Why should I have an eye test?
Regular eye tests can detect and diagnose eye problems in the early stages, such as:
The earlier these problems are diagnosed, the sooner you can get treated. This will improve your vision outcomes.
Eye tests can also help identify if you have trouble seeing at different distances. You optometrist can give you glasses or contact lenses to improve your vision.
You should see a doctor or organise an eye test if you notice any:
symptoms with your eyes
changes to your vision
People aged 40 years and over should have an eye test every 2 – 3 years. However, you should have a test more regularly if you have risk factors such as:
a family history of eye disease
high blood pressure
age over 65
Where can I have my eyes tested?
You can get your eyes tested by an optometrist. Your doctor can also check your eyes and your vision. If they think you may have a vision problem or eye disease, they may:
suggest you see an optometrist
give you a referral to an ophthalmologist (specialist eye doctor)
How much will I pay for an eye test?
Medicare subsidises eye tests given 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 your optometrist bulk bills, Medicare will pay for:
one eye test every 3 years, if you are under 65 years
one eye test a year, if you are over 65 years
If the optometrist doesn’t bulk bill, you will be able to claim some of your costs by submitting a claim to Medicare.
Medicare doesn’t cover the cost of glasses or contact lenses.
If you have private health insurance you may be able to claim for glasses or contact lenses. This will depend on your insurer and your level of cover.
What happens during an eye test?
During an eye test, the optometrist will:
ask you about your general health
ask you about your family medical history
run eye tests to check your eyes
The optometrist may tell you that you need glasses or contact lenses. If so, they will give you a prescription. You can use this to arrange glasses or contact lenses separately, after your appointment.