What can I expect from eye treatment at Spire Shawfair Park Hospital?

Spire Shawfair Park Eye Centre is purpose built within the hospital with modern consulting and treatment facilities. Once your GP has sent a referral to Spire Shawfair Park hospital, a member of our outpatient appointments team will give you a call back within 48 hours. They will help you arrange a convenient time to attend the hospital for your outpatient appointment. At your consultation, you will meet your consultant Ophthalmologist. Our Consultants are all supported by a friendly and professional nursing team who endeavour to make your visit to the hospital as relaxed and comfortable as possible. We have tea and coffee making facilities on site, as well as a chef who will be happy to prepare a meal for you should you require something more substantial.

During your consultation, your consultant will carry out tests and diagnostic procedures in order to accurately determine the best course of treatment for you. You may be able to have treatment on the day or you may be asked to make another appointment to return for outpatient treatment or day surgery. If day surgery is required, you may also be able to discuss your anaesthetic options with your consultant.

If you require surgery, you will usually be asked to come into the hospital a couple of hours before your procedure takes place. This is just to ensure that you arrive with plenty of time to allow pre-operative procedures and consultation to be carried out. You will meet your anaesthetist; your consultant ophthalmologist and a pre-operative nurse who will ensure you are fit and well for surgery.

You will be given a private ‘pod’ in order to change into a hospital gown (it is also advisable to bring your own dressing gown). One of our friendly and experienced nursing team will walk you along to theatre where you will be met by your anaesthetist and consultant surgeon.

Following your procedure, you will be taken back to our recovery area where you will be able to recuperate. We ask that a maximum of one visitor attends to keep you company during this time. We have a dedicated chef service available during recovery who will be happy to prepare a hot meal or sandwiches for you. There are also reclining chairs, television, magazines and newspapers available to keep you entertained or you can bring in a tablet or mps device which can be connected to our free WiFi service. 

After a few hours, you will be able to leave the hospital. We strongly advise that a friend or relative collects you from the hospital as you may still be drowsy following surgery. If you have had general anaesthetic you are not permitted to drive for 24 hours. Many ophthalmic procedures will have an adverse effect on your vision before improvement so you should not consider operating a car or bike.

Where will I be seen and operated on?

All our ophthalmology appointments and procedures take place at Spire Shawfair Park Hospital.

I don't have private medical insurance, can I still be treated?

You are very welcome to visit the hospital as a self-paying patient. As a patient of Spire Edinburgh Hospitals, you can pay for a one-off treatment the same way you would make any other purchase or use private medical insurance if your procedure is eligible.

How do I arrange an appointment?

Contact your GP or optician and ask them to refer you to us. We will then contact you by letter to arrange an appointment for you. We many sometimes be able to offer you a same day appointment.

How do I choose a consultant?

You can look at their profiles on our website and give your GP or optician the name of the consultant you would like to see. Alternatively you can ask your GP or optician to send an open referral to us and we will arrange for you to see the most suitable consultant who is available soonest.

Who offers the cataract procedure?

All of our ophthalmology specialists, except Dr Mulvihill, offer the cataract procedure. 

Can I have both eyes operated on at once?

It is generally recommended that each eye is operated on individually but some procedures can be operated on at the same time. Your consultants will advise you on what is appropriate for you.

After my appointment how long will it be before my operation takes place?

Your consultant will discuss exact dates with you but generally you can expect your procedure to take place around 2 to 3 weeks after your appointment. If both eyes are being operated on then your second procedure normally follows around two weeks afterwards. You can of course wait longer if you prefer, there is no obligation to undergo treatment following an initial consultation.

What should I expect within the first 24 hours of eyelid surgery?

As the local anaesthetic wears off, you will find that your lids begin to close more easily. There may be a little bleeding from the wound and you will notice some swelling and discomfort.

My eyes feel gritty / sore following eyelid surgery, what should I do?

If your eye feels gritty or sore it is most probably due to dryness. The treatment is to put plenty of ointment into the eye to soothe the surface. Symptoms usually settle within 24 hours. If you are concerned, contact the nurse-in-charge.

Can I drive to and from my eye outpatient appointment?

This depends on the nature of your problem. If you have a visual problem and this is your first visit it is highly likely your consultant will want to dilate you pupils with drops; you will very likely be unable to drive for at least a couple of hours after that. If you have been referred with a cysts or other small skin lesion on your eye or eyelids you may well be offered treatment, under local anaesthetic, on the same day. You would most likely not be fit to drive following that. It would be best, in these situations, not to drive yourself.