Eye emergencies are common presentations to acute care. The causes may vary from minor eye irritation through to severe eye threatening disease or injury. The assessment and management of patients with eye related complaints involves a structured approach to examination that includes visual acuity (the "vital sign" of the eye), macroscopic examination of the eye and surrounding structures and where available slit lamp examination of the eye. The slit lamp provides is especially useful for detailed examination of the cornea and anterior chamber of the eye and is of great assistance when performing procedures on the eye such as corneal foreign body removal.
In this pre-learning we take a detailed look at the procedure for examination of the eye, review the red flags that highlight patients at higher risk for serious eye disease or injury, and consider the differential diagnosis and management of the patient with acute red eye.