Frequently Asked Questions
Consultation FAQ
Surgery FAQ

Making your appointment

In order to provide you with a suitable date and time, where possible we recommend that you phone 6-8 weeks in advance to make your appointment. For all enquiries and appointments at Melbourne Eye Specialists, please call the appropriate number below; Fitzroy – Ph: 9417 1055 Fax: 9417 5952 A current letter of referral is usually required every 12 months if written by your General Practitioner or Optometrist, referrals written by a Specialist will last for 3 months. It is your responsibility to ensure your referral is current for your appointment. Please ask our staff to check this for you if you are unsure. We appreciate that your time is valuable and we try not to keep you waiting. Each patient consultation is unique and can involve more extensive testing or treatment than others. An initial consultation is a perfect example. We recommend you allow 1-2 hours for your visit. Any emergencies will be attended to immediately which may impact on your waiting time. Please indicate when you present to our staff if you are under a lot of time pressure on that day. Also, you are very welcome to telephone before you arrive to check how appointments are progressing. Veteran’s Affairs Gold Card holders are entitled to transport to and from appointments, which our administration staff are happy to organise. Please inform our staff when you book your appointment if you require this service at least 24 hours prior to your appointment.

Do I need a referral?

Yes, you need a current referral from your local doctor or from an optometrist. Generally referrals are valid from 9-12 months from a General Practitioner and Optometrist and 3 months from a Specialist.

How long will my first appointment take?

Please allow up to 2 hours for your appointment. It may take a little longer if your doctor organises tests or treatments for you on the day of your visit.

What do I need to bring to my appointment?

* A current letter of referral from a General Practitioner, Optometrist or Specialist
* Medicare Card
* Pension or Health Care Card
* If you wear distance or reading glasses, please bring these with you.
* Sunglasses to minimise the sensitivity to glare that may occur from the dilating drops or laser procedures.

Presenting for your appointment

When presenting to our staff for your appointment, new patients will be asked to complete a patient registration form that remains within your history. If you have attended Melbourne Eye Specialists before, we do ask that you inform us of any changes to your personal details such as a change of address, contact phone number or if you have become entitled to any Centrelink benefits since your last visit. If you required a new letter of referral for your consultation, please offer this to our staff when you present for your appointment.

Assessment with Orthoptist

Prior to seeing the doctor, patients will usually see one of our university-trained orthoptists who will perform preliminary testing to assist with history diagnosis, treatment and ongoing management. The orthoptists conduct assessments of your vision and glasses requirements. They may also perform other tests that cover cataract measurement assessment, glaucoma diagnosis (including automated perimetry, and fundus photographs) and retinal assessment (including photos and angiograms). The orthoptist may give you drops to dilate your pupils, which means there may be a degree of blurred vision afterwards. In addition, the orthoptist may provide the ophthalmologist with a range of test results, assist with exercises to recover visual functions, aid the diagnosis and management of eye movement disorders and allow prescriptions of glasses to relieve symptoms and/or restore function.

Assessment with Ophthalmologist

After your orthoptic assessment, you will see your ophthalmologist who will address your problems, provide a diagnosis when appropriate and advise treatment for managing your ocular condition.

At the end of your consultation

If a review appointment is requested by your doctor this will be arranged for you by our staff. Surgery bookings can be arranged with our theatre bookings department at our Fitzroy branch on the day of your consultation. Our administration staff do their best to simplify payment processes for patients. We are registered with Medicare On-line Claiming, which allows us to send your account to Medicare on your behalf, saving you the time and hassle of going to a Medicare office. Payment on the day is appreciated. If you have registered your bank account details with Medicare, and you have paid in full on the day, Medicare will automatically deposit the rebate amount into your account within 2-3 working days. Alternatively, Medicare can send you a cheque in the post. We accept cash, cheque, money order, Eftpos, Visa and Mastercard. For patients attending our branch practices at Latrobe University Medical Centre your accounts will be posted out to you. Payments of these accounts are to be sent to Melbourne Eye Specialists Level 2, 77 Victoria Parade, Fitzroy, 3065 or paid with credit card over the phone. Our staff can best answer any questions about fees or payments when you visit.

Is the cost of my consultation covered by private health insurance?

No, however Medicare pays 85% of the schedule fee.

What will my consultation cost?

Melbourne Eye Specialists is not a Bulk Billing practice. Fees are dependant on the clinician you see and whether or not you have a procedure, investigation or test performed on the day. Discount rates are offered to pensioners and health care cardholders.

Can I drive to my appointment?

There is a chance you may have drops put in your eyes to dilate your pupils. These drops can blur your near vision for up to 3 hours at most although this can vary with each individual. We would therefore recommend you don’t drive during this period. If you have any concerns or are unable to arrange alternative transport, please let our staff know prior to your appointment so we can inform your doctor.

How can I pay my account?

We accept payment by cash, cheque, money order, Eftpos, Visa and MasterCard. Over the phone credit card payment is available. Our branch practice at Latrobe University Medical Centre does not accept any payments, your account will be posted to you.

If I need laser for glaucoma or after cataract, can it be done on the day?

Yes, this type of laser is available at our main branch in Fitzroy and at our branch at Latrobe University Medical Centre.

All surgery patients of Melbourne Eye Specialists will be provided with an information pack that will provide details about the surgery procedure and pre and post-operative instructions. Our theatre bookings department can be contacted on 9417 1055 to answer any questions or concerns you may have.

If I have a cataract will it be removed on the day?

No. We can take measurements for your intraocular lenses and organise a surgery date suitable for you, but the procedure will be scheduled for another date to be performed in hospital.

When will I need to see the doctor again after my surgery?

A post-operative review time will be set relating to your procedure. The review may be the following day, within a week or even in a few weeks. You will be advised after your surgery about your post-operative appointment details.

How long will I need to wear a patch over my eye?

Generally the eye patch can be removed later the same evening or early the next day, however your doctor will advise you of all post-operative eye care.

Can I go home by myself after the surgery?

No, as you will have had an anaesthetic, you will need someone to drive/escort you home.

How long will the surgery take?

We recommend you allow approximately 4-6 hours from the time of your admission till the time you leave the hospital.

Where will my surgery be performed?

Our operative facilities are at St. Vincent’s Private Hospital, an exceptional private hospital and exceptional day surgery facility, V.P.S.C and the Eye & Ear Hospital which is associated with our branch practice.

I also have Glaucoma. Is Cataract surgery safe in this circumstance?

Cataract surgery is generally useful in glaucoma, in fact it can form part of the strategy to controlling the disease. Cataract surgery rarely makes glaucoma worse but it depends on how much control is exerted over the glaucoma before the cataract surgery. Mostly cataract surgery is a good thing for glaucoma and should make the glaucoma a bit easier to control.