Whether you have a slit lamp or not, it’s likely you see a fair number of patients presenting with eye-related complaints. If you don’t, you may be stuck referring most of those patients out. If you do have a slit lamp—and staff properly trained to use it—you need to make sure athletes and youth coaches and administrators in your area know you can provide urgent eye care when needed. Roughly 120,000 people presented to EDs around the country with sports-related ocular injuries between 2010 and 2013, with basketball, baseball, and air guns being the most common associated activities, according to a new study published in JAMA Ophthalmology. The majority of those patients were children; 60% of injured males and 67% of injured females were age 18 or younger. Most likely, the incidence of injury is much higher since the study data included visits to the ED only. As with suspected concussions, adults responsible for helping injured young athletes get to the right provider may be unfamiliar with the range of services available at urgent care centers. You can make inroads by scheduling a visit with school athletic directors and organizers of community sports programs to explain the vital role urgent care can play in treating patients quickly and effectively. Such discussions can also remind local residents they have options beyond the ED any time sudden illness or injury occurs. (Further discussion of treating eye complaints in the urgent care setting, such as an in-depth article entitled Management of Ocular Complaints in Urgent Care,  can be found in the JUCM archives.)

Let the Community Know You Can Handle Eye Injuries
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