Ophthalmology and Optometry

The Ophthalmology service is provided through outpatient departments and day-case facilities by a group of highly trained Consultant Ophthalmologists and their teams.

Ophthalmology patients that require inpatient care can access this within the specialist services ward in Altnagelvin Area Hospital.

The Ophthalmology outpatient clinics are provided at:

  • Altnagelvin Hospital
  • Omagh Hospital and Primary Care Complex
  • South West Acute Hospital
  • Mid Ulster Hospital
  • Causeway Hospital
  • Roe Valley Hospital

The Ophthalmology service provides day case surgery:

  • Altnagelvin Area Hospital
  • Omagh Hospital and Primary Care Complex
  • Mid Ulster Hospital

Laser treatments are provided in Altnagelvin Hospital and the South West Acute Hospital.

The Ophthalmology Consultant team are fully supported by specialty nursing staff, optometry staff and a wide range of multi-disciplinary personnel.



Optometry is the practice of examining eyes for defects in vision or eye disorders in order to prescribe corrective lenses or other appropriate treatment.


Optometrists (also known as opticians) measure vision, determine if there is a need for glasses or contact lenses and assess the health of the eye. They prescribe glasses or contact lenses as required. They can manage and treat some eye health problems and refer to an ophthalmologist (eye doctor) for management of more complex eye disorders or eye surgery.


In the hospital setting, optometrists carry out various clinics:

  • Low vision clinics
    Assessment of patients with a visual impairment (reduced vision that cannot be corrected with glasses or contact lenses). They help people to make the most of their remaining vision, including prescribing low vision aids (magnifiers).
  • Contact lens clinics
    Specialist contact lens assessment for adults and children with a medical need for contact lenses. This includes keratoconus, corneal grafts, corneal scarring, cosmetic contact lenses and bandage contact lenses.
  • Children’s refraction
    Glasses prescription check and eye health check for children attending orthoptics or ophthalmology, for example, for a squint or lazy eye.
  • Paediatric Vision Support Clinic
    A specialist multi-disciplinary service for children with a visual impairment or ongoing concerns about visual development.
  • Special schools
    Glasses prescription check and eye health check for children attending the Primary Vision assessment programme in special schools.
  • Extended roles
    Optometrists provide a support role to ophthalmology clinics, assessing patients in macular, glaucoma, cataract, anterior segment and general clinics and managing patients under the supervision of an ophthalmologist.

Outpatient clinics for children and adults are held at the Optometry Department at:

  • Altnagelvin Hospital
  • South West Acute Hospital
  • Omagh Hospital and Primary Care Complex
  • Roe Valley Hospital
  • Strabane Health Centre
  • Mid Ulster Hospital
  • Causeway Hospital
  • Cookstown Community Services Centre

Useful links:
College of Optometrists http://www.college-optometrists.org/
General Optical Council http://www.optical.org/
Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) http://www.rnib.org.uk/
Visual impairment http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/visual-impairment/Pages/Introduction.aspx




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