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Oxford Eye Hospital

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Eye emergencies

Eye Casualty telephone triage

If you have an eye emergency, please do not come to Oxford Eye Hospital straightaway.

Call our specialised telephone triage number.

Tel: 01865 234567 option 1 followed by option 1

Monday to Friday 8.30am - 4.30pm

Saturday and Sunday 8.30am - 3.30pm (including Bank Holidays)

You will be able to speak to an ophthalmic health professional who will advise you.

If you need advice out of hours, please phone NHS 111 or your out of hours GP practice.

If you have an eye trauma, chemical splash or severe eye pain out of hours, please phone NHS 111 first and they will allocate a time for you in the Emergency Department (A&E).

How to find the John Radcliffe Hospital

NHS 111 First

Eye Casualty is a specialist department for patients with urgent sight-threatening or painful eye problems only. Waiting times can vary depending on clinical priority and the number of patients in the department.

We are not a 'walk-in' clinic, so if you do not have an eye emergency we will advise you to see your GP or optician. If you are unsure, please call the telephone triage number above.

Unfortunately, if you come without prior agreement we will not be able to see you.

If you are advised to attend Eye Casualty, please do not drive yourself - you may need pupil-dilating drops which prevent driving for up to four hours.

Bring any spectacles you wear and a list of your prescribed medication.

Eye Casualty opening hours

  • Monday to Friday 8.30am - 4.30pm
  • Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays 8.30am - 3.30pm
  • Boxing Day and New Year's Day 8.30am - 3.30pm
  • Christmas Day closed

How to find Oxford Eye Hospital

What is an eye emergency?

  • Chemical liquids splashed in the eye.
  • An injury to the eye in which the eye ball or lids are lacerated or objects enter the eye, such as sharp instruments or metal.
  • A suddenly blind and painful eye which causes sickness and general feeling of being unwell.
  • After an eye operation, a suddenly painful, red, swollen eye in which the vision has unexpectedly deteriorated.
  • Patients following corneal graft surgery in which there is no pain, but for whom vision has rapidly deteriorated.
  • Shadows or 'curtaining' in the field of vision which is painless but may be associated with flashing lights or an increase in seeing black specks or blobs (floaters).
  • A red and painful eye associated with wearing contact lenses.
  • Painful eyes.
  • Sudden loss of vision with no other symptoms.


Eye Casualty is not for the following.

  • Second opinions: please see GP
  • Repeat prescriptions: please see GP
  • Non-urgent problems such as dry eye, itchy eye or hay fever: please see pharmacist or Minor Eye Conditions Service
  • Cataract: please see GP to refer you to our outpatient service
  • If your routine clinic appointment has been cancelled and you have a question or problem: please contact your consultant's secretary: 01865 234567 option 1 followed by option 7

Oxfordshire Minor Eye Conditions Service (MECS)

This free NHS service is available to people aged more than six years in Oxfordshire and registered with an Oxfordshire GP.

Oxfordshire Minor Eye Conditions Service (MECS)

Conditions treated include:

  • dry, gritty, irritable and uncomfortable eyes
  • foreign body in the eye
  • red eye or eyelids
  • ingrowing eyelashes
  • watery discharge
  • recent and sudden changes in vision.

Contact a MECS registered optician in your area, who will assess how quickly you need to be seen by the service.

This service is not for major eye conditions such as cataracts, diabetic retinopathy or glaucoma, but can refer patients to other services if necessary or urgent.

Last reviewed:20 February 2023