COVID-19 Urgent Eyecare Service (CUES)

The local NHS has teamed up with the Leeds Local Optical Committee to launch CUES, which stands for COVID-19 Urgent Eyecare Service.

CUES is free to access and is for all patients. The service will mainly be delivered over the phone or a video call. However, for more complex or severe cases, face-to-face appointments will be offered, this could be in the community or at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.

The service has been launched to reduce pressure on busy Accident and Emergency departments where strict social distancing measures in waiting and treatment areas are in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

If you have an urgent eye problem, like:

  • a red eye
  • sore/painful eye
  • flashes or floaters – this could be small dark spots, squiggly lines, rings or cobwebs
  • a sudden change in vision, or
  • foreign bodies – an object in your eye that shouldn’t be there, this could be a speck of dust, a wood chip, a metal shaving, an insect or a piece of glass

Visit the Primary Eyecare website ( to find which local optician is taking part in CUES or contact your optician or GP.  When your optician or GP is closed you can call NHS 111, you can also access NHS 111 online by visiting they will assess the situation and if needed you will be referred into CUES.

After you have been referred into CUES, you will be assessed by qualified eye health specialist – an optometrist (optician) – over the phone. You may need simple advice and guidance, or a prescription for some medication that you will need to pay for. However, if you need further treatment this will either be offered via a video call or you may be asked to attend a face-to-face appointment.

If you’re unable to be treated through CUES, the optician will speak to a hospital-based specialist – an ophthalmologist – at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust on your behalf. If it is clinically appropriate you will be asked to come into hospital to see an ophthalmologist, where you will be seen in a safe and low risk environment.

Patient resources

You can view the patient leaflet about CUES.

Watch the below short video clip from Paul Appleson, an optometrist in Leeds, talk about CUES: