In case of emergency, please call triple zero (000)

Table of Contents
Table of Contents
A young woman with glasses and her hair up is holding a camera, standing on a wooden path in a park at sunset. The warm light of the setting sun highlights her profile and the surrounding trees, creating a serene atmosphere. Her thoughtful expression suggests she is searching for the perfect shot or reflecting on a recent capture


Eyesight is a vital aspect of our daily interactions and experiences. This topic delves into various parts surrounding eye health and vision care. Whether you’re facing minor eye discomfort or seeking to understand common eye conditions, the information provided here aims to guide you towards better eye health. By being informed, you can take proactive steps to protect your eyesight and seek professional care when necessary, ensuring a clear view of the world around you.


There are a few things that can impact your vision or eyesight.

Experiencing blurred vision, squinting to see more clearly, finding it hard to concentrate after reading for a long time, or having headaches are all symptoms that might indicate that you need to have your eyes checked.

If you have residue in your eyes, if your eyes are sore, itchy or painful, if you feel pain behind your eyes or have swelling on your eye lids, then you should see a doctor first.

Different symptoms need different treatments. Some symptoms can be treated by a doctor (general practitioner or GP) and with others you might need to see an ophthalmologist (specialist eye doctor) or an optometrist.

For more information on booking a doctor’s appointment, see the Visiting The Doctor page.

Where do I go for an eye check?

There are a number of specialists who may have a role in your eye care. Ophthalmologists and optometrists are the two main health professionals who look after eye care and vision.

A doctor, an orthoptist, a pharmacist or a nurse can also play an important role in supporting your eye health.

At the optometrist, you’ll typically get an eye test. Tests will check that your eyes are healthy and assess your vision at short and long distances.

An optometrist is qualified to prescribe glasses or contact lenses if you need them. If they are concerned that you have something more going on in your eyes, they might refer you to an ophthalmologist.

What is an ophthalmologist and optometrist?

You can see an optometrist for a routine vision check-up without a referral from a doctor.

Optometrists often bulk bill (this means if you are on Medicare you do not have to pay the cost), and you can find your local optometrist through the Health Direct Service Finder by selecting ‘Optometry’.

An ophthalmologist will do a comprehensive eye assessment and check your eyes for eye disease. An ophthalmologist will also help you management eye disease if you have it.

You will need to be referred to an ophthalmologist by a doctor or an optometrist. Ophthalmologists work in private practice and also public hospitals.

Frequently asked questions

Got more questions? We’ve got you covered. Here are some commonly asked queries about this topic to help you understand it better. Remember, no question is too small or too big – we’re here to help!

What symptoms indicate a need for an eye check?
Blurred vision, squinting, difficulty concentrating after reading, and headaches may indicate a need for an eye check​.
You can see an optometrist for routine vision check-ups, or an ophthalmologist for comprehensive eye assessments and eye disease management​.
They conduct eye tests to check eye health and vision, and prescribe glasses or contact lenses if needed​.
Use the Health Direct Service Finder and select ‘Optometry’ to find your local optometrist​.
If an optometrist finds a serious issue, they might refer you to an ophthalmologist for further assessment and management​.
An ophthalmologist does comprehensive eye assessments, checks for eye diseases, and helps manage them if present​.
Yes, you’ll need a referral from a doctor or an optometrist to see an ophthalmologist​.
Optometrists often bulk bill, meaning if you’re on Medicare, you might not have to pay for the eye check​.
If your eyes are sore, itchy, painful, or swollen, you should see a doctor first​.
Doctors, orthoptists, pharmacists, and nurses can play important roles in supporting your eye health​.

Need emergency assistance?

As the peak body for young people and youth services in NSW, Youth Action does not provide direct referrals to support services. If you are in distress or require urgent assistance, the following support lines are available.

If there’s immediate risk of harm to yourself or other, please call:

Lifeline: 13 11 14 (Crisis & Suicide prevention support 24/7)

Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636 (Mental health support 24/7) 

Link2Home: 1800 152 152 (For those experiencing homelessness 24/7)

Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467 (24/7)

ParentLine: 1300 1300 52 (9am to 9pm weekdays, 4pm to 9pm weekends)