Skip to Main Content Skip to Site Map Skip to Accessibility Statement



Northern Ireland Primary Eyecare Assessment and Referral Scheme

What is NI PEARS?

Northern Ireland Primary Eyecare Assessment and Referral Service (NI PEARS) is a service provided by most optometry practices across Northern Ireland for patients who develop a sudden eye problem.

The NI PEARS service is for patients who develop a sudden eye condition such as:

  • Red eye(s)
  • Pain and/or discomfort in the eyes, or around the eye area
  • Sudden reduction in vision in one or both eyes
  • Recent onset or sudden increase of flashes and/or floaters in one or both eyes
  • Something in your eye that you can’t remove yourself

If you are unsure whether your symptoms qualify you for an NI PEARS examination, please contact your local optometry practice for advice.

Most optometry (opticians) practices in Northern Ireland now provide the NIPEARS service.  If they do not provide the service, they will direct you to the nearest practice that does provide the service.

Appointments are available during normal working hours and you will be seen within 48 hours.

You must be registered with a GP in Northern Ireland and bring your Health and Care number which is on your medical card.

What happens at an NI PEARS assessment?

The optometrist will discuss your eye problem including the symptoms you may have, any history of eye problems and related medical history. You will be given a thorough eye assessment to enable the optometrist to investigate your condition. The optometrist will explain your condition and may:

  • Give advice and treatment if required or
  • Refer you to your GP if your eye condition is related to your general health or
  • Refer you directly to the hospital eye service if the condition is more serious

If your condition is minor and non-sight threatening, the optometrist should be able to manage it in their practice. They may recommend an eye medication and will either direct you to your pharmacist to purchase the medication or give you a form to take to your GP to have a prescription issued.

The optometrist may also recommend a follow up appointment.