Regular eye tests with an optometrist can help make sure your eyes are in good health. They can pick up problems with your eyes before you notice anything. You don’t need a doctor’s referral to see an optometrist for eye tests.
Why have an eye test?
If you notice any symptoms with your eyes or any changes to your vision, you should see a doctor or organise an eye test. Regular eye tests can detect and diagnose eye problems in the early stages.
Where can I have my eyes tested?
You can get your eyes tested by an optometrist. Your GP can also check your eyes and vision and may suggest you see an optometrist or give you a referral to an ophthalmologist if they are concerned you may have a vision problem or an eye disease.
How much do eye tests cost?
Medicare subsidises eye tests provided by optometrists for all Australian permanent residents. If the optometrist bills the government directly on your behalf, you won't have to pay anything. This is known as bulk billing.
If the optometrist doesn't bulk bill, you will be able to claim Medicare benefits by submitting a claim to Medicare.
Medicare doesn't cover the cost of glasses or contact lenses.
Some private health insurers will accept some claims for optometrist visits. This will depend on your insurer and your level of cover.
What are the different types of eye tests?
There are lots of different kinds of eye tests, and not everyone will need each kind. It will depend on your health and your risks for certain eye conditions. The tests might include:
- checking your ability to see details at a distance and up close
- testing your peripheral and colour vision
- checking the muscles around your eyes to make sure they are working together
- looking at the outside and inside of your eyes for any problems
For some tests, you will have eye drops to help the optometrist see better. Drops might make your eyes sensitive to light or a bit blurry for up to 6 hours afterwards.
If the optometrist says you need glasses or contact lenses, you can arrange that separately.
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Last reviewed: April 2020