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General eye health FAQs


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How often should I have my eyes checked?

You should generally have your eyes checked at least once every 2 years by an optometrist (and/or ophthalmologist in certain situations). A routine eye check may lead to the early diagnosis and treatment of a condition – hopefully, before any irreversible vision loss has occurred.

People who wear contact lenses, have health conditions (e.g. diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis) or have a family history of eye disorders may require more frequent eye checks.

What should I eat to maintain good eye health?1

Your diet will contribute to good eye health.

Foods such as oily fish (omega 3 oils), leafy greens (lutein and zeaxanthin), brightly coloured vegetables and fruits (vitamins C and A), and nuts and seeds (vitamin E) are all great for your eyes, as well as the rest of your body. You can decrease your chance of developing vision-threatening diseases, such as macular degeneration, by eating these foods as part of a healthy diet.

What does an ophthalmologist do?

Ophthalmologists are also known as eye specialists, eye surgeons and eye doctors. Ophthalmologists can diagnose and treat eye conditions, perform eye surgery, and prescribe medications and glasses.

A general practitioner or optometrist must refer you to see an ophthalmologist.

What does an optometrist do?

Optometrists can prescribe glasses and contact lenses and, in some cases, a limited range of medications. They can diagnose and monitor eye disease and also provide referrals directly to ophthalmologists.

Eye examinations by an optometrist attract a Medicare rebate and are often bulk-billed.

What does an orthoptist do?

Orthoptists can prescribe glasses and contact lenses. They work with ophthalmologists in hospitals and private practice, in research and in low-vision agencies to provide education and home support.

What does a dispensing optician do?

Dispensing opticians make and dispense glasses and contact lenses, based on prescriptions written by ophthalmologists, optometrists and orthoptists.

Further reading and references

General reference

Macular Disease Foundation of Australia: Nutrition

  1. Rinninella et al. The role of diet, micronutrients and the gut microbiota in age-related macular degeneration: new perspectives from the gut–retina axis. Nutrients. 2018 Nov; 10(11): 1677. doi: 10.3390/nu10111677 ↩︎

The information on this page is general in nature. All medical and surgical procedures have potential benefits and risks. Consult your ophthalmologist for specific medical advice.

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