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If you notice a change in your eyesight you should see your GP or optician. If they decide that your eyes needs to be assessed by eye specialists in the hospital eye service they will arrange a referral to the Ophthalmology department or another eye care provider.

Routine appointments

If you decide to be treated at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust you may be offered the Choose and Book service where you can arrange your appointment online. However some specialties do not offer this service and you will be sent a letter confirming the date, time and location of your appointment with us.

Urgent appointments

Maidstone Hospital runs a ‘Rapid Access Clinic’ for the assessment and treatment of urgent and sight-threatening eye conditions. This is a Monday-to-Friday service and a referral service.

There are also several community optometrists who are specially trained in the care of patients with urgent eye symptoms and form the Community Optometry Team. Your GP or optician may refer you to this team avoiding the need for you to be seen in the hospital.

Rapid Access Clinic

If your GP or optician decides that you need to be seen urgently in the Hospital eye service they will email the referral to the Rapid Access triage team. Once the referral has been triaged and accepted their admin team will contact you by telephone to arrange an appointment booking-in time (this could be up to a week depending on the severity of the symptoms).

The Rapid Access Clinic can be contacted on 01622 226228. There is an answerphone service that we encourage you to use as the telephone is not always manned.

Please be aware the Rapid Access Clinic is an appointment only service and cannot facilitate any walk-in patients. The only walk-in route is via the A&E department.

Primary Eyecare Acute Referral Service (PEARS)

You can visit one of the PEARS optometrists below.


  • Jackie Rothery, Crown House, Home Gardens, Dartford
  • Linklater Opticians, 22 Lowfield Street, Dartford


  • Eye Emporium (John High), 8 Market Street, Faversham
  • Optima Opticians, Jacob Yard, Preston Street, Faversham


  • Boots Opticians, 9 Kempthorne Street, Gravesend
  • Boots Opticians, 38 new Road, Gravesend
  • Medical Eye Centre, 14 King Street, Gravesend
  • Specsavers Opticians, 19-20 Thamesgate Centre, Gravesend


  • K Rowland Opticians, 79 Station Road, Longfield


  • Leightons Ltd, 67 Hempstead Valley Shopping Centre, Gillingham, Kent
  • Sanford Opticians, 7 Main Road, Rochester, Kent
  • T J Woolley, 60 Watling Street, Gillingham, Kent
  • Niall O’Kane Optometrists, 78-80 High Street, Strood, Rochester, Kent


  • Eye Emporium (John High), 73 High Street, Sittingbourne
  • John Frewin Opticians, 114 High Street, Sittingbourne
  • Specsavers Opticians, Unit 7/8, The Forum, Sittingbourne


  • L Jackson, 3 Southdown Road, Halfway, Sheerness

West Malling

  • Kings Hill Opticians, 2 Liberty Square, Kings Hill

Acute Primary Care Ophthalmology Service (APCOS)

If you are registered with a West Kent GP you can visit one of the APCOS Optometrists below:

  • Eye 2 Eye Opticians, Unit 8 , Mid Kent Shopping Centre, Castle Road, Allington, Maidstone, Kent ME16 0PU Tel: 01622 672563
  • Headcorn Eye Centre – 25 High Street, Headcorn, Kent TN27 9NH Tel: 01622 890044
  • Kent Eye care Independent Specialist Optometrists and Opticians, 786 London Road, Larkfield, Aylesford, Kent ME20 6BE Tel: 01732 873378
  • Osborne Harle Optometrists, 1-3 Martin Hardie Way, Tonbridge, Kent TN10 4AE Tel: 01732 368678
  • Tenterden Eye Centre, 3 High Street, Tenterden , Kent TN30 6BN Tel: 01580 765222
  • Tonbridge Medical Group – 3 River Lawn, Tonbridge, Kent TN9 1EP Tel: 01732 352907