this, you can get repeat prescriptions from your GP.
If you are not entitled to free prescriptions you will be charged for each item. If you need more than four prescription items in three months or 14 items in 12 months, you could save money by buying a prescription payment certificate (PPC).

Our Team

We have 7 consultant ophthalmologists, one associate specialist doctor and a team of six junior doctors. The rest of the team is made up of orthoptists, optometrists, nurses, specialist nurses, health care assistants, ophthalmic technicians, medical secretaries, reception staff, a photographer, failsafe officers for Age Related Macula Degeneration, Diabetic Services and Glaucoma, a low visual aid practitioner and contact lens specialist (currently unavailable referring externally).

Spencer Ward

Spencer Ward is a day surgery ward providing a relaxed yet professional atmosphere. 
It may be necessary on occasion for a patient to stay overnight. If that is the case, we will arrange for patients to be transferred to a different ward, as we close at 20:00.
Two single and one double side room are available for those needing a general anaesthetic. Patients who will receive a local anaesthetic will be seated in one of the 11 chairs in the main ward area.  Meals are provided for patients having their operation on Spencer Ward and beverages are available throughout the day.
We cover an array of clinics and procedures on Spencer Ward, the main ones are:
  • Cataract surgery
  • Squint surgery
  • Lids surgery
  • Minor operation procedures
  • Laser clinics
  • Pre-assessment clinics
  • Age Related Macular Degeneration intravitreal injections
  • Diabetic Retinopathy intravitreal injections
  • Botchulinum clinics for medical conditions

Useful Links

Royal College of Ophthalmologists www.rcophth.ac.uk/patients/information-booklets/