Freqent Asked Questions

(Please click on the links at the bottom of each answer for further information)

1. What are the differences between bulk-bill and private bill optometric examination?


The service differences are similar to public and private eye or other medical clinical services. You need to experience both the services and the outcomes, such as after using the optical appliances or treatments for a period of time, before you can appreciate the differences. The differences based on the information from our patients who have been to other optometrists are summarized as below.

 

 

 

2. Why do different optometrists or practices charge different fees and/or gaps for my case?

The reasons are:

i. No practices are exactly the same.

  • Different practices have different overheads due to different locations, size, levels of equipment and technology, levels of services, experience and expertise of optometrists and staff.

  • Specialty optometric practices are usually equipped with advance equipment and technology for the advanced specialties.

  • Experienced and specialty optometrists and practices have higher overheads. Therefore, their fees and charges are higher to cover their higher costs.

ii. Every optometrist is different.

  • Different optometrists have different knowledge, skill, experience, specialties and management options to offer.

  • Same as other professionals, experienced optometrists have higher remuneration than inexperienced graduate because they can help patients to avoid costly mistakes and have better outcomes.

  • Specialty optometrists need to spend extra time and expenses on acquiring and updating advanced knowledge and skills by attending courses, workshops and conferences, and also paying membership fees to additional professional associations and societies. Due to these factors, most optometrists are general optometrists who do not specialise; they work for chain stores which advertise bulk-billing consultations only.

  • Like other fields of medical science, optometry knowledge and specialties are evolving rapidly. General optometrists do not have in-depth and the latest information of specialities and might not even know what the specialties can offer to their patients. Therefore, they often don' t refer patients to specialty optometrists for the best professional diagnosis, management and outcome.

iii. No consultations are exactly the same.

  • Same case with different histories, information, wordings, presentation, concern, severity, questions from the patient and/or companion(s) will require different testing, equipment, explanations, management options, advice and duration of consultations.

  • In optometric practice, many different tests require patient to fixate at a target inside an equipment for a few minutes. Therefore, patients might feel that they are the same tests if they do not know the details of the test, such as its purpose, the quality of the equipment and the result. Most importantly, it is the expertise and experience of the optometrist involved to conduct the test, analyze the results and provide recommendations for the best management and outcome.

  • Eye testing and examinations might look like the same to patients, however, the main differences are the content of management plan, advice and outcome, which is the most critical part.

  • Consultations for second opinion have longer case history, require more thorough examination, testing and explanations.

  • In general, consultation fees are time, equipment and expertise based. 

iv. Medicare benefits could be different.

  • Medicare Benefits Schedule for optometry services have different items with different conditions and restrictions. 

  • For example, second comprehensive initial consultation, within 36 months for a patient who is less than 65 years of age and once every 12 months for a patient who is at least 65 years of age, of a previous comprehensive consultation (item 10907). Medicare benefit is only about $29.00 currently, which is only about half of the benefit of the first comprehensive initial consultation, and that is about $59 currently.

  • The full Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) listing of updated fees can be found at MBS Online. (http://www9.health.gov.au/mbs/search.cfmq=optometry+schedule+fee&Submit=&sopt=S)

v. Health fund benefits could be different.

  • In general, most health fund do not pay any benefits for optometric consultations.

  • Some high level of cover might rebate on some testing, such as Package Bonus of Medibank Private and AHM might pay benefits on some digital retinal scans. Some overseas medical covers might rebate on some consultations. 

  • Different health funds have different rules and conditions. You need to check and submit the claim for the rebate after paying the consultation in full.

In summary, more complex cases or patients with more concerns require longer consultations for testing with more equipment and specialty expertise, and also more explanations due to more management options. It is a unchanging truth that higher costs incur higher fees. In reality, cheap but high quality products and services simply do not exist!

 

We often see patients purely focus on the fees rather than the outcomes; and they miss out the best management options and outcomes for themselves and their families. Usually they have been seeing general optometrists who do not offer specialty services because either they don't know or can't offer them. They think or were told that all optometrists are the same and provide the same levels of services. For example, a layman who has heard $2 burger sold in fast food shop would think $20 burger sold by a cafe is over-priced before he actually see and taste the big and tasty gourmet burger from the cafe. Similarly, we all need to try and experience the outcomes personally before we can actually tell or appreciate the differences of different quality services.

