What Does an Ophthalmologist Do?

By HealthEngine

Last updated: 18 January 2018

What is an ophthalmologist?

An ophthalmologist is a doctor who specialises in the diagnosis and management of diseases affecting the eye.

What do ophthalmologists treat?

Any problem with vision or the eye, including:

  • Eye trauma or injury
  • Infection or inflammation of any part of the eye
  • Corneal diseases – diseases affecting the transparent, clear surface of the eye.
  • Lens problems – especially cataracts which are opacifications that occur in the lens of the eye distorting vision.
  • Retinal diseases – diseases affecting the back of the eye.
  • Glaucoma – increased pressure in the eye
  • Diabetic eye problems
  • Eye tumours
  • Squints and amblyopia
  • Short and long sightedness

What to expect at your first appointment


An ophthalmologist will take a focussed history asking questions about your eye problem, how it developed and how it affects you.


The ophthalmologist will examine your eye thoroughly.

This generally begins by checking your visual acuity – how well you can read letters off a chart at a distance of 6 metres.

They may then use a slit lamp to examine the front of your eye – the cornea, anterior chamber and then lens before looking into the back of your eye to examine the blood vessels and retina there.

You are likely to require drops that dilate the pupil (make it bigger). These may make things seem a bit bright and blurry but it usually settles fairly soon.

Ophthalmological examination may also include a number of other parts to the examination that are tailored to the individual presentation.

Specialty areas of interest

  • Diabetic eye problems
  • Cataracts
  • Laser surgery
  • Paediatric ophthalmology

Associated tests

  • Ophthalmoscopy
  • Slit lamp examination
  • Fluorescein angiography
  • CT scan and MRI
  • Ultrasound of the eye


  • Laser surgery – corneal and retinal
  • Cataract surgery
  • Medications – usually eye drops.

Training and qualifications



A: Use HealthEngine to find and book your next Optometrist appointment. Click on the following locations to find a Optometrist clinic in your state or territory.


This article is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. If in doubt, HealthEngine recommends consulting with a registered health practitioner.

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