Ophthalmology (Eye Care)

About the Service

Ophthalmology is a branch of medicine that deals with conditions that affect the eyes. Ophthalmology includes areas which deal either with certain diseases or diseases of certain parts of the eye. Some of them are:

  • Cataracts
  • Cornea or the surface of the eye
  • Glaucoma
  • Medical retina, which deals with conditions in a non-surgical way
  • Neuro-ophthalmology
  • Ocular plastics and eye orbit surgery
  • Paediatric ophthalmology
  • Refractive surgery
  • Motility
  • Uveitis
  • Retinal surgery
  • Genetics

Ophthalmology services include the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of a range of diseases that affect the eye in both adults and children. Services also include orthoptics, hospital optometry, low vision and artificial eye.

How to access the Services

Patients can be referred to ophthalmology by their optometrist, General Practitioner or another clinician.

Eye Casualty

Eye Casualty is based at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast and is part of the Belfast Trust eye department. Eye Casualty provides a service for patients who require emergency or urgent eye care.

About the Service

The service provided by Eye Casualty is a walk-in emergency service; patients can be referred by their GP, Optometrist or can self-refer. In order to provide the best possible service, Eye Casualty advises all patients attending to bring a letter from their GP or Optometrist with them where possible.
If you have a longstanding complaint you should see your optometrist or general practitioner who will advise you and refer you to the eye outpatients department if necessary.

What to Expect at Eye Casualty

On arrival at the department you will need to book in at the reception. From here you will proceed to triage, where you will be assessed by a nurse. After this you will see either a nurse practitioner or a doctor, who will examine your eye.
All patients are triaged by a nurse after arrival and prioritised in order of clinical urgency. Eye Casualty staff will see patients as soon as possible. Waiting times vary depending on the number of patients attending the department at any one time and on the number of priority cases being dealt with.

Important Information

In some cases patients may require dilating drops to be administered for either diagnostic and treatment purposes. Therefore as a matter of precaution and safety we advise patients not to drive. Due to limited space within the waiting area, please ensure you are accompanied by no more than one other person.

Opening Hours

Monday to Friday: 9.00am – 5.00pm.
Weekends and Public Holidays: 8.30am – 1.00pm.
If you feel you require emergency eye care outside of these opening times, you should contact your GP Out-of-Hours service who can refer you to your local emergency department.

Location

The service is situated on the Victorian Corridor at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast. It can be accessed from the Falls Road entrance Monday to Friday only. Access is also available via the main hospital entrance following the directions for the Outpatients Centre – this entrance should be used at weekends and Public Holidays.

FAQs:

I woke up with Double vision and it’s not going away?

A: Talk to your GP or optometrist – if you require emergency or urgent eye care they can refer you directly to Eye Casualty OR if you are unable to see your GP or Optometrist you can contact Eye Casualty on (028) 9063 4706 for advice.

Q. If I have a foreign body in my eye what should I do?

A: Talk to your GP or optometrist – if you require emergency or urgent eye care they can refer you directly to Eye Casualty OR if you are unable to see your GP or Optometrist you can contact Eye Casualty on (028) 9063 4706 for advice.

Q. My Optometrist has told me I have cataract what should I do?

A: Your Optometrist can refer you to Ophthalmology outpatients.

Useful External Links:

To find out more about diseases affecting the eye check NHS Direct
To find out more about diseases affecting the eye and services for visually impaired persons check RNIB
Information on Macular conditions is available from Macular Society