3. Why do some optometrists charge higher fees?  Does Medicare allow this?

In general, optometrists and other healthcare practitioners who charge higher fees are those who know basic services are insufficient to provide good outcomes to all patients. They invest their precious time and money for further study and training, purchasing more equipment which require extra space and expenses in order to provide professional and specialty services which otherwise become unavailable. They are the practitioners who are interested to solve problems satisfactorily, willing to spend more time to deal with all levels of complexity, practice the real optometry, prevent the extinction of the valuable skills and knowledge and maintain the high standard of the profession. They deserve the respect and support from the public rather than misunderstanding. It is understandable that some cases might not be able to afford to pay the higher fees for good services. In fact, management plan can be discussed and tailored made according to individual requirements and budget. High standard professional services incur higher costs which cannot be covered by low fees, and this is not sustainable and possible. Be polite, respect, honest, open and reasonable to the people around you, including your local optometrist and other service providers, this can help you to develop and maintain good relationship in the community. Otherwise, you might need to spend more time and petrol for travelling further away to seek for providers who provide the impossible services below costs without cutting corners. Furthermore, the healthcare provider offended might be the only person can help you for conditions developed in the future, such as emergency conditions or conditions required specialty services. In fact, patients should look for practitioners are who are interested in their cases, have abilities to solve their problems satisfactorily and be happy to pay them for their professional services and expertise. In contrast, low fees lead to insufficient time and resources, and poor professional outcomes which you might not even able to be aware due to lack of experience and no comparison.

Please also read the Patient Feedback section by clicking this link: Terms & Conditions | gloryeyecare

Changes set to see optometrist fee rise | The Examiner | Launceston, TAS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Why doesn't Medicare fully cover my eye test and pay for all types of optometric examinations?

Basically, our government and Medicare make this policy and they are the best organisations to answer this question. In fact, no optometrist can provide you the exact answer. Optometrists just follow their rules and regulations.

Some information can be found on webpages as below: 

What's covered by Medicare - Screening, tests and scans - Services Australia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

5. How much are the glasses and contact lenses? 

For prescription glasses and contact lenses, we need your latest written prescription and all your requirements before we can tell the costs and prices. Different frames, lenses and contact lenses have different prices and they can vary a lot. Nowadays, there are many different qualities and features of products. Therefore, it is nearly impossible to quote without confirming the exactly products.

We do not produce any products and we are like a middle person to help you choose the products which suit your requirements and budget, and to avoid problems from poor quality cheap products. We can order all grades of products, from budget ones with the lowest prices to those with the best quality. In order to provide you a close estimate quote, we need you to come in personally either with your latest written prescription or have an eye examination done by our optometrist. We don't provide any quotes over the phone because we feel that it is no point to provide you starting prices. Most importantly, we will try our best to find products which suit your requirements and budget.

We often have problems contacting people due to different reasons. Please come in or call us if you don't receive our responses.

6. Why do spectacles cost so much? 

This is the similar question as why we have to pay over $1000 per year for water usage. Isn't water is free from sky? It is because there are a lot of costs involved even the natural resource itself is free, such as the costs involved in Water Corporation for collecting, storing, testing, managing and supplying the free resources. Many people do not understand the costs of running business and companies are substantial.

The frame price includes:

  • purchasing costs, such as frame cost, freight, GST and transaction costs; and

  • labour costs for sourcing, handling, inspecting, labelling, cleaning and maintenance; and

  • professional service costs for frame recommendation, selection, ordering, freight to lens supplier, fitting and ongoing adjustments; and

  • other costs such as spectacle case, accounting, business, management, insurance for covering loss or damage during transit and handling and warranty.

