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Find assessment and management information on Ophthalmology conditions at:

Emergency Immediate transfer to the Emergency Department

If any of the following are present or suspected, please refer the patient to the emergency department (via ambulance if necessary) or seek emergent medical advice if in a remote region.

NB - in an emergency of any of the following, it is advised to arrange immediate transfer to the emergency department.

Retinal artery occlusion

  • Patients with central or branch retinal artery occlusion


  • Angle closure glaucoma (unilateral red eye associated with pain, nausea, loss of vision, photophobia, steamy cornea, hard tener globe, 'rainbows' around lights or sluggish pupil reactions)
  • Patient with IOP >35mmHg

Strabismus and Diplopia

  • Sudden onset of any of the following:
    • constant convergent squint (esotropia) or
    • divergent squint (exotropia) or
    • double vision at any age


  • Sudden onset ptosis if concern regarding neurological cause i.e 3rd cranial nerve palsy

Other referrals to emergency

  • Sudden severe visual loss e.g. macular or vitreous haemorrhage, retinal detachment or retinal artery occlusion
  • Rubeosis iridis (iris new vessels)
  • Corneal graft rejection
  • Contact lens keratitis, corneal ulcers
  • Uveitis/scleritis
  • Intraocular pressure (IOP) > 35 mmHg
  • Signs and/or symptoms of retinal detachment
  • Acute injury e.g. trauma, burns, chemical exposure, foreign body
  • Acutely inflamed eye
  • Sudden onset of constant convergent squint (esotropia) or divergent squint (exotropia) and/or double vision at any age
  • Preseptal/orbital cellulitis - worsening eyelid oedema, erythema and proptosis
  • Ocular signs or symptoms of temporal arteritis
  • Ophthalmology conditions associated with sudden onset neurological signs and/or symptoms e.g. third cranial nerve palsy or optic disc swelling

Are you referring to the right service?

Urgent referrals Arranging urgent review

For urgent cases please call PAH switch (07) 3176 2111 and ask to speak to the Ophthalmology Registrar on call.  Urgent cases accepted via phone must be accompanied with a written referral and a copy faxed immediately to the Eye Clinic: (07) 3176 2201.

Out of scope services

Find assessment and management information on some out of scope conditions at Brisbane South HealthPathways.

  • Cataract 
    • patients with visual acuity in the affected eye of 6/12 or better will not be accepted unless clinical modifiers apply (see standard referral information section)
  • Diabetic retinopathy (routine referral for screening and patients without evidence of diabetic retinopathy or patients with only mild non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy (NDPR) will not be accepted unless in those HHSs without primary photo screening or optometrist)
  • Age related macular degeneration (AMD) (dry AMD is not routinely seen unless the practitioner is concerned about progression to wet AMD)
  • Glaucoma (patients with ocular hypertension with IOP less than 25mmHg and no other signs or risk factors for glaucoma will not be accepted)
  • Pterygium (pterygium less than 3mm from limbus to apex will not be accepted)
  • Lid lesions (patients with minor cosmetic eyelid lesions should not be referred)
  • Refractive error- (prescription of spectacles) in patients older than 12 years
  • Mild dry eyes
  • Mild ptosis
  • Routine Plaquenil Screening. This can be managed by local Optometrists.


  • Please note that where appropriate and where available, the referral may be streamed to an associated public allied health and/or nursing service.  Access to some specific services may include initial assessment and management by associated public allied health and/or nursing, which may either facilitate or negate the need to see the public medical specialist.
  • A change in patient circumstance (such as condition deteriorating, or becoming pregnant) may affect the urgency categorisation and should be communicated as soon as possible.
  • Please indicate in the referral if the patient is unable to access mandatory tests or investigations as they incur a cost or are unavailable locally.

Out of catchment

Metro South Health is responsible for providing public health services to the people who reside within its boundaries. Special consideration is made for patients requiring tertiary care or services that are not provided by their local Hospital and Health Service.  If your patient lives outside the Metro South Health area and you wish to refer them to one of our services, inclusion of information regarding their particular medical and social factors will assist with the triaging of your referral.

Last updated 7 March 2024