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The Victoria Eye Unit at The County Hospital provides a comprehensive range of ophthalmic services, covering all aspects of general ophthalmology including cataract surgery.

There are specialist clinics for:

  • Glaucoma
  • Retinal and Macular disorders, including Vitreoretinal surgery  
  • Squint (in both adults and children)
  • Paediatric ophthalmology
  • Thyroid eye disease
  • Eyelid disorders

The department is extremely well equipped, with digital photographic and laser imaging equipment which is networked throughout the hospital.  

Eye Unit – Accident and Emergency Department

Please consider carefully whether you need to attend, or whether a visit to your pharmacist, optician or GP may be more helpful in the first instance. If you attend Eye Casualty with a condition more appropriately diagnosed and treated by these professionals you may be asked to visit them first, prior to being seen in our department.

We offer a "walk-in" service for patients with acute eye problems during trhe following hours:

Monday-Friday: 9am-5pm

Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays: 9am-2pm

Christmas Day and New Year's Day: Closed

Other times are staffed by our on-call eye doctors and our consultants within the main Accident and Emergency department.

If referred by your GP or optician, please bring your referall letter with you.

Ophthalmic Operating Theatre

The Eye unit has a dedicated ophthalmic operating theatre where a large variety of surgery is performed, including most commonly, day case cataract surgery is performed using small-incision phacoemulsification, usually under local anaesthetic.

We have recently established a new referral scheme which allows Optometrists to refer patients with cataract directly to the Eye Unit. We also support operating facilities in Llandrindod and Brecon.

Our Patients

We serve not only the population of Herefordshire, but also parts of many surrounding counties in both England and Wales. Peripheral eye clinics are held in Bromyard, Ledbury, Ross-on-Wye, Ludlow, Leominster, Kington, Knighton, Monmouth, Brecon and Llandrindod Wells.

Outline of the Department

Seven consultant ophthalmic surgeons are supported by four middle-grade and four junior ophthalmologists and a team of specialist nurses.

There is a fully staffed Orthoptic Department that offers ocular motility assessments of adults and children in the County Hospital and our community hospitals.  The Orthoptic service also offers primary vision screening for reception aged children in Herefordshire and a pre-school screening service, for children and babies suspected of having a vision or ocular motility problem.

Specialist technical staff are also involved in digital imaging, assessment and analysis of the results, and visual field assessment.

Each year more than 30,000 patients visit the Eye Unit and over 1900 ophthalmic operations are carried out.

Links with other departments

We have close links with the Children's Unit to provide a comprehensive paediatric ophthalmology service. When necessary, we also liaise closely with the general physicians, and the Maxillo-Facial department.

Links with other services

    • We enjoy close support from Herefordshire Vision Links, our local vision impairment organisation. We have an ECLO (Eye Care Liason Officer – Mrs Jenni Moorhouse) to support patients with serious sight loss.
    • The Herefordshire and Worcestershire Diabetic Eye Screening Programme http://diabeticeye.screening.nhs.uk/worcestershire sends referrals to one of our consultants, Mr Alaric Smith, linking closely with our services and providing screening in the community and in the hospital for those that cannot attend a community clinic.
    • We also have close links with All Wales Diabetic Retinopathy Screening Programme http://www.cardiffandvaleuhb.wales.nhs.uk/drssw   
    • We also have close links with All Wales Diabetic Retinopathy Screening Programme. 
    • Low Vision Scheme Provision of low vision advice and magnifying aids for the visually impaired.  This works in conjunction with Herefordshire Vision Links https://www.visionlinks.co.uk/ our local vision impairment organisation and the Royal National College for the Blind in Hereford http://www.rncb.ac.uk/
    • We have excellent Optometry links (Opticians) in the community in Herefordshire and surrounding counties especially Powys, Shropshire, Gwent and Worcestershire
    • We have established innovative pathways of care with our Optometry colleagues and the recently formed Herefordshire Clinical Commisioning Group these include:
    • PEARS – Primary Eyecare Acute Referral Scheme Patients can be seen by their optometrist/Optician and may avoid the need to attend the A+E department.
    • HOLOMS – Herefordshire Optometry Led Ocular Hypertension Management Scheme Patients with Ocular Hypertension and Early Glaucoma can be seen in the community, avoiding the need for review in Hospital, in a new shared care arrangement.
    • GEPRRS – Glaucoma Early Primary Care Referral Refinement Scheme Patients with possible glaucoma are seen and have agreed diagnostic tests with their Optometrist, to avoid unnecessary referrals and patient anxiety.
    • Cataract Referral Scheme Patients with cataract are seen by Optometrists and referred according to local referral criteria
    • Cataract Postoperative Review Scheme Patients are seen by local Optometrists 4 weeks after cataract surgery and a report returned to ourselves. This avoids the need to attend the hospital giving patients local community care and allows us to place patients back on the list for the second eye operation in routine cases without further delays
    • Optometric led Paediatric Refractive Assessment Children suspected of an eye turn or reduced vision (lazy eye) can be assessed in the community reducing the need for hospital appointments
    • Fast Track Macular Referral Scheme Patients seen by the Optometrist with ‘wet macula’ (AMD) can be referred urgently by FAX for diagnosis and treatment, avoiding delays.
    • We are currently developing further community based patient care pathways, particularly for Glaucoma and Cataract, to reduce the numbers needing to come into the Main Hospital Department.

Charitable donations

The Eye Unit has a very active charitable fund. This was started as a League of Friends 30 years ago by Mr and Mrs Peebles for the then Victoria Eye Hospital, and very ably continued by the late Mr Bill Foster who raised with his team over £300,000 in 17 years of activity. That continues, with support from all over the county, making our department the envy of many others in the hospital and further afield. The patients benefit directly from the very high quality and modern equipment available in the unit.

Contact Details

Victoria Eye Unit
Eye Unit Outpatient Department
01432 355444 ext. 1775

Senior Sister
Karen Webster
01432 372926 (direct line)

Head Orthoptist
Mrs S Clarke
01432 372925 (direct line)


Mr S Madge (Clinical Director)
01432 355444 ext. 5898

Mr S Scotcher
01432 364460 (direct line)

Mr A Smith
01432 355444 ext. 5329

Mr G Morphis
01432 355444 ext. 5326

Mr B While
01432 355444 ext. 5898

Ms A Salam
01432 364448 (direct line)

Mr J Deutsch
01432 364448 (direct line)

© Wye valley NHS Trust 2020