At your visit

On arrival

Show the staff at the main reception desk your appointment letter and they will direct you to the correct clinic.  Our clinics are very busy, so please try not to arrive more than 15 minutes before your appointment.  Please note that we see people in appointment order, so arriving earlier than your appointment time does not mean that you will be seen earlier.

In the clinic, a clerk will check your details and let the clinical staff know that you have arrived.  You might be asked to complete some paperwork to confirm that we have up-to-date information about you. 

How long will my appointment take?

In order to reduce the number of times you have to visit us, we try to ensure that you have all the necessary tests carried out during your outpatient clinic appointment.  Depending on the number and type of tests you require, you might need to stay at the hospital or clinic for up to two or three hours.

Sometimes, you will need to wait before being seen.  We do our very best to see you on time, but sometimes previous appointments run over or staff are called away at short notice, which can delay the start of your appointment.  Many of our clinics now have large information screens which let you know how long you are likely to have to wait.  Let the clerk know if you want to fetch a drink or go to the toilet and they will make sure you do not miss your slot if you are called while you are away.

If you require surgery, you will need to attend a pre-operative assessment, but you will usually be offered the option of coming back another day.

Eye drops and other tests

During your visit, you might have to undergo several different tests to help us understand your eye condition better.  Such tests could include:  

  • Dilating drops – these drops make your pupil bigger, which helps us to look at the back of your eye. The drops might sting a little when they are first put in.  They can take 20 or 30 minutes to take effect and are likely to cause blurred vision for about four hours – so you will not be able to drive home from your appointment. 
  • Fluorescein angiography – your eye will be dilated and a small amount of dye will be injected into your arm.  The dye makes it easier to see any abnormalities in your eye. 
  • Electrodiagnostics – these tests help us understand how your brain and eye function together. Electrophysiology helps us to distinguish between different eye disorders that may have the same symptoms, and also helps us understand if an eye condition is changing or stable.
  • Blood tests (phlebotomy) – this is where a blood sample is taken to detect any underlying conditions that might be affecting your vision.
  • Ultrasound examination – this provides cross-sectional images of your eye and involves a small probe which is smeared with a liquid gel and moved over your closed eyelid.
  • Refraction – measures whether you are long-sighted or short-sighted.

Who you will see

Depending on the treatment you need, you could meet several different staff.  All are professionally trained to work together to care for you and answer any questions.  Staff you might see include:

  • Ophthalmologists – doctors who specialise in eye disease and surgery. An ophthalmologist will have overall responsibility for your care and will generally be a specialist in one area of ophthalmology such as cataract or glaucoma care.
  • Nurses – our nursing staff are specially trained in eye care and can provide a range of treatments and tests, as well as offering education and advice.
  • Orthoptists – assess eye problems that relate to the movement of the eyes and how the eyes work together.
  • Optometristsexamine and test your eye sight. They will also advise on visual problems and prescribe, fit and supply spectacles or contact lenses. Optometrists are trained to recognise eye disease and will refer such cases to an ophthalmologist if necessary.
  • Clinic clerkshelp with the administration ofyour care. Clerks are responsible for the clinic reception, taking telephone calls and booking and cancelling appointments. Clinic clerks ensure your case notes are available to the doctors on the day that you are seen and oversee the management and recording of patient information.

All staff in clinics wear uniforms, apart from ophthalmologists, and everyone wears an identity badge, which should be visible at all times.  Please ask if you cannot see someone’s identity badge and they will be happy to show it to you.  

Consenting to treatment

We want to make sure that you fully understand your condition and the choices of treatment available to you. Before you receive any treatment, a doctor, nurse, therapist or pharmacist can help you:

  • Understand what the treatment is and how long you need to use it
  • Understand the benefits of the treatment
  • Manage any side effects
  • Discuss any worries or concerns about your treatment or medicine

Please ask as many questions as you like.  The most important thing is that you understand the treatment you are being offered.

Students and teaching arrangements

Moorfields trains a variety of health professionals. This means that students, supervised by a qualified professional, might be involved in your care. Please tell the doctor or nurse in charge if you do not want a student to be present. This will not affect your treatment in any way.

Prescriptions and medications

If the doctor prescribes new or different medication, he/she will either write to your GP, or give you a prescription to take to the hospital pharmacy.  The standard prescription fee will be charged unless you are exempt from charges. If you are exempt, please provide proof, for example, an exemption certificate. Hospital pharmacy prescriptions are not valid for dispensing by your community pharmacist, so you must collect your prescription items before you leave the hospital.

Follow-up appointments

If you need to come back for follow-up care, an appointment will usually be made before you leave the clinic. If not, we’ll send you a letter to invite you back.

Mobile phones

You may use your mobile phone at Moorfields, but please check with a member of staff that it is safe to do so if you are on a ward or in an area with sensitive medical equipment as mobiles can cause interference. Please also respect other patients and try to keep your voice down when talking on your mobile.


Smoking is not permitted anywhere on Moorfields’ premises, including at entrances.  Please respect other visitors and move well away from our grounds if you want to smoke.

Patient information leaflets 

Welcome to Moorfields

Last updated: 27th April 2020