This week is National Eye Health Week and the local NHS is reminding people of the options available to them if they are having eye-trouble.

Minor irritation or injury to the front of the eye usually doesn’t require medical treatment and should clear up within 24 hours.

Don’t rub your eye or try to remove any embedded objects.

If you have loose particles in your eye or your eye has been exposed to chemicals, flush it out with an eyewash or plenty of clean water for at least 10 to 15 minutes. If you wear contact lenses, remember to remove them before flushing the eye.

If you do experience any discomfort painkillers may be able to help – for advice speak to your local pharmacist.

If problems persist for more than 24 hours seek further help:

Call 111

Eye issues are dealt with in the normal way through NHS 111. When you call and speak with an advisor they will take you through a triage and give you the appropriate advice or advise the best on place to be seen.

Speak to your local optician

The Adult Community Ophthalmology Service (COS) is available to everyone aged over 16 years. The service allows patients to be seen more quickly and closer to home, reducing demand on hospital services.

To find out where your nearest COS local optician is please either call 0203 780 7866 or email support@evolutio-uk.com

Lyn Price is Clinical Lead, Optometry with Evolutio. She said “Your vision has a big impact on your health and wellbeing and it is important to look after your eyes.

Poor vision can make it difficult to read, drive and cook – all everyday activities. A good eye care routine can help maintain optimum eye health.

The good news is that many eye problems and diseases can be easily treated and managed if caught early. If you have any concerns about your eyesight or have noticed any deterioration, please visit your local optometrist for a sight test who will examine your eyes for any signs of vision problems or eye diseases. They will quickly identify whether or not you need glasses or referred on for a further examination with an eye specialist.”

See an ophthalmologist

If you have a serious eye injury, you may be referred to an ophthalmologist for specialist treatment.

Depending on the severity of your injury, your doctor may recommend a follow-up appointment with your GP the next day to check whether your eye is healing.

Your GP may refer you to an ophthalmologist for further specialist care if your eye hasn’t improved after 48 hours or it’s got worse.

Emergency Departments

If you have any of the following you should go to your nearest Emergency Department and seek help:

  • persistent or severe eye pain
  • foreign bodies that can’t be washed out
  • decreased or double vision
  • flashing lights, spots, halos or shadows in your field of vision
  • blood visible in your eye
  • an irregularly shaped pupil (the black dot at the centre of the eye)
  • pain when exposed to bright light
  • deep cuts around your eye
  • your eye is sticking out of your eye socket

You should also go to A&E if your injury was caused by an object flying at speed – for example, a projectile flung from an angle grinder; a very sharp object, such as glass or a knife; or chemical exposure. Flush your eye for at least 10 to 15 minutes before going.

For more information on National Eye Health Week visit http://www.visionmatters.org.ukwww.visionmatters.org.uk.