MQ Health - Macquarie University

Ophthalmology Clinic

Frequently asked questions

How much will my consultation cost?

The cost of the consultation will depend on whether it is a new condition you are seeing the doctor for or if it is a follow-up appointment. As a new condition requires more time for the doctor to get the history of the condition, perform the examination, discuss and explain treatment they are more expensive than a follow-up appointment. The cost will also depend on whether you require any diagnostic testing to be performed to aid the doctor in their investigation. Similar to the way in which an X-ray aids the investigation of a broken bone, several of our doctors perform investigations looking at the retina, cornea, lens, optic nerve and blood vessels within the eye so they can assess the structure and the function of the area they are investigating. If you are proceeding to surgery then it may be necessary to have measurements calculated for your surgery. These detailed measurements will incur an expense.

In order to ensure you are billed at the correct rate please bring along to your appointment any pensioner, health care or DVA cards and talk to your doctor about the cost. If you would like to know the estimated cost of your consult prior to your appointment please call our rooms on 02 9812 3933 and one of our clinical staff will be able to discuss your condition and provide you an estimate of the testing needed and the approximate cost. We are not a bulk billing practice, so payment at the time of consultation is necessary.

If you are a DVA patient with a gold card we are able to lodge your account directly to DVA with no out of pocket expense for you. Please remember to bring your gold card to each appointment.

Will I get money back from Medicare or Health Insurance?

You are able to claim a rebate from Medicare for the cost of the consultation and a majority of the diagnostic testing performed if you have a valid Medicare card. In most cases there is a gap between the amount that Medicare will rebate you and the cost of the consult. We are able to lodge your rebate with Medicare on your behalf to save you going to the Medicare office. Medicare will then either credit your nominated bank account or send you a cheque in the mail. If you have had many medical procedures and consults within the year you may be eligible for the Medicare Safety Net where you will only incur 20% of the out of pocket costs. For more information please visit the Medicare website.

If you are being admitted to hospital for surgery then you may be able to claim the cost from your private health insurance. Most private policies only cover you when you are admitted to hospital and do not cover specialist consults – for more information we recommend you contact your health fund directly.

What is an orthoptist and why do I need to see them?

An orthoptist is a university trained Allied Health Practitioner who forms part of the ophthalmic team alongside the ophthalmologist. Orthoptists are trained to use the specialty diagnostic imaging devices and are able to diagnose and treat ocular muscle imbalances and double vision. They also assist the doctors in procedures and are involved in research and clinical trials on new devices and drugs used with the eyes. They can also prescribe glasses and perform vision assessments. The orthoptist will check your vision at each visit, measure your glasses, organise and perform any additional or specific testing to be done. If you are booked in for a specific test or procedure the orthoptist will explain the test/procedure and will set up the equipment and prepare your eye ready for the doctor. Orthoptists are also available to answer any questions you may have in relation to surgery, eye disorders, treatments or equipment.

Why do I need a referral and who can refer me?

If you want to claim a rebate from Medicare then you will need to have a valid referral. A valid referral can be gained from a medical practitioner or an optometrist. Referrals from a specialist doctor last 3 months whereas referrals from a GP or Optometrist last 12 months. If you will be seeing the doctor continuously over a long period of time, your referring practitioner may supply you with an indefinite referral. This referral must have the word “indefinite” on it and is only valid for the problem relating to the original referral.

Why do I need dilating drops?

Dilating drops make your pupil bigger so that the doctor can see what is happening at the back of your eye. This way the doctor can fully examine your eye, retina and macula to assess it for any change. The dilating drops take around 30 minutes to take effect, depending on the colour of your eyes. They last for 3-4 hours and your vision will be blurry for that time. As your pupils will be quite large we recommended you bring a pair of sunglasses if it is a bright day outside as more light will be able to enter your eye and the sun light may be dazzling.

Can I drive after my appointment?

If your eyes are being dilated or if you are having a laser procedure we recommend that you do not drive as your vision can be blurry for up to 4 hours after you have had the drops or procedure.