Optometrists are experts in eye health, trained to prescribe spectacles and contact lenses and treat a range of eye conditions such as dry eye, allergies and infections.

Where do optometrists practise?

Optometrists mainly work in private practice but can also work in a range of health settings including low vision clinics, hospitals, government and community organisations.

When should I see an optometrist?

A person will typically visit an optometrist when experiencing blurry vision or a change in vision but the broad range of reasons to visit an optometrist include allergies, diabetes, red eye, flashing lights and excessive discharge.

What services do optometrists provide?

Optometrists provide a wide range of services including vision testing, prescription of glasses and/or contact lenses, assessment and reporting on fitness to drive and vision problems in children such as strabismus and amblyopia. Optometrists with therapeutic qualifications are able to prescribe topical medications for the management of ocular conditions such as allergies or the treatment of glaucoma, which may be in conjunction with an ophthalmologist. Expert services can be offered in the areas of paediatric optometry, contact lenses, colour vision, occupational vision testing, rehabilitation for vision problems and vision therapy for children.

A Medicare rebate is available for receiving a routine eye examination from an optometrist every three years for people under the age of 65 years and annually for those 65 years and over. Patients who are symptomatic can receive a Medicare rebate more frequently. A person referred to an ophthalmologist by an optometrist is also able to obtain a Medicare rebate.

How are optometrists qualified?

In order to practise, an optometrist must meet the following requirements:

  • Complete a recognised optometry degree from one of five universities in Australia
  • Register to practise under the national registration and accreditation scheme with the Optometry Board of Australia
  • Obtain a provider number from Medicare
  • Complete continuing professional development requirements

Further information

For more detailed information about optometry, please visit the Optometry Australia website www.optometry.org.au or Optometry Board of Australia website www.optometryboard.gov.au

For members of the public, learn more about optometry services with the campaign ‘Good vision for life’ at the website www.goodvisionforlife.com.au.

Find a practitioner

Optometry Australia has a Find an Optometrist service that can be accessed here.