PEARS - Emergency Eyecare and Advice

What is the Primary Eyecare Acute Referral Service (PEARS)?

If you have had a recent onset of certain eye related symptoms this service may be used to assess and manage your symptoms. It is only available to those individuals registered with a Herefordshire GP.


“PEARS” is a free service available from a host of accredited optometrists across Herefordshire. It is designed to be used as an alternative to attending A&E for eye related conditions, to reduce the burden on an already busy department. By allowing for assessment at a community optometric practice it is more convenient for our patients. It is also a useful tool for local GPs to use to refine ocular referrals from patients who present at their practices with ocular symptoms.


When should you ask for a PEARS assessment?

If you have had any of the following problems start within the last two weeks:

  • Red eye
  • Irritation and inflammation of the eye
  • Significant sticky or watery discharge from the eye
  • Sudden onset or increase of flashing lights or floaters
  • Painful eye
  • Recent and sudden loss of vision
  • Sudden onset of distortion
  • In-growing eyelashes
  • A foreign body in your eye

However, you should go straight to A&E if you have:

  • Chemical injury or burns
  • Total loss of vision in one or both eyes
  • Significant trauma such as penetrating injury, or eyelid laceration
  • Problems arising from recent eye surgery
  • You cannot make it to one of the participating optometric practices and have any of the symptoms associated with attending a PEARS examination

How do I make a PEARS appointment?

If you are registered with a Herefordshire GP you are eligible to use PEARS.

To make an appointment phone a participating optometry practice. You will be asked some questions about your symptoms, to asses how urgently you need to be examined.

Appointments are available during normal working hours, with some optometrists offering appointments at the weekend.

Please be aware that some symptoms may require your pupils to be dilated to investigate them thoroughly. This will involve instilling drops and you should not drive until the effects of these drops wear off, which may take a few hours.


What should I take with me?

A list of your current medication
Your spectacles


What happens following a PEARS examination?

Depending on the outcome of the examination the following action may be taken:
You may be managed by your optometrist. This may require drops from your local pharmacy.
A follow up appointment may be made in certain circumstances with your optometrist to check your progress
You may be asked to make an appointment with your GP if the condition is related to your general health
You may require a routine referral to the hospital eye department
You may still require urgent referral to the hospital eye department

Looking after your eyes

A healthy lifestyle is important for your eye health, and can reduce the risk of many common eye conditions such as age related macular degeneration, cataract, dry eye, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma.

Eating a healthy diet, protecting your eyes from the sun, stopping smoking and doing regular exercise are all ways of reducing the risk of eye disease in the future.

For more information on PEARS or any other community optometrist service contact your local optician or visit

If you need advice out of hours please contact NHS Direct tel: 111