UPMC Vision Institute Opens Urgent Eye Care Clinic

Updated on October 8, 2023

The UPMC Vision Institute opened a new clinic where patients can be treated for a variety of acute ophthalmology emergencies. It is one of the few clinics nationwide dedicated to urgent care of eye problems and the only one in Pennsylvania.

The UPMC Vision Institute Urgent Eye Care Clinic is conveniently located on the ground floor of the UPMC Vision Institute’s headquarters at the recently opened UPMC Mercy Pavilion on Locust Street. It is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Gradually, these hours will be expanded.

“We’re building toward something truly unique in the region. Eventually, we will provide acute vision care 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” said Jerome Finkelstein, M.D., vice chair of clinical operations for the Department of Ophthalmology at UPMC and clinical associate professor of ophthalmology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

The clinic specializes in diagnosing and treating such urgent eye conditions as trauma, eye pain, abrupt decreases in vision, flashes, sudden increases in “floaters,” distorted vision, and seeing “curtains” or shadows.

The UPMC Vision Institute Urgent Eye Care Clinic provides specialized care that is not available in most acute care settings, backed by the UPMC Vision Institute’s expertise in ocular system problems, including cornea disorders, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, macular degeneration, orbital disorders and neuro-ophthalmology.

The Vision Institute’s ophthalmologists work in concert with the new clinic’s first responders — optometrists, physician assistants and nurse practitioners who have undergone intensive training in acute ophthalmologic conditions. “This team approach allows us to expand our coverage and provide exceptional care that is convenient for patients,” said Evan “Jake” Waxman, M.D., Ph.D., professor of ophthalmology and vice chair for education at UPMC and the Pitt School of Medicine.

“When a patient has an urgent eye health need, it can be difficult to know what to do, or how to navigate the system,” said Finkelstein. “Here, we have an obvious place to come — with a full suite of equipment to better diagnose and treat patients on the spot — as well as great accessibility and convenient parking. A well-integrated team of experts, from comprehensive ophthalmologists to subspecialists, provide patients timely access to all the care they need.”

Until hours are expanded, patients experiencing urgent eye problems during evening and weekend hours should go to UPMC Mercy’s Emergency Department, where they will be seen by on-call physicians from the Vision Institute.

The new clinic does not see children. Pediatric cases will continue to be seen at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

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