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Feature Article

Ocular emergencies: prompt action can improve outcomes

Michael Lawless, Chris Hodge

Figures

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©KATARZYNABIALASIEWICZ/ISTOCKPHOTO.COM MODEL USED FOR ILLUSTRATIVE PURPOSES ONLY

Abstract

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.

Key Points

  • 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.

Figures

©KATARZYNABIALASIEWICZ/ISTOCKPHOTO.COM MODEL USED FOR ILLUSTRATIVE PURPOSES ONLY
©KATARZYNABIALASIEWICZ/ISTOCKPHOTO.COM MODEL USED FOR ILLUSTRATIVE PURPOSES ONLY