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  • Writer's pictureEast Yorkshire Eye Surgery

Eye Casualty

Why is Eye Casualty Important?

Most ophthalmology consultants specialise in a particular area of the eye and run clinics dedicated to that specialist area, for example glaucoma, plastics, vitreoretinal clinics, or cataract clinics, like me. Many NHS consultants, in addition to their specialist clinics, are required to take part in eye casualty sessions. These clinics are essential for the urgent assessment and treatment of acute eye problems. Absolutely anything can, and does, walk through the door, and for me that is an exciting and stimulating part of my job.

I think it is important for ophthalmology consultants to regularly take part in eye casualty sessions to keep up with skills and continue to develop learning. Most consultants take part in an on-call rota, requiring them to be adept at assessing all eye problems and managing these within their capabilities, before sometimes needing to refer to the appropriate specialist. Regular exposure to a variety of eye problems and presentations keeps learning fresh and promotes confidence and competence.

Urgent Eye Problems in Private Practice

When consultants, like myself, go on to develop a private practice, the skills that are continuously being refreshed and refined from frequent exposure to eye casualty, are an unquestionable asset to managing a variety of eye conditions expertly and efficiently.

At Yorkshire Eye Specialists ( we have a team of consultants with a variety of specialist interests. We are also able to manage urgent eye problems, including:

· Sore or red eyes

· Dry eyes

· Painful eyes in a contact lens wearer

· New double vision

· Painless visual loss

· New visual field defects

· Vitreous floaters

If you develop any of the above symptoms, please do not hesitate to give Yorkshire Eye Specialists a call.

Eye Casualty in the NHS

Eye casualty sessions are important for patients because it gives them same day access to an assessment by a health care professional specialising in eyes, should they need it.

I thought it might be helpful to give an overview of the Eye Casualty Service at York Hospital for colleagues and patients, to increase awareness of how it is accessed, how it operates and who it is run by.

My role

I am very passionate about the Eye Casualty Service that we provide at York Hospital, and as one of the Lead Consultants I always aim to provide high standards of patient care. As such, I welcome all feedback, positive or negative, to continue to develop our service for the benefit of both patients and staff.

Where is Eye Casualty?

At York hospital the eye casualty clinic is run from the ophthalmology department, currently based at junction 3 along the main corridor of York Hospital.

Who runs Eye Casualty?

At York Hospital, where I am a based, the eye casualty is led by an eye consultant supported

by a team of fellow health care professionals including nurses and orthoptists. On attendance a patient will initially be assessed by a nurse, and then either one of our orthoptists, a trainee ophthalmology doctor, or a consultant will review them. All trainee ophthalmologists have consultant input where required.

When does Eye Casualty run?

At York hospital we have daily eye casualty clinics that run on weekday afternoons. We have out of hours and weekend cover provided by trainee ophthalmologists and consultants.

How is Eye Casualty Accessed?

A large proportion of our patients are referred in directly from the community by optometrists, who may have perhaps seen a patient with new floaters or visual field defects. We also have referrals from A+E and GPs, perhaps with eye injuries, painful red eyes, or reduced vision. In each cases contact is made with the eye casualty nurses who will triage calls throughout the day. Out of hours calls are managed by one of the on-call trainee ophthalmology doctors.

Can I just drop into Eye Casualty if I have an eye problem?

Eye casualty is always very busy and so we carefully triage each patient in order that those with the greatest need are seen the most quickly. It may be that we do not need to see you on the same day as your referral, in which case we will appoint you appropriately according to your clinical need. We do not run a drop-in service as some eye problems can be managed by optometrists or GPs in the community. The best thing to do if you develop an eye problem is to contact your local optometrist or GP for advice/assessment. They will be able to asses you, refer you directly to eye casualty or advise you to attend A+E directly, for example if there is a traumatic or chemical eye injury. If you are unsure, you can also contact 111 who will be able to direct you to the most appropriate service.

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