If you have an eye problem, you can make an emergency appointment with an optician (also known as an optometrist). These appointments are provided free by the NHS and will ensure you receive the right specialist care as soon as possible.
Opticians (optometrists) have the same specialist equipment as specialist eye doctors (hospital ophthalmologists) and may be able to treat and manage your eye problem without a need for you to go anywhere else.
They can also refer you to a hospital eye clinic if necessary.
To make an emergency appointment, telephone your optician/optometrist or call 111 to speak to an adviser when your local optician is not available out of hours.
How often should I have an eye test?
Our eyes rarely hurt when something is wrong with them, so having regular eye tests is important to help detect potentially harmful conditions.
The NHS recommends that you should get your eyes tested every two years (more often if advised by your ophthalmic practitioner or optometrist).
An NHS sight (eye) test is free of charge if you are in one of the eligible groups and your sight test is considered clinically necessary. If the ophthalmic practitioner can’t see a clinical need then you’ll have to pay for the test privately.
For more information, read about free NHS sight tests and optical vouchers.