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Eye Specialists

Private Service, Ophthalmology

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Description

What is Ophthalmology?
Ophthalmology is the branch of specialist medicine that is focused on the health of eyes and their surrounding tissues, including muscles, bones, eyelids, and tear production/drainage systems. Your eye is the organ of vision and consists of the cornea (the outer clear layer), the sclera (the white of the eye), the iris (the coloured part), the lens (lies behind the iris) and the retina (the light-sensitive lining at the back of the eye). Your eyes ‘see’ by focusing light that enters the eye onto the retina which sends the image to the brain by the optic nerve.
 
Ophthalmologists are doctors who are trained in the study of eyes. Most will be trained in eye surgery, and may have particular areas of interest or expertise.

Optometrists are not doctors, but are trained in testing your vision to assess your need for glasses or contact lenses. Some also test for glaucoma. 

Consultants

Ages

Child / Tamariki, Youth / Rangatahi, Adult / Pakeke, Older adult / Kaumātua

Referral Expectations

A referral is not essential for you to be seen at Eye Specialists, and many patients are self-referred. However, a referral from either your optometrist or GP is helpful in providing us with detailed background information from your previous history.

Patients can expect to be here for at least 60 minutes, and when glaucoma tests are being carried out you should expect to be here for approximately 90 minutes.  You should arrange to have someone drive you home after your appointment as dilation of pupils often occurs.

Fees and Charges Categorisation

Fees apply

Fees and Charges Description

We are a Southern Cross Affiliated Provider for most procedures and consultations (depending upon your policy). We also work closely with other insurers and health plans including nib, UniMed, Veteran's Affairs, Police Health Plan, and Enable (child subsidies). 

When requesting a quote we will provide you with a comprehensive breakdown of costs based on your individual needs.

Hours

Mon – Fri 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM

Public Holidays: Closed King's Birthday (3 Jun), Matariki (28 Jun), Labour Day (28 Oct), Northland Anniversary (27 Jan), Waitangi Day (6 Feb), Good Friday (18 Apr), Easter Sunday (20 Apr), Easter Monday (21 Apr), ANZAC Day (25 Apr).

Procedures / Treatments

Cataracts

Cataracts are the most common age-related occurrence in eyes. The lens becomes thicker and stiffer and appears yellow and cloudy. Eventually it may turn white, changing the colour of the pupil. A cataract may cause your vision to become fuzzy in a progressive fashion and may also be the cause of disabling glare. Once a cataract affects vision too much, a cataract removal operation is generally advised. This decision is usually made in consultation with an eye specialist. The operation is almost always done under local anaesthetic. Once the cataract has been removed an artificial lens is put in to replace it. It is relatively short in duration and an overnight stay in hospital is not required. Post-operative care consists of eye drops and a check at 1-2 days then after 2-4 weeks. We offer bilateral cataract surgery, where both eyes are done on the same day. We welcome enquiries about this.

Cataracts are the most common age-related occurrence in eyes. The lens becomes thicker and stiffer and appears yellow and cloudy. Eventually it may turn white, changing the colour of the pupil. A cataract may cause your vision to become fuzzy in a progressive fashion and may also be the cause of disabling glare.
Once a cataract affects vision too much, a cataract removal operation is generally advised.  This decision is usually made in consultation with an eye specialist. The operation is almost always done under local anaesthetic. Once the cataract has been removed an artificial lens is put in to replace it. It is relatively short in duration and an overnight stay in hospital is not required.  Post-operative care consists of eye drops and a check at 1-2 days then after 2-4 weeks.
We offer bilateral cataract surgery, where both eyes are done on the same day. We welcome enquiries about this.
Laser Eye Surgery

Laser eye surgery is now available and much more accessible for Northlanders!! We offer a range of laser surgery including Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK), LASIK, Phototherapeutic Keratectomy (PTK), and Corneal Collagen Crosslinking. Each of these procedures is used for slightly different reasons, although many people seek laser surgery to correct refractive errors and reduce their reliance on glasses.