The lens price includes: 

  • purchasing costs, such as lens cost, fitting, freight, GST and transaction costs; and

  • professional service costs for lens recommendation, selection, measurement, calculation, sourcing, ordering, freight, inspection and power verification, and fitting; and

  • labour costs for cleaning and returning to supplier for fault if any; and

  • other costs such as lens cloth, and those similar costs included in the frame price.

In addition, Medicare consultation benefits are not sufficient to cover the actual costs of eye examination. Revenues from spectacles are required to subsidize the costs of the consultation.

7. Why should I get my glasses from Glory Eyecare Optometrists?

Our exceptional thorough eye examination and dispensing expertise helped us fully understand your visual needs and requirements, recommend you the right frame, lens type and features, measure, calculate, order, adjust the spectacles and provide instructions on collection. All these are very important and needed to be done professionally and precisely in order to achieve the best possible vision and comfort; and avoid costly mistakes from cheap but low quality products and basic or inadequate services.

If the eye examination and prescription are done by us, ongoing guidance, instructions, support and prescription warranty for adaptation issues can be provided for achieving the best and smooth outcome. Confusion and costly mistakes can be avoided from getting your glasses from another company. 

We have very wide range of products, from the lowest budget to highest elite range, to suit individual requirements and reasonable budget. We pride ourselves on our range of frames, about 2,000 in store and 20,000 from suppliers , our access to every available lens and treatments in Australia and the world. We also provide 12 or 24 month manufacturer warranty on our frames and lenses.

8. Why do color or cosmetic contact lenses without power need a prescription to purchase? 

 

According to the government, all contact lenses are medical devices whether they have prescription or non-prescription, including all cosmetic and novelty contact lenses without power. Information can be found on https://www.productsafety.gov.au/products/health-lifestyle/cosmetics/cosmetic-novelty-contact-lenses. It is because they contact with eyes and corneas and have risks of causing severe corneal ulcer and permanent blindness within a few days if they are neither fitted professionally nor handled and used correctly. Further information can be found on https://webeye.ophth.uiowa.edu/eyeforum/cases/171-pseudomonas-keratitis.htm. Therefore, a valid contact lens prescription which specify the exact contact lenses must be required because almost all contact lenses have different lens design and fitting. However, similar to all other medical devices, they are very safe to use if professional advice and instructions are followed.

Some merchants might not be aware that selling contact lenses without power, without a valid prescription is illegal and heavy penalty will be incurred.

9. Why can't I use my spectacle prescription to buy contact lenses or vice versa?

Contact lens prescription and spectacle prescription are two different prescriptions because of the way they correct vision. Contact lenses are in contact with eyes whereas spectacles are further away, therefore, the powers are different. In addition, the contact lens prescription also include details about the shape, dimensions and material of the lenses that accurately fit your eyes to ensure visual and physical comfort and to avoid potential eye health conditions.

10. Should I buy contact lenses online?

Online retailers offer discounts on bulk orders and the convenience of ordering from home. It might not advisable to buy contact lens online because studies have shown incidences of contact-lens related corneal infections is higher in people who order contact lenses online. The information can be found on: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/cxo.13082. Regular checkups are important to ensure the best vision for comfort, efficiency and safety, and also to ensure that your eye health is good without any signs of silent diseases which can potentially cause serious consequence such as permanently lay-off of contact lenses and even permanent visual impairment. Visual impairment or blindness can have a huge negative impact on your income, medical expenses, mobility, independence, lifestyle and future. More and more jobs and professionals require good vision and eye health as pre-requisites, such as policemen, armies, drivers, pilot, electricians, etc. In addition, we order our contact lenses from our suppliers in Australia; while the source and handling of the contact lenses from online retailers are usually unknown. Our Australian suppliers are responsible for any issues and provide warranties; while online retailers are mostly not able to provide such services and warranty. For some contact lenses, we might be able to match or closely match the online prices. For convenience, orders can be placed via emailing or ringing us, credit card payments can be accepted over the phone and delivery can be arranged. Nevertheless, it is wise not to risk your precious irreplaceable eyes and vision for any reasons.

If you order from a foreign business, please also read the answer of "Should I support local or foreign business?" below for understanding the economic impact of your decision.

