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Emergency Eye Care Commissioning Guidance

  • 20 Dec 2021
  • RCOphth

This guidance is for the commissioning of emergency eye care in England for adult patients.
Emergency eye care may be required for any eye condition that is of recent onset and is
distressing or is believed by the patient, carer or referring health professional to present an
imminent threat to vision or to the general health of the patient1. True emergencies, where
there is a health problem that occurs suddenly and which may be life- (or in ophthalmology
sight-) threatening, need immediate attention and are more likely to have a better outcome
when treatment is initiated as early as possible. Early treatment of certain serious conditions
can prevent blindness and reduce sight loss. In addition, because some patients with life-
threatening conditions can present with eye symptoms, early diagnosis can save life.
Commissioners must ensure adequate access to specialist emergency care for such patients,
regardless of geographic location or time of day.