Emergency & Urgent Eye Care

Symptoms  |  Urgent Care  |  Eye Pain  |   Conjunctivitis  |  Red Eye |  Swollen Eye |  Contact Lens Infection

There are many reasons you might want to see an eye specialist. You may have a concern that’s been bothering you for a while, or need to seek urgent care for eye problems. 

What is an eye emergency?

An eye emergency occurs when you injure, burn or get something in your eye that should not be there such as a foreign object or a chemical.

We recommend you have annual eye exams but if an eye emergency occurs, don’t hesitate to seek professional help from one of our specialists.

Symptoms of an eye injury

Symptoms of an eye injury can present in many ways. 

Ask for medical advice if you are experiencing any of these eye injury symptoms:

This list is not exhaustive as there are many eye-related symptoms, caused by a wide range of problems.

When to seek urgent care

Seek urgent care if you are experiencing eye pain, as this could be a sign of an infection. We need to treat an infection quickly to prevent further damage to your eye.

You may get an eye infection if you have something in your eye that shouldn’t be there. Wash your hands before touching the area to check. 

You should always be gentle when handling your eyes. Don’t rub your eye or try to take anything out yourself.

A chemical burn requires emergency assistance. Try to flush the eye with clean water but don’t let this delay you from getting help.

If you experience sudden vision loss or a change in your vision, you should also seek the advice of a medical professional. Clouded or blurred vision that develops over time, may be a sign of a cataract.

Eye pain

Many problems can lead to eye pain. You may have scratched the surface of your eye (corneal abrasion) or have a foreign object in your eye.

Eye pain usually means your eye has been injured in some way and needs to be looked at by a medical professional.

If your pain is severe, you should seek urgent care, especially when accompanied by swelling, redness, and a change or loss in vision.


Conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye, happens when the conjunctiva of the eye becomes infected or inflamed. 

It usually affects both eyes and can be infectious; don’t share a towel or pillow with anyone while you have infectious conjunctivitis. 

Symptoms of conjunctivitis include:

  • Redness
  • Watering eyes
  • Itching or scratchiness
  • Pus stuck to your eyelashes

To relieve your symptoms, gently wipe your eyes with a clean, damp cotton wool pad. You can also ask a pharmacist for advice. 

If you experience a change in vision, severe pain or sensitivity to light then seek urgent care for your eye problems.

Red eye

There are many causes of red eye as it is a common eye condition. 

Common causes include:

  • Overusing digital devices
  • An allergic reaction
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Dry eyes

Dry eye happens when we don’t have enough tears or our tears aren’t of a good enough quality to protect our eyes.

There are lifestyle changes that can help with dry eye symptoms, though if your dry eye is severe then some of the treatments we offer you might be better for you.

The dry eye treatment options offered at Oculase include IPL therapy, meibomian gland expression, BlephEx™ and punctal plugs. Learn more about dry eye treatments offered at Oculase.

Swollen eye

An allergic reaction or an insect bite can cause a swollen eyelid. This usually resolves with antihistamines and/or antibiotics. However, it is important to see an eye specialist if you experience pain inside your eye or your eyeball becomes red or if your vision is affected. 

If your eyelid swelling lasts longer than 24-48 hours, seek urgent care for your eye problem from an ophthalmologist. 

Contact lens infection

Contact lenses can scratch the surface of your eye and cause a contact lens-related infection. If you wear contact lenses, follow the guidance of your eye doctor.

Don’t wear your contact lenses when:

  • Swimming
  • Sleeping
  • Showering
  • Healing from an eye injury

To eliminate the need for contacts, you may consider laser eye surgery.

Book an appointment

Untreated eye emergencies, and some other eye problems, can lead to partial or permanent vision loss. 

You should seek the advice of an eye specialist if you are experiencing any problems with your eyes.

Meet Mr Tariq Ayoub, our consultant ophthalmologist, who is an expert in urgent care for eye problems.

Book an appointment today.

0330 128 1616

Our clinic sites are regulated by
The Care Quality Commission (CQC)

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