Looking for a quick and easy way to get an ophthalmologist referral? Instant Consult is your go-to solution! Simply hop on a video chat with our highly qualified Australian doctors, tell them about your eye concerns, and if deemed appropriate, you’ll have your referral right after.

From visual acuity to potential eye diseases, our doctors are your first stop to getting the specialised eye care you need. It’s fast, convenient, and can be done from the comfort of your home or anywhere in Australia. No waiting rooms, no long wait times. Just a few clicks, and you’re on your way to a professional eye examination.

So don’t wait for your eye health to worsen. Book an online consultation with our general practitioners today and get that ophthalmologist referral you need right when you need it.

Why Do I Need an Ophthalmologist Referral?

While referrals are optional for certain medical specialists, it’s required if you’re planning to see an ophthalmologist. Here’s why:

  • Triage: The referring doctor can first assess your symptoms. This helps identify if your condition requires an ophthalmologist’s expertise, as some eye diseases like strabismus (squint) or refractive errors fall under an optometrist or orthoptist’s purview.
  • Tailored Care: The referring practitioner will list down your symptoms and concerns during the consultation. This gives the ophthalmologist a heads-up about your specific eye health concerns, allowing for a more comprehensive and tailored eye examination.
  • Medicare Eligibility: In Australia, a referral is necessary for Medicare rebates on ophthalmologist visits. That means, if you’ve got one, you can save a lot on your ophthalmology service fees.

Note that the referral can come from either a general practitioner (GP) or optometrist prior to or on the day of consultation.

How to Book a Consultation for Ophthalmologist Referral

Getting an ophthalmologist referral from our AHPRA-accredited doctors starts with an online consultation. At Instant Consult, booking an online consultation is a breeze. Here’s how:

  • Download the App or Visit the Website: First, grab your phone and download our app on PlayStore or App Store. If you’re on your PC, you can also log on to instantconsult.com.au.
  • Create an Account: If you’re new, you’ll need to set up an account. It’s super easy – just some basic details, and you’re in.
  • Request a Consultation: Hit the “Request a Consult” button and follow the prompts. An Australian registered doctor will connect with you in 15 minutes or less – no long waits here!
  • Chat with your Doctor: When you’re connected, explain your eye concerns or symptoms. Be as detailed as you can so they understand what’s going on.
  • Get Your Referral: If your doctor thinks you need to see an ophthalmologist, they’ll give you a referral right then and there. Your referral form will be sent to your Instant Consult inbox immediately after the consultation. Use it to schedule an appointment with the recommended ophthalmologist.

Optometrist vs. Ophthalmologist

For some people, optometry and ophthalmology are the same. They’re both eye health professionals. But optometrists and ophthalmologists actually do different things. This is one of the main reasons why you need to see a GP before seeing an eye doctor. They can help you determine if you need to see an optometrist or require an ophthalmologist referral.

Optometrists are essentially your primary eye clinicians. They can conduct comprehensive eye examinations, prescribe contact lenses, and manage various optometry needs. That’s why you don’t need a referral to see an optometrist, especially for routine eye exams. They can also be the first point of contact if you are experiencing:

  • a sudden onset of visual disturbances
  • dry eye
  • conditions affecting your visual field like myopia or hyperopia
  • paediatric eye diseases

Ophthalmologists, on the other hand, are eye specialists and surgeons. They handle complex cases requiring surgical intervention, like cataract surgery, and manage diseases affecting the retina, cornea, and optic nerve. You’ll most likely be referred to an ophthalmologist if you’re showing signs of serious eye diseases like:

  • proliferative diabetic retinopathy
  • ophthalmic nerve damage
  • vitreous haemorrhage
  • ptosis
  • cellulitis
  • severe corneal diseases

In short, optometrists are great for general eye health and routine care, while ophthalmologists handle more serious, often surgical, ocular concerns.

Instant access to chat with a doctor with a comprehensive range of services

With Instant Consult, you can chat with a doctor and get help for a wide range of medical requests, all from the comfort of your home!


Medical Certificates

Are you too ill to come into work and need to give your boss a medical certificate? With Instant Consult you can chat with a doctor and get a medical certificate sent directly to your app’s inbox, all without getting out of bed!



If you need a new prescription or need to update an ongoing one then you can use our app to instantly chat to a doctor who can prepare your prescription promptly!



If you have a medical condition that needs treatment from a specialist, one of our GP’s can send a digital referral straight to your app’s inbox.


Pathology Requests

If you need a blood cell count or to check for STDs/STIs or need any other kind of bloodwork you can easily get a pathology request sent to your inbox by any of our fully licensed online GPs. You can then take the request to the clinic of your choice.


Radiology Requests

If you require any special kind of diagnostic imaging such as a CAT scan or an MRI you can get a request from one of our online GPs which you can then take to your preferred provider.

Conditions Commonly Referred to Ophthalmologists

As mentioned, ophthalmologists are for severe and complicated eye issues. The most common conditions that could warrant an ophthalmologist referral include:

  • Angle Closure Glaucoma: This is a severe type of glaucoma characterised by high intraocular pressure (IOP), which may lead to vision loss. In most cases, you will need laser treatments and surgeries which can only be performed by ophthalmologists.
  • Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD): Common in older adults, AMD affects the retina and can deteriorate central vision. An ophthalmologist can treat both dry and wet AMD to slow vision loss.
  • Peripheral Nerve Palsy: This affects the nerves controlling eye muscles, leading to issues like double vision (diplopia) or drooping eyelids. Treatments may include surgery, which requires an ophthalmologist’s expertise.
  • Retinal Vein Occlusion: This is a blockage in the veins of the retina. Interventions may include laser therapy or injections to reduce swelling and improve vision.
  • Uveitis: This is inflammation inside your eye, specifically in the uvea. It can cause red eyes, pain, light sensitivity (photophobia), and blurred vision. Ophthalmologists are crucial for managing uveitis, as they can prescribe steroid treatments and monitor for complications.
  • Pterygium: A benign growth on the eye’s surface, pterygium can sometimes grow over the cornea and affect vision. Ophthalmologists can surgically remove the growth if it becomes problematic.
  • Eye Floaters: While eye floaters may not seem urgent, they can be signs of retinal tear, especially if accompanied by flashes of light. Ophthalmologists are crucial in such cases. They can determine if the floaters are a sign of something more serious and provide necessary surgical intervention.

Disclaimer: Eye issues requiring medical attention should be brought directly to the emergency department. While our doctors are fully qualified, telehealth consultations have their limits. If you’re experiencing a sudden loss of vision, significant eye injuries like retinal detachment, or have foreign bodies stuck in your eye, you should head straight to the nearest emergency or outpatient services department.

How Long Does an Ophthalmologist Referral Last?

Ophthalmologist referrals issued by Instant Consult doctors typically last up to 12 months unless otherwise noted. This means you’ve got a year to book that eye appointment. If you need more time or if your eye situation changes, our doctors can also provide a new referral, a repeat one, or a change of specialist referrals.

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Get Your Eye Health on Track with Instant Ophthalmologist Referrals

Ready for hassle-free ophthalmologist referrals? Book an online consultation with Instant Consult today! Not only will you receive convenient specialist referrals, but you can also access a range of other health services.

Get expert general medical advice, secure online prescriptions, and even medical certificates like sick leave and carer certificates, all from the comfort of your home. Need an X-ray or blood test? We’ve got that covered, too!

Don’t let busy schedules or distance stand in the way of your health. Take charge of your health journey with Instant Consult – your one-stop online healthcare solution!