What is an eye emergency?

Most eye tests take place routinely, and as well as measuring the focus and advising on glasses, the health of the eyes are examined to identify anything that is obviously out of the ordinary.

Occasionally, eye health problems can occur that seem to need more urgent attention or emergency care. These can include symptoms such as:

  • Sudden pain in or around the eye
  • Sudden changes in vision, including new flashes or new floating spots or strands
  • Distorted vision
  • Sudden loss of vision
  • Sudden onset double vision
  • Painful red eye with sensitivity to bright lights
  • Contact lens wearer with painful red eye that does not resolve after lens removal
  • Injury or trauma to the eye

What to do if you think you have an eye emergency

If you have a problem requiring urgent care during our normal opening hours (Monday-Saturday, 9am to 5pm) then please call your nearest Leightons practice in the first instance. Outside of these hours, please contact NHS 111.

Do not make an online booking.

Leightons emergency eye clinic and urgent care

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When you first contact us, one of our team will ask several triage questions to ensure you receive the most appropriate advice from a registered professional within a suitable timeframe.

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Emergency appointment

Provided a nearby Leightons practice has an emergency eye clinic time slot available, we will book you an appointment with an optometrist either on the same day or within 72 hours, depending on the symptoms presented.

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Eye casualty

In some situations, we may recommend you go straight to eye casualty at a local NHS hospital, or A&E for out-of-hours services. We may also refer you directly to A&E during your appointment.

Emergency appointment charges

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Please be aware that in England, the NHS sight test has strict rules on eligibility. It is not normal for eye emergencies to fall within an NHS sight test claim and there is a variation in whether eye health services are NHS-commissioned according to where you live. We can however offer our private eye emergency triage and consultations across all locations in our branch network depending on diary availability.

Where private charges apply, you will be made aware of these prior to booking your emergency appointment. You can then choose to continue with the private appointment, or instead opt to use an alternative local NHS service.

Care plans for complete peace of mind

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Our MyLeightons Care Plans offer total peace of mind for just £12 a month, or £20 a month for our family plan.

As well as exclusive discounts and money-saving offers, it includes your routine Ultimate Eye Examination and access to optometrists when new symptoms arise for urgent or planned care, such as dry eye therapy. With contact lens and hearing care benefits available too, why not join today?

Find out more