Laser eye surgery is now available and much more accessible for Northlanders!! We offer a range of laser surgery including Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK), LASIK, Phototherapeutic Keratectomy (PTK), and Corneal Collagen Crosslinking.
Each of these procedures is used for slightly different reasons, although many people seek laser surgery to correct refractive errors and reduce their reliance on glasses.
Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a group of diseases that can damage the eye’s optic nerve and may result in vision loss and blindness. Multiple factors are often important in causing glaucoma, but it is most commonly related to in an increase in pressure in the eye. Symptoms are generally absent until the condition has progressed to an advanced stage. Very occasionally, a rarer form of glaucoma can develop suddenly and symptoms may then include: headaches and aches around the affected eye, seeing halos around lights, sensitivity to light, blurred vision, nausea and vomiting. You may be more likely to develop glaucoma if you: have someone else in your family with glaucoma already have high pressure in your eye have experienced injury to your eye have or have had certain other eye problems have migraine or circulation problems. Glaucoma is more common in people over 50 years of age and more common in women than men. Diagnosis usually comes after consultation with an eye doctor. Signs of glaucoma may also be picked up at an optometrist’s eye examination. The following tests are used to diagnose and monitor glaucoma: Tonometry – measures eye pressure. It is often the first screening test for glaucoma. The eyes are numbed with eye drops and then examined. Dilated eye exam - this is done with an ophthalmoscope (which is a medical instrument that allows the doctor to look through the pupil to the back of the eye).The retina and optic nerve are then examined for any sign of damage. Visual acuity test – test to check distance vision using an eye chart. Visual field test – test to measure side (peripheral) vision. Pachymetry – test to measure the thickness of the cornea. OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography) - measures the thickness of the retinal nerve fibre layer to help diagnose and monitor any defects due to glaucoma (we now use this scan most often for glaucoma monitoring) HRT (Heidelberg Retinal Tomography) - laser images of the optic nerves are used to created topographic maps that can then be repeated on a regular basis to look for any deterioration. Many other new techniques are emerging to help identify the likelihood of glaucoma and help determine its rate of worsening. Although glaucoma cannot be cured, early treatment can prevent further worsening of the condition and vision loss. Regular eye examinations will need to be continued life-long. Eye drops to decrease eye pressure are the most common early treatment. Surgery may be required, especially if medications are not taking adequate effect. Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT), in which a surgeon uses a laser to help the fluid drain from the eye, may be considered. Trabeculectomy may be performed when other methods have failed to adequately control pressure. This is a medium length operation that makes a new opening for fluid to drain from the eye. For more information on Glaucoma Click here

Glaucoma is a group of diseases that can damage the eye’s optic nerve and may result in vision loss and blindness. Multiple factors are often important in causing glaucoma, but it is most commonly related to in an increase in pressure in the eye. Symptoms are generally absent until the condition has progressed to an advanced stage.  Very occasionally, a rarer form of glaucoma can develop suddenly and symptoms may then include: headaches and aches around the affected eye, seeing halos around lights, sensitivity to light, blurred vision, nausea and vomiting.
You may be more likely to develop glaucoma if you:
  • have someone else in your family with glaucoma
  • already have high pressure in your eye
  • have experienced injury to your eye
  • have or have had certain other eye problems
  • have migraine or circulation problems.
 
Glaucoma is more common in people over 50 years of age and more common in women than men. Diagnosis usually comes after consultation with an eye doctor. Signs of glaucoma may also be picked up at an optometrist’s eye examination.
The following tests are used to diagnose and monitor glaucoma:
  • Tonometry – measures eye pressure.  It is often the first screening test for glaucoma. The eyes are numbed with eye drops and then examined. 
  • Dilated eye exam - this is done with an ophthalmoscope (which is a medical instrument that allows the doctor to look through the pupil to the back of the eye).The retina and optic nerve are then examined for any sign of damage. 
  • Visual acuity test – test to check distance vision using an eye chart.
  • Visual field test – test to measure side (peripheral) vision. 
  • Pachymetry – test to measure the thickness of the cornea.
  • OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography) - measures the thickness of the retinal nerve fibre layer to help diagnose and monitor any defects due to glaucoma (we now use this scan most often for glaucoma monitoring)
  • HRT (Heidelberg Retinal Tomography) - laser images of the optic nerves are used to created topographic maps that can then be repeated on a regular basis to look for any deterioration. 
Many other new techniques are emerging to help identify the likelihood of glaucoma and help determine its rate of worsening. Although glaucoma cannot be cured, early treatment can prevent further worsening of the condition and vision loss. Regular eye examinations will need to be continued life-long. 
Eye drops to decrease eye pressure are the most common early treatment.  Surgery may be required, especially if medications are not taking adequate effect. 
Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT), in which a surgeon uses a laser to help the fluid drain from the eye, may be considered.

