Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What can I expect as a new patient?

On the day of your appointment, you will need to bring your letter of referral with you, or if your referring practitioner is sending it to us directly, please ensure that we have received it prior to coming in for your appointment.

When you arrive to our practice one of the friendly reception staff will get some basic information from you to create a file. Following this you will then be seen by an Orthoptist who will conduct the initial examination and complete any necessary pre-testing before you see the ophthalmologist. The Orthoptist may need to put some dilating drops in, which need time to work before you can see the ophthalmologist.

The ophthalmologist will then see you and conduct their examination. Depending on their findings they may or may not request more tests to be done by the Orthoptist in which case you will have those done before seeing the ophthalmologist again.

What do I need to bring to my appointment?

To ensure we have all the necessary information it is important to bring along:

  • A valid referral (from a GP, optometrist or other specialist)
  • Medicare card
  • Private health fund card
  • Any government issued health benefit cards: e.g. Pensioner card, Health care card
  • Department of Veterans affair card (if applicable)
  • Current prescription glasses
  • A list of your current medications

If you are having dilating drops in, it is often helpful to bring along a pair of dark sunglasses to minimise the glare. Also with dilation we recommend that patients do not drive for a period of time after the appointment so if you are unable to wait for them to wear off we recommend that you bring someone who can drive you to/from the appointment.

Why do I need a referral?

If you do not have your letter of referral with you on the day, you will receive a lesser rebate from Medicare.

Who can refer me?

You can be referred by your general practitioner (GP), your optometrist or another specialist. A referral from your GP or optometrist will be valid for 12 months. A referral from another specialist will be valid for 3 months only.

Will I receive a rebate from Medicare?

You will receive a rebate from Medicare for your consultation fee. Medicare will also rebate most treatments received in our rooms, as well as any surgical operations. However, there are a few diagnostic tests that reimbursement has not yet been established for- e.g. the Heidelberg OCT test. Prior to having these tests we will inform you of the cost.

Why can my appointment take such a long time?

Every patient at our practice is seen as an individual and the care provided needs to be specific. According to appointment booking time you will be seen in order by the Orthoptist who will conduct the initial examination. Depending on your eye condition we will then need to perform a number of tests and investigations, some of which may be urgent. Each test performed is different, where some can take up to 45 minutes to be performed. In addition, sometimes you will need to have eye drops instilled, which take a period of time to have their effect.

Unfortunately, eye examinations can be unpredictable and the factors described above can slow down or speed up the flow of our practice. However, every effort is made by our staff to customise our bookings so that we can see patients as quickly as possible on the day.

What is an Orthoptist and what do they do?

Orthoptics is an allied health profession concerned with disorders or vision and eye movements. Orthoptists are university trained clinicians who diagnose and provide non surgical management of disorders or eye movements and associated vision defects. Non surgical management includes muscle exercise regimes, use of prisms and lenses, and occlusion therapy. The aim of orthoptic treatment is to relieve symptoms and enhance vision performance.

Orthoptists also perform highly specialised tests of vision function to assist in diagnosis and management of eye disease, such as glaucoma, and eye diseases associated with general diseases including Diabetes. Orthoptic assessment of vision can also assist in the diagnosis of neurological diseases such as Myaesthenia Gravis.

What do dilating drops do and why do I need to have them?

Dilating drops are used to enlarge your pupil so that the Ophthalmologist can get a much wider and better view of your retina (the back of your eye). Since the pupil becomes larger more light enters the eye and as a result patients may experience a sensitivity to light/glare whilst they are working. It also becomes difficult to focus and vision becomes blurred, especially with reading. These effects of the drops can last for several hours and as a result, we recommend that you do not drive after having dilating drops.

Will I be able to drive after my appointment?

On the day of your appointment we suggest that you do not drive to the rooms if you are having dilating drops or a surgical procedure. It is advisable to have someone drive you in or to take public transport, as if you are being dilated it will be difficult to see clearly for approximately two hours. If you are returning to work, you may not be able to read fine print whilst the drops wear off. We also advise you to bring a pair of sunglasses as the suns glare may bother you.

What is the waiting time for cataract surgery?

If you are having cataract surgery in our private theatres our usual waiting period is less than 1 month. If you are a public patient, the waiting lists at each public hospital varies however, an approximate estimation is 18-24 months.

Should I use my prescription drops on the day of my appointment?

If you have been prescribed drops by your Ophthalmologist you should continue to use them, including on the day of your appointment.

Do you see children?

Yes, at both our Ballina and Robina rooms we see patients of all ages and we offer comprehensive paediatric services. Please contact our rooms to organise an appointment.

How do I get to myeyespecialist?

Robina: Our rooms are located within the Robina Town Centre Shopping Complex. Our address is:

Shop 4110, Robina Town Centre, Robina Town Centre Drive, Robina QLD 4230.

If you are driving, it is best to park in the outdoor carpark adjacent to the Fresh Food Market (Woolworths and Coles end). From here, you can enter the shopping complex and walk straight down all the way towards the centre management desk (pass Woolworths & Coles, all the way to the end). At the desk you will see the “General Pants Store” and “YD”. To the right of the “YD” store there is a corridor- walk down this and you will find our rooms on the left.

If you are using public transport:

By train: Queensland rail Robina station is located approximately 800 metres from Robina Town Centre. Surfside buses offer bus transit from Robina Station to Robina Town Centre via bus route 765. For further information on train timetables contact Queensland rail by phonig 13 12 30 or go to www.translink.com.au

By bus: Robina town centre is serviced by Surfside Bus Lines routes 748, 750, 751, 752, 755, 756 and 765. The Robina town centre bus stop is located at the end of Arbour Lane near Australia Post. Further details are available by phoning or 13 12 30 or www.surfside.com.au. If you enter the complex from here walk straight down past Target, Myer and the centre management desk until you see the “YD” store on your left. Next to the “YD” store there is a corridor- walk down this and you will find our rooms on the left.

Ballina: Our rooms are located within the Ballina Day Surgery. There is ample parking available on site. Our address is:

46 Tamar St, Ballina, NSW 2478

Driving from Queensland: Take the Pacific M1 Motorway, following signs towards Ballina. Take a left exit onto Tamarind Drive Ballina and continue straight onto Bangalow Rd, then veer right onto Cherry St (going pass Ballina District Hospital and Ballina High school) before turning left onto Tamar St.

Driving within Ballina: We are located off Cherry St, just down from Ballina High school. Turn left onto Tamar St and we are on the left in a large free-standing Tuscan style building.

By Taxi: Ballina Taxis provide services within the Ballina Shire region. Contact them on 02 6686 9999 or visit www.ballinataxis.com

By Bus: Ballina buslines provide services within the Ballina Shire. Route 668 services West Ballina and the Ballina Distract Hospital, with a stop on Tamar St. For more information please contact Ballina Buslines on 02 6686 3666 or visit www.ballinabuslines.com.au