11. Should I buy spectacles online?

Buying spectacles online may be save you some money, but how about quality, style, fit, warranties and after-sale services?

Here are some problems of buying glasses online, some of the information can be found on: https://www.webmd.com/eye-health/ordering-glasses-online.

  1. You don't get to try the glasses on or have professional(s) help you in person.

  2. It is hard to measure your own pupil distance and impossible to measure your own monocular pupil distance accurately, which you need to order your glasses. Some experts says it's like trying to cut your own hair.

  3. A large study found about half the online glasses had the wrong prescription or other problems. Most of the online glasses are manufactured in developing countries where they don't need to follow Australian Standards or any other professional standards.

  4. An incorrect prescription may give you blurred vision, tired and sour eyes, regular headaches and other problems.

  5. Many lenses, especially with progressive, bifocal, extended focus, anti-fatique, aspheric and high power lenses, require other fitting measurements that need to be exact and measured in person when you try on the frames.

  6. Most websites do not take health insurance.

  7. Product quality is a common problem. We have seen online glasses became defective or broken with a couple of months with normal handling. The online retailer said that they only provided 30-day warranty. In contrast, the manufacturing warranty for our quality frame and lenses is between 12 to 24 months. In addition, for extra peace for mind, we provide prescription warranty for 3 months if the eye test is done by our optometrist.

  8. It is usually difficult to return the glasses or get a refund.

  9. The online glasses usually take long time to arrive because they are usually manufactured in the developing countries with poor logistic and infrastructure in order to minimize the costs. They might take weeks or months to arrive due to multiple custom clearance and delay.

  10. No fitting and after-sale services can be provided due to their remote and cost cutting nature. Therefore, you need to pay additional fees for the services provided by your local service providers. Cheap low quality products require more frequent after-sale services. Therefore, you might end up having frequent problems and paying more as a whole.

Initially, it might look cheaper to buy spectacles online; however, it might end up causing you more hassles, frustration, time and money eventually!

If you order from a foreign business, please also read the answer of "Should I support local or foreign business?" below for understanding the economic impact of your decision.

12. Should I buy spectacles overseas?

Buying spectacles overseas may be save you some money, but how about warranties and after-sale services?

  1. In some countries, there might be no professional guidelines or standards to govern the services and products. The retailers, product suppliers and lens laboratories might provide you sub-standard services and products. That might be the reasons why they can provide you lower prices.

  2. We often see patients complain about their spectacles from overseas.

  3. An incorrect prescription may give you blurred vision, tired and sour eyes, regular headaches and other problems.

  4. Most health funds do not reimburse any benefits for spectacles bought overseas.

  5. Product quality could be a problem.

  6. It is usually difficult to return the glasses or get a refund.

  7. No after-sale services can be provided. Therefore, you need to pay additional fees for the services provided by your local service providers. Cheap low quality products require more frequent after-sale services. Therefore, you might end up having frequent problems and paying more as a whole.

At first, it might appear more economical to buy spectacles overseas, but it might cause you more troubles, resentments and money in the end!

Please also read the answer of "Should I support local or foreign business?" below for understanding the economic impact of your decision.

13. Should I go to a locally owned independent optometrist, or national, multinational or foreign business like chain stores or online businesses?

Choosing local independent professional optometrists has tremendous professional and economic benefits to you and your community development.

Professional benefits:

1. Patient Care and Professional Outcomes - Most independent optometrists are locally Australian owned by the optometrists who operate them. Therefore, they have professional freedom to provide their patients clinical excellence, continuity of care, personalised service and quality products in order to ensure patient care and professional outcomes always comes first.

2. Increased Expertise - Local independent optometrists  can provide an expert opinion about the products that you’re purchasing because they have to be experts in their field to compete.

3. Product Knowledge - Local independent optometrists are well informed about their products and know what they are selling. Because they know their patients, they can easily adjust their inventories to include the goods and services local people want to buy”.

4. Diverse Products - Local independent practices carry inventory you might not find at national chain stores. Local practice operators choose products based on what their clients want and often carry unique items from local suppliers.

