For more than a decade there has been increasing demand for all urgent and emergency care in the UK, including ophthalmic care, due to a combination of changes in demographics/disease prevalence and in the way patients choose to access care. It is difficult to know the national caseload but the incidence of new eye casualty attendances has been estimated at 20-30 per 1000 population per year and eye emergencies are thought to make up 1.46-6% of accident and emergency (A&E) attendances.
Despite recent attempts to move towards more community based ophthalmic care, most hospital eye units will see and treat many urgent cases. This document provides consensus guidance on good practice for urgent and emergency secondary ophthalmic care. Principles for such care delivered in the community are briefly outlined at the end of the document.