Emergency conditions

The following lists provide a guideline of when to seek assistance and from who.

You can also get information and advice on eye conditions and treatments from our nurse led telephone helpline, Moorfields direct, on 0207 566 2345.

The helpline is staffed by experienced ophthalmic nurses and open from 9am - 9pm, Monday to Friday and from 9am to 5pm on Saturdays. 

At busy times we might not be able to answer your call straight away.

Emergency conditions

Immediate attention

Contact on call ophthalmologist at your local hospital

  • Acute glaucoma
  • Chemical burn* (Check pH and irrigate)
  • Corneal laceration
  • Globe perforation
  • Intra ocular foreign body
  • Hypopyon (pus in anterior chamber)
  • Iris prolapse *Cover with an eye shield
  • Orbital cellulitis
  • Central retinal artery occlusion (less than 8 hours onset)
  • Giant cell arteritis with visual disturbance

Within 24 hours

  • Arc eye
  • Corneal abrasion
  • Corneal foreign body
  • Sub tarsal foreign body
  • Blunt trauma
  • Contact lens related
  • Corneal graft patients
  • Corneal ulcers or painful / corneal opacities
  • Hyphaema
  • Iritis

Within one week

  • Sudden / recent onset of diplopia
  • Sudden / recent onset of distortion in vision
  • Suspected wet AMD
  • HZO with eye involvement
  • Episcleritis
  • Scleritis
  • Bells palsy
  • Optic neuritis
  • Severe infective conjunctivitis

The following conditions are not emergencies

  • Allergic conjunctivitis.
  • Mild – moderate conjunctivitis.
  • Blepharitis.
  • Chalazion.
  • Dry eyes.
  • Ectropion.
  • Watery eye.
  • Sub conjunctival haemorrhage.