The Royal Free Ophthalmology department strives to deliver world class care by experienced and respected clinicians within their field of expertise. We provide services across the Royal Free NHS Trust network but also at hospitals such as the Whittington and University College Hospital, taking with us the core values we are so proud of. 

Ophthalmologists diagnose and treat a range of problems including red and painful eye, those related to a change in vision, double vision and squint, children’s eye complaints, eyelid problems, neurological eye problems and trauma. The ophthalmology team consists of ophthalmologists, nurses and health care professionals such as orthoptists, optometrists and ophthalmic technicians. The team work very closely with many other specialities including the emergency department, maxillofacial and ENT teams, neurologists, endocrinologists and paediatricians to name a few, as we provide a true multidisciplinary model of care.

As part of the Royal Free London’s response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, we have made some changes to our ophthalmology service.

The clinics at Barnet Hospital, Chase Farm Hospital, Edgware Community Hospital and St Pancras Eye Centre are open to see patients and we are ensuring that we continue to provide a service in the safest manner possible. Any unfortunate circumstances that result in cancellation of appointments will be done so after individual review of a patient’s case and the individual concerned will be contacted about this.

We have set up an ophthalmology advice line for queries from patients already under our care. Please call: 07773 578 708 or email: rf.ophthalmologyadviceline@nhs.net Monday to Friday, 8am and 5pm. If no-one answers the phone please do leave a voicemail and we endeavour to get back to you as soon as possible. We have the option of providing a virtual consultation service via video and if you would much prefer this please do let us know.

We encourage patients under the care of another service to please contact them in the first instance.

Emergency Eye Care 

We provide an emergency eye care service at the Royal Free Hospital in our urgent eye clinic between the hours of 9am to 4pm Monday to Friday and from 10am to 3pm on weekends and bank holidays (excluding Christmas day). This service is NOT a WALK-IN service and we will see patients on a referral based process only, from optometrists and GPs in the community, 111 or from clinicians in our general accident and emergency departments across the Trust who will conduct an initial triage and assessment. We are unable to provide second opinions or repeat prescriptions via this service.

Outside of the hours mentioned above, a doctor will be available for consultation and this is done via a clinician to clinician discussion after a patient has been assessed in the community or at accident and emergency. Advice for management will be given or should a face to face review be required an appropriate appointment will be made.

In light of the COVID pandemic avoiding a presentation to hospital if possible has become ever more important and thus limiting our exposure to the virus, hence the assessment in community first. Having said this it is important to understand our service continues to provide care to those requiring emergency eye care and would encourage those worried to please seek help so we can help reduce avoidable blindness and morbidity.​


Ophthalmology clinics at Finchley Memorial Hospital

Retinal and glaucoma patients who require long-term monitoring of their stable eye condition will now be reviewed at ophthalmology clinics at a new Community Diagnostic Centre (CDC) at Finchley Memorial Hospital.

CDCs are an NHS-wide initiative to provide diagnostic services in COVID-secure community settings, closer to where people live for a more personalised patient experience.

We aim to continue to provide world class ophthalmic care at this new location, which is managed and staffed by The Royal Free London ophthalmology team.

At the Finchley centre, several tests and assessments can be carried out at the same appointment (normally within 45 minutes to an hour) with our highly trained and friendly ophthalmic technicians to reduce the number of overall visits patients have to make. Results are then reviewed by an ophthalmology consultant and their team and sent to you via letter as previously. If required, you may also have a follow-up telephone consultation.

For further information about your appointment at Finchley Memorial Hospital, please call 020 7794 0500 extension 27404 or email: rf.cdhophthalmology@nhs.net


Do you have an appointment?

Find your ward

  • Clinical pathway admin manager

    Clinical pathway managers for appointment queries 

    Barnet - 020 8216 4959
    Chase Farm - 020 8375 1055
    Edgware - 0203 758 2409
    Royal Free - 020 7794 0500 ext 31333, 31332, 82141
    St Pancras - 0203 758 2034
    Whittington - 020 7288 3870


    Finchley Memorial Hospital

    For further information about your appointment at Finchley Memorial Hospital, please call 020 7794 0500 extension 27404 or email: rf.ophthalmologyadmin@nhs.net.

Hospital locations


Referral details

Accessing the ophthalmology service

Referrals are encouraged through the choose and book system. Appointments can also be made following a written referral from a GP or an optician. Emergencies are seen in the main clinic, on the first floor of the Royal Free Hospital on a daily basis at agreed times. Emergency referrals should go through the on-call registrar through the main Royal Free switchboard.

Accessing the orthoptic service

If you suffer from double vision, eye movement disorder; or concern about your child's vision or eye alignment, please ask your GP to refer you to the orthoptic department for advice.

Download our information leaflet.

The Team

Patient leaflets

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