- A valid referral from your GP, optometrist, or referring specialist
- Medicare card
- Private health fund card or DVA card if applicable
- Any eye drops you may be taking
- A list of your regular medications
- Your glasses
- Any recent blood test results
- Any relevant x-ray, ultrasound, CT, or MRI scans
Yes. You can still be seen without a referral, but you will not be able to claim a Medicare rebate. Referrals from GPs or optometrists last for 12 months. Referrals from other specialists last 3 months.
Please allow about 1-1.5 hours from the time of your appointment. We will do our best to see you as soon as possible.
At the time of your eye appointment you will start by having eye tests performed by technicians. Once the tests are completed you will see the doctor.
You will need various tests done prior to seeing the doctor. The number of tests you require depends on the reason you have been referred. These tests will be performed by our qualified technicians. Once these tests are completed the doctor will see you to discuss the results and possibly perform more tests.
It is best not to drive to your appointment. Your pupils are likely to be dilated with eye drops and this blurs your vision for about 2 hours. It is preferable to come by public transport or have a friend/family member drive you in.
Yes, it is important for you to use your eye drops every day including the day of your appointment. Otherwise it is hard to tell if the drops are working well enough.
Yes, you will receive a rebate from Medicare for your consultation. Rebates are also paid for most investigations and treatments. Despite this there are still out of pocket costs.
This is the frustrating part. Private health funds do provide rebates for eye surgery performed in a hospital or day surgery. However, they do not provide rebates for consultations or any procedures performed within the clinic.
Floaters are very common and often not problematic. However, if you experience new floaters or new symptoms with your floaters (flashing lights or shadows) then you should have your eyes checked within 24 hours to exclude a tear in the retina or retinal detachment.
No, but it may not be a serious problem. Often blurred vision can come and go, particularly if you have dry eyes. If blinking makes it better then it is likely related to dry eye. Any persistent blurred vision should be assessed by an eye care professional.
You should seek urgent review if you experience any of the following:
- Sudden loss of vision or visual distortion
- Flashes or floaters or loss of peripheral vision
- Red and painful eye, especially in someone who wears contact lenses
- Double vision
- Swollen eye that cannot easily open
- Direct injury to your eye
- Known foreign object in your eye
Cataract (cloudy lens) can only be treated with surgery. You can take steps to reduce your risk of developing cataract by protecting your eyes from the sun with a hat and sunglasses. Some patients who take steroid treatments regularly may be at risk of cataract development. The other risk for cataract is ageing. Unfortunately I do not have the cure for this!
Attending your follow-up appointments and taking your eye drops regularly, if prescribed, are the most important parts of glaucoma management.
There are a number of lifestyle factors that affect eye pressure and detailed information can be found through Glaucoma Australia www.glaucoma.org.au. Dr Lusthaus co-authored the article “Is there anything I can do in my life to treat or prevent glaucoma?”
- Avoid having too much caffeine – Aim for 4 or less caffeinated drinks/day.
- Avoid drinking large volumes of any fluid all at once, including water. It is much better
- for your eye pressure to drink small volumes regularly throughout the day.
- Eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables.
- Regular exercise, including walking.
Some of the eye drops used to treat glaucoma do sting for a short time. Discomfort, red eyes, swollen eyelids, or itchiness may indicate an allergic reaction to the drops, in which case your treatment should be changed.
Although your vision is normal the nerve (optic nerve) that connects your eye to your brain is becoming damaged. Most patients only notice blurred vision during the very advanced stages when it is too late for treatment. Glaucoma is irreversible, but it can be slowed enough to prevent you from losing significant vision if it is caught early enough. This is often achieved with eye drops used to lower your eye pressure.
The most important risk for macular degeneration is smoking. This should provide further motivation to quit if you are currently smoking.
It is best to maintain a well-balanced diet including fresh fish, fruits, whole grains and green leafy vegetables. Some patients will be advised to take a vitamin tablet, which has been proven to reduce the risk of worsening macular degeneration in certain groups.
Wearing sunglasses outside may reduce your risk of macular degeneration.
Patients with macular degeneration will be asked to monitor their vision with an Amsler grid once per week. If any changes are noticed then urgent review is suggested.