A pilot study of eye disease was carried out over three months in a general practice at a London community health centre. During the study 223 patients with eye symptoms attended, representing 2.7% of all medical consultations and giving an annual consultation rate for eye disease of 57 per 1000 of the practice population. One hundred and sixty nine of these patients were seen by an ophthalmologist who diagnosed 43 different presenting disorders; seasonal allergic conjunctivitis accounted for 21% of these cases and other disorders of the lids and conjunctiva for 28%. The general practitioner's diagnoses were compared with the ophthalmologist's diagnoses in 30 cases; the principal differences were for specialist areas of external disease, medical retinal disorders, and where ophthalmic symptoms were unrelated to ocular abnormality. A cost analysis showed that an ophthalmic service in a community health centre would be cost effective by reducing attendances at the hospital outpatient department.