Better Health Channel
betterhealth.vic.gov.au
betterhealth.vic.gov.au

Description

In Australia, optometrists are health professionals who have a university qualification and must be registered with the Optometry Board of Australia.

Optometrists help us to look after our eye health and care of our eyes.

Services provided

Optometrists are qualified to:

  • Diagnose eye disorders and diseases (such as cataracts and glaucoma).
  • Pick up health disorders involving the eyes (such as diabetes and thyroid problems).
  • Examine eyes for vision disorders.
  • Prescribe, fit and supply glasses and contact lenses.
  • Analyse and treat eye coordination and focusing disorders.
  • Prescribe other specialised optical aids.
  • Contribute to the care of people who experience vision loss.

Many Victorian optometrists are qualified to prescribe therapeutic drugs to treat a range of common eye conditions. Common eye conditions include sore and tired eyes, blurred vision, headaches, twitching eyelids and watery or dry eyes. 

Optometrists can also provide expert advice on:

  • lighting
  • occupational eye safety and vision requirements
  • general eye and vision protection
  • aftercare for contact lens use
  • fashion spectacle frames and appropriate spectacle lens’ materials and coatings
  • sunglasses
  • sports vision
  • vision-related learning disabilities.

Eye examinations with an optometrist

Optometrists can do a thorough check up of your eyes. A standard eye examination includes screening for all common eye diseases – such as glaucoma and cataracts. The optometrist will also:

  • Talk to you and develop your case history.
  • Examine your eyes and related structures for any vision problems, signs of eye disease or other abnormalities.
  • Assess your eyes for a focusing disorder – such as myopia, hypermetropia, astigmatism or presbyopia.
  • Measure your eye movement and coordination.
  • Perform further tests if required.
  • Refer you, if needed, to your local doctor or ophthalmologist (an eye specialist who performs eye surgery and treats eye diseases).

How to access

You can make an appointment to see an optometrist directly, without a referral. Your doctor may also refer you to an optometrist.

Go to Optometry Australia to find an optometrist near you.

Costs

The cost of optometric services varies depending on the treatment. Contact the clinic before you attend if you are unsure of the cost.

Most eye testing can be provided under Medicare, and prescribed treatments are generally available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. Optometric fees are covered by some private health funds but your coverage will depend on your insurance policy.

Optometry Victoria/South Australia

Around 88 per cent of Victorian optometrists are members of Optometry Victoria/South Australia. Tel. (03) 9652 9100 Email. office.vicsa@optometry.org.au

Profile

Sector

Conventional healthcare – allied health

Regulation

Commonwealth Government

Registration

Compulsory registration through Optometry Board of Australia

Minimum qualifications

Bachelor degree

Tip

  • Take your Medicare card along to your appointment.

Important

  • Optometrists are registered healthcare professionals.
  • Optometrists work in a variety of settings including public hospitals, private practice and universities and in areas providing services to Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander people.
  • To get a clear understanding of your physical condition, an optometrist will ask you about your eyes and vision and your general health.
  • If you don’t understand something, for example, how to take care of your contact lenses, don’t hesitate to ask for more information.

Complaints