5. Cost Effective - Sometimes prices at local businesses are better because they don’t have the overhead that larger stores may have and they may be more willing to find products to meet your budget.

6. Personal Connection - Getting to know the practice owners is a great reason to go local. It’s their business, they are the decision-makers and they build a personal relationship with their clients.

7. Better Service - Local practice owners do what they can because they are passionate about their products and typically take more time to get to know their clients. They often go the extra mile to help you and to ensure you’re satisfied.

Economic benefits:

1. Increase Community’s Wealth

  • Less Fund “Leakage” - Local businesses tend to buy and sell with other local businesses, keeping money moving in our local economy. With national or multi-national firms, a percentage of that profit ‘leaks’ out of the community, the state or even the nation. Only 14% of money spent at chain retailers stays in the local economy, compared to 48% of money spent at local independent businesses. Money spent at local businesses stays in the local economy, while 86% of money spent at chain retailers leaves the community. Therefore, shopping locally benefits more than just store, as that money is reinvested back into the community, enriching other businesses and consumers alike.

  • Local Investment - Local businesses are less susceptible to national downturns and more likely to work harder to stay open. Local ownership means that important decisions are made by people who live in our community and feel the impact of those decisions. They tend to do their best for their communities.

  • Improve Local Economic Potential - Money spent locally recirculates and more money stays in the community. The cycle of creating and spending wealth locally creates a strong local economy. Every additional dollar that circulates locally boosts local economic activity and ultimately, tax revenue. Shopping at chain retailers or online marketplaces like Amazon actually detracts from the economic potential provided by local businesses. For money spent at a locally-owned business, 1.6x more capital stays in the local community than when spent at a chain business, and 6x more capital stays in the community than went spent at an online marketplace such as Amazon.

  • Support Future Growth - Experts agree shopping locally is the best way to show pride in your city and help protect the businesses that make our city unique. The more interesting and unique you community, the more we will attract new neighbours, visitors and guests. This benefits everyone!

 

2. Improve Quality of Life

  • Reduce Environmental Impact - Residents of neighbourhoods with more local businesses log 26 percent less automobile kilometres. Locally owned businesses make more local purchases, requiring less fuel for transportation, which generally means less sprawl,  congestion, habitat loss, and pollution.

  • Conserve tax money - Shopping in a local business district means less infrastructure and less maintenance required, and more money available to beautify your community. It’s important to note that Amazon Marketplace sales, which account for over half of Amazon retail sales, are not required to collect sales tax. In 2018, this led to an estimated $5.5-7.0 billion in uncollected sales tax, which could have reinvested to benefit local economies.

  • Improve Community Infrastructure - Local businesses contribute significantly to the local tax revenue which funds local community and pays for roads, schools, police, fire protection and other vital services

  • Create Community and Build Relationship - We are a transitory society so people don’t always have a connection with the communities where they live. I would encourage people new to an area to ask the locals where they shop.

  • Support for Non-profits - Local businesses support good work in our community. Local business owners and their employees contribute financially and volunteer their time to support local non-profit and community organizations and charities that serve and help local people, which directly impacts the quality of life for the broader community. Studies show that non-profits receive 250% more support from small businesses than large ones.

  • Strength Whole Community - Improvement of local economy, personal finance, community infrastructure and quality of life of local people will strengthen the whole community. 

 

3. Improve Personal Income & Wealth

  • Create More Good & Sustainable Local Jobs - When money is spent locally, business productivity rises creating a stronger business climate and bringing more employment opportunities. Local business owners often sell local products, which helps preserve the community’s distinction and create more jobs. These also help create higher-paying jobs for your neighbours, such as teachers, firemen, police officers, and many other essential professions. Studies show small businesses accounted for 64% of the net new jobs created. In contrast, Amazon transactions in 2018 resulted in the displacement of 900,000 retail jobs, showing the economic impact of buying locally in strengthening employment levels and creating more future jobs in the community.

  • Opportunities For Entrepreneurship - Nurturing local business provides opportunities for creativity and entrepreneurship for economic growth.

  • Increase Wealth - More job and business opportunities most likely improve income and finance for you and your family. Better infrastructure, more community services, and healthy and happy community will increase the demand of houses in your suburb, therefore, the value of the your house will rise. As a result, your finance and wealth increase for better life and retirement.

In contrast, not spending your money locally will have the opposite effects and consequence which reduce the income, well being, quality of life, wealth and happiness of yourself, your family and community. In summary, supporting your locally-owned small businesses has huge positive impact in building your community and your family. Therefore, "Think Big, Shop Small".

 

More information can be found on the webpages as below:

Top 10 Reasons to Support Locally Owned Businesses – Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ilsr.org)

15 Reasons to Shop Locally - MetroFamily Magazine

How Corporations Have a Negative Impact on The Society (paypervids.com)

Multinational Corporations: Good or Bad? - Economics Help

Importance of Buying Local for a Faster Economic Recovery (entrypointmi.com)

Why Buy Local? | Sustainable Connections

Key Studies: Why Independent Matters – Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ilsr.org)

Locally Owned vs. Chain: The Local Premium – Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ilsr.org)

FourOneOne - What exactly do small businesses do for the economy? (consumersadvocate.org)

What Happens When You Shop Local - Independent We Stand | Independent We Stand

 

14. What is covered by Manufacturer's Warranty?

Manufacturer's warranty covers manufacturing defects only but not any wear and tear, mistreatment, consumable parts and breakage.

What Is Covered

Not caused by any mistreatment:

  • Frame Defects: Oxidation or discoloration; dislodged jewels, logos, trims, screws, nose pads, temple tips or parts.

  • Lens Defects: Peeling coatings.

What Is Not Covered

  • Superficial damage (such as paint and coating) and scratches.

  • Exposure to excessive heat or cold.

  • Prolonged exposure to water.

  • Exposure to chemical, including suntan cream, oils, salts, excessive sweat, hair treatments, super glue.

  • Rough handling, mistreated, stepped on, run over, in a crash.

  • Improper cleaning.

  • Tampered by you or other people.

  • Wear and tear.

 

15. Eye Pain: When to see a therapeutic optometrist?

When your eye hurts, it’s hard to think of anything else. Whether it’s an itching, burning, shooting pain on the surface of your eye, or a deeper, throbbing pain inside your eye, eye pain can be excruciating and hard to manage. Should you see a therapeutic optometrist? 

What can cause a painful eye? It could be allergies, illness, injury, infection, or a foreign body in the eye. Symptoms vary, but if you have any of the following symptoms, you should consider calling for an appointment with a therapeutic optometrist.

  • Eye pain

  • Redness

  • Irritation caused by contact lenses

  • Discharge

  • Eye injury

  • Welder’s burn

  • Swelling or puffiness

  • Styes

Sometimes, though a painful eye is too severe to allow you to wait for an appointment. Trying to wait it out could cause the problem to get worse and might even result in a loss of vision. Seek urgent or emergency medical care as soon as possible if you have any of the following symptoms.

  • Severe eye pain with headache, fever, or sensitivity to light

  • A sudden change in vision

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • A foreign object or chemical in your eye

  • Halos around lights

  • Trouble moving your eye or an inability to keep it open

  • Blood or pus coming from your eyes

If you have an urgent eye condition, and it’s after regular office hours, you may have no choice but to go to the emergency room. If you can catch the problem before offices close, though, it’s a much better idea to see a therapeutic optometrist. Emergency rooms don’t always have the right equipment for examining the eyes, and they might not have doctors or nurses who specialize in caring for eyes. Because a misdiagnosis could potentially result in vision loss, and because you’ll probably be given a referral to an eye doctor anyway, it’s typically better to skip the ER and go straight to a therapeutic optometrist or ophthalmologist.

Even if it’s after hours, you can book an emergency appointment online on our website or call us and leave a message on our answering machine. There are situations, though, in which an emergency room trip is warranted. If you’re injured in other places in addition to the eye, if your eye has been impaled, if you are bleeding from the eyes, or if you’ve had a head trauma, it’s smart to head to the Emergency Department. What you should never do is try to treat painful eye conditions on your own, without the professional medical advice.