Ophthalmology (eye) Emergency Service

Opening hours

An ophthalmic Emergency service is provided by ophthalmologists, orthoptists, optometrists and clinical nurse specialist 7 days a week 365 days a year.


Where are we?

The eye emergency room is in the main Accident and Emergency department.


When should I contact the emergency service?

Generally, you should visit the emergency service if you have:

  • Sudden loss of sight
  • Sudden onset of double vision
  • Severe eye pain that is not relieved by simple analgesia
  • Flashing lights and new onset of floaters


How can I be seen by the emergency service?

You can access this service by referral from your GP or community optometrist (optician).

Please note that we do not provide an emergency service which can be accessed by walking into the Ophthalmology Department. However, if your problem is extremely urgent and you feel it cannot wait for assessment by your GP or optician, you can present to the main Accident and Emergency department at North Devon District Hospital; you will be seen first by a nurse, then a doctor who is not an eye specialist. If necessary, they may choose to discuss their examination findings with an eye specialist and arrange an appointment in the Ophthalmology Department at an appropriate date thereafter.


What happens when I arrive?

Please present to the reception desk in the main A&E Department.

The receptionist will take relevant details before asking you to take a seat in the waiting area.

If the ophthalmologist is expecting you, he/she will call you through in turn.

Otherwise a nurse will perform a preliminary assessment of your condition and A&E doctor will see you to assess your condition. The ophthalmologist will then be contacted for advice or treatment as necessary.


Contact us

For advice, please telephone 01271 314181.  An answer-phone will take your message.  This is checked daily by the clinical nurse specialist, who will return your call.

Last updated: April 11, 2018