Maintaining good eye health is important, but we often take our eyes for granted. A number of eye conditions have no obvious symptoms until the advanced stages. In fact, around 90% of all vision loss is actually preventable or treatable.1 From the age of 40, it is normal to experience changes in your vision. Your risk of developing certain eye conditions also starts to increase. Have regular eye tests with your optometrist to ensure any issues are detected and treated as early as possible.
General (or comprehensive) ophthalmologists treat a wide variety of eye conditions and also perform cataract surgery. Vision Eye Institute doctors have completed extensive specialist training in order to become a general ophthalmologist. In addition, many have undertaken further training and extra qualifications in specific diseases or conditions affecting the eye – this is called subspecialisation. In certain situations, more specialised care or surgery is required, in which case a general ophthalmologist may refer you to a subspecialist colleague.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Optical dispensers make and dispense glasses and contact lenses, based on prescriptions written by ophthalmologists, optometrists and orthoptists.
For a full reference list, visit the general eye health FAQ page.
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Some services may not be performed by your preferred doctor or at your preferred clinic. We will confirm this with you before making an appointment.
Your ophthalmologist will take a detailed history, including family history of conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease. You will be asked about any vision problems you are currently experiencing, as well as any that you have had previously. If you use prescription glasses or contact lenses, make sure you take these to your appointment.
The comprehensive eye examination includes tests to determine the health, function and appearance of different parts of the eye.
These may include:
The results of most tests are available straight away, but some may take a few days.
Note: If you have had pupil-dilating drops during the examination, you will have blurry vision and sensitivity to glare and bright light for approximately 4 to 6 hours. You will not be able to drive home and should make other arrangements.
If you have a refractive error where the shape of your eyeball prevents light focusing properly (resulting in blurred or distorted vision), your ophthalmologist will prescribe corrective glasses.
If an eye disease is detected or suspected, you may need to have further diagnostic tests before a treatment plan can be recommended. In certain situations, a general ophthalmologist may also refer you to another ophthalmologist who has subspecialised in a particular part of the eye (e.g. a corneal or retinal specialist).
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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.
Date last reviewed: 2023-05-26 | Date for next review: 2025-05-26