Trabeculectomy may be performed when other methods have failed to adequately control pressure. This is a medium length operation that makes a new opening for fluid to drain from the eye.

For more information on Glaucoma Click here

Refractive Error: short-sightedness (myopia), long-sightedness (hyperopia) and astigmatism

These conditions cause distance blur. In myopia, the eye has a resting focus at a near distance so that people will be able to see objects clearly at some point close to them, whilst the distance is blurry. Hyperopia also causes distance blur but often does not become noticeable until the eye loses its ability to change focus, frequently in middle age. The loss of focus for near distance (presbyopia or “aged sight”) is also related to a decreased ability to change focus but only affects reading. Astigmatism causes an image to be blurry at all distances, but does not affect clarity of images unless it is severe. An optometrist or ophthalmologist can test for these conditions. Treatment is usually glasses or contact lenses which are only obtainable through an optometrist or dispensing optician. Laser surgery and other corrective surgical techniques can also be used to change the focus of the eye to give clarity of sight in suitable patients.

These conditions cause distance blur. In myopia, the eye has a resting focus at a near distance so that people will be able to see objects clearly at some point close to them, whilst the distance is blurry. Hyperopia also causes distance blur but often does not become noticeable until the eye loses its ability to change focus, frequently in middle age. The loss of focus for near distance (presbyopia or “aged sight”) is also related to a decreased ability to change focus but only affects reading. Astigmatism causes an image to be blurry at all distances, but does not affect clarity of images unless it is severe. An optometrist or ophthalmologist can test for these conditions. Treatment is usually glasses or contact lenses which are only obtainable through an optometrist or dispensing optician.  Laser surgery and other corrective surgical techniques can also be used to change the focus of the eye to give clarity of sight in suitable patients.

Squints (strabismus)

A weakness in one or more of the muscles of the eye will cause the eye to turn or move away from the normal focusing position. This is commonly known as a squint. A squint can be corrected by surgery, or by using glasses. Rarely, children may grow out of a squint. Surgical correction of squint usually involves a general anaesthetic. In the procedure, the muscles involved are repositioned to correct the alignment. It is important to recognise and treat a squint as, if left uncorrected, it can result in permanent impairment of vision.

A weakness in one or more of the muscles of the eye will cause the eye to turn or move away from the normal focusing position.  This is commonly known as a squint. A squint can be corrected by surgery, or by using glasses.  Rarely, children may grow out of a squint. Surgical correction of squint usually involves a general anaesthetic. In the procedure, the muscles involved are repositioned to correct the alignment.  It is important to recognise and treat a squint as, if left uncorrected, it can result in permanent impairment of vision.
Diabetic Retinopathy

This is a complication of diabetes and is caused by small blood vessel damage within the retina of the eye. It commonly affects both eyes and may cause permanent loss of vision. Macular oedema is sometimes also present with diabetic retinopathy. Macular oedema is when fluid leaks into the retina and causes swelling and blurred vision. This may occur at any stage of diabetic retinopathy, but is more common as the disease progresses. There are often no symptoms in the early stages but as the condition progresses vision may begin to become impaired. Often visual loss may be sudden and without warning. This is why it is imperative that at-risk diabetics have frequent eye checks. Poorly controlled diabetes and pregnancy in diabetes are risk factors for developing this condition. Often, first-stage diabetic retinopathy requires no active treatment on the eye but requires stabilisation of diabetes and regular eye examinations. With progressive retinopathy, a laser treatment called the PRP laser can be used. This works by shrinking enlarged blood vessels to prevent further bleeding into the retina. Severe bleeding may require a surgical procedure called a vitrectomy, where blood is surgically removed from the eye. Treatment of macular oedema, if present, is by focal laser treatment. Vision is stabilised by reducing the degree of fluid leakage into the retina. Often more than one treatment is required.

This is a complication of diabetes and is caused by small blood vessel damage within the retina of the eye.  It commonly affects both eyes and may cause permanent loss of vision.  Macular oedema is sometimes also present with diabetic retinopathy.  Macular oedema is when fluid leaks into the retina and causes swelling and blurred vision.  This may occur at any stage of diabetic retinopathy, but is more common as the disease progresses. There are often no symptoms in the early stages but as the condition progresses vision may begin to become impaired.  Often visual loss may be sudden and without warning. This is why it is imperative that at-risk diabetics have frequent eye checks. Poorly controlled diabetes and pregnancy in diabetes are risk factors for developing this condition.
Often, first-stage diabetic retinopathy requires no active treatment on the eye but requires stabilisation of diabetes and regular eye examinations. With progressive retinopathy, a laser treatment called the PRP laser can be used. This works by shrinking enlarged blood vessels to prevent further bleeding into the retina. Severe bleeding may require a surgical procedure called a vitrectomy, where blood is surgically removed from the eye.
Treatment of macular oedema, if present, is by focal laser treatment. Vision is stabilised by reducing the degree of fluid leakage into the retina.  Often more than one treatment is required.
Retinal Detachment

This is when the retina detaches, meaning it is lifted or separated from its normal position within the eye. An acute retinal detachment requires urgent assessment and appropriate treatment. Unless prompt and effective treatment is given, some forms of retinal detachment may lead to irreversible blindness. Signs and symptoms include: a sudden or gradual increase in floaters, deterioration in vision, cobwebs or specks with the visual field, light flashes in the eye or the appearance of curtains over the visual field. You are more likely to have a retinal detachment if you are very short-sighted or have had an injury or previous surgery to the eye. For minor detachments, a laser or freeze treatment (cryopexy) are used. Both therapies re-attach the retina. For major detachment, surgery will be necessary. A band is often put around the back of the eye to prevent further detachment. Surgical treatment is usually a vitrectomy, where the jelly (vitreous) is removed from the eye. This often involves a hospital stay. It can take several months post-surgery to see the final visual result.

This is when the retina detaches, meaning it is lifted or separated from its normal position within the eye. An acute retinal detachment requires urgent assessment and appropriate treatment. Unless prompt and effective treatment is given, some forms of retinal detachment may lead to irreversible blindness.
Signs and symptoms include: a sudden or gradual increase in floaters, deterioration in vision, cobwebs or specks with the visual field, light flashes in the eye or the appearance of curtains over the visual field. You are more likely to have a retinal detachment if you are very short-sighted or have had an injury or previous surgery to the eye.
For minor detachments, a laser or freeze treatment (cryopexy) are used.  Both therapies re-attach the retina. For major detachment, surgery will be necessary. A band is often put around the back of the eye to prevent further detachment.  Surgical treatment is usually a vitrectomy, where the jelly (vitreous) is removed from the eye. This often involves a hospital stay.  It can take several months post-surgery to see the final visual result.
OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography)

OCT is a test done using the Stratus OCT instrument to measure the thickness of the retinal nerve fibre layer, as well as providing detailed microscopic maps of the retina and optic nerve at the back of the eye. It is very useful for the diagnosis and monitoring of a group of diseases, including glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration and retinal vein occlusions. The test is quick and painless, a little like having a photo taken, and when necessary can be repeated for monitoring.

OCT is a test done using the Stratus OCT instrument to measure the thickness of the retinal nerve fibre layer, as well as providing detailed microscopic maps of the retina and optic nerve at the back of the eye. It is very useful for the diagnosis and monitoring of a group of diseases, including glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration and retinal vein occlusions. The test is quick and painless, a little like having a photo taken, and when necessary can be repeated for monitoring.

Disability Assistance

Wheelchair access, Wheelchair accessible toilet, Mobility parking space, A longer appointment time, Support to make decisions, Assistance to move around, More space to move around

Travel Directions

From SH1 south-bound - turn left at Kamo Road, and continue through Kensington towards Regent and the CBD.

From SH1 north-bound - turn right on to Kensington Avenue and continue to the traffic lights at Kamo Road. Turn right on to Kamo Road, and continue towards the CBD. 

Our Whangārei clinic is located next door to Woolworths Regent, and opposite the A-framed Anglican Church, