Eye Casualty Department

The Eye Casualty service offers treatment for emergency eye problems such as painful red eyes, and sudden loss of vision, injuries and other emergencies.

Eye Casualty is not a "walk-in" clinic.

If your eye problem is NOT an emergency you should see your optician or GP who will refer you to one of our specialist clinics if necessary. 

Eye Casualty is NOT for second opinions, repeat prescriptions or non-urgent problems such as dry eyes, itchy eyes, hay fever and cataracts.

What is an eye emergency?

The eye casualty is a specialist emergency department and delivers urgent care to people who have severe eye pain, sudden loss of vision and other related injuries.
**If you have a chemical injury, severe trauma to the eye or a penetrating eye injury, please come straight to the eye casualty department.
If your eye problem is not urgent and symptoms have been present for more than two weeks, you should see your GP who may refer you to one of our specialist clinics in our eye unit.
GPs can assess and treat minor eye conditions such as:
  • dry, gritty, irritable and uncomfortable eyes
  • foreign bodies in the eye
  • red eye or eyelids
  • ingrowing eyelashes
  • watery discharge
  • recent and sudden changes in vision
If you are not sure if your eye condition requires urgent attention, please contact your GP, a local optometrist or dial 111 for advice.

What happens in Eye Casualty?

Once you have reported to the Eye Casualty reception desk, you will be booked in to see a member of the nursing team for an initial (first triage) vision assessment and then to see our nurse for a second triage. Depending upon the nature of the problem the nurse may treat and advise you, or you may have to wait longer to see the eye doctor. 
Various investigations may be requested by any of the staff who see you; other members of the department you might meet are visual field technicians, photographers, and orthoptists.
Some examinations will blur your vision and after examination you may not be able to drive.  Please inform the triage nurse on assessment if you are driving, or make alternative transport arrangements.
The average waiting time in the department is between 2-4 hours. 
As with any hospital appointment, you should have a list available of any medication you take and allergies you have. In addition it may be helpful if you bring your current glasses or your latest opticians report.
As we are an emergency service, patients are seen in priority of clinical need, and degree of urgency.
Outside these times emergency patients can attend the main Accident and Emergency Department, and will be referred to the on-call eye team if necessary.

What happens when I come in?

When you arrive please book in at reception. You will be asked for your name, date of birth, address, GP details and what your eye problem is.

Vision assessment

A nurse or health care assistant will check your vision by covering each eye and asking you to read letters from a chart. Your distance vision will also be checked. You must bring any glasses you wear for driving or watching television.
We will ask you about your eye condition and details on your general health. Please tell us about any allergies and any medication you are currently taking. If you have already purchased or been prescribed medication for your eyes you should bring it with you.
We will probably ask you take out your contact lenses. Please bring spare glasses with you to wear after your assessment.
Do not drive yourself to the hospital. Many patients are given eye drops which dilate the pupils and blur the vision for a few hours. If you are given these, you will not be able to drive home.


Following your initial vision check, a triage nurse will ask you more questions regarding your eye complaint. You will then be allocated to a doctor or nurse specialist. The estimated waiting time will be displayed on the information board in the waiting room.
If they decide you do not need emergency care, they will advise you on services in the community which may be more appropriate.