Ocular emergencies include physical and chemical trauma to the eye and conditions such as retinal detachment and vascular events. For patients who present to a GP with an ocular emergency, organising referral to the available ophthalmic services is paramount, but basic investigation and in some cases treatment can be of benefit.
- Although patients with ocular emergencies present infrequently to GP clinics, GPs require an awareness of these conditions and how to triage patients effectively.
- Prompt action by the GP can significantly benefit the short- and long-term rehabilitation of patients with ocular emergencies.
- In some cases, the GP may need to provide treatment, but the main goal is early recognition and appropriate referral.
- Basic visual assessment can be completed in the general practice setting to provide the specialist with key information.
- Systemic conditions are risk factors for several significant ocular conditions; the GP remains an essential part of the diagnostic and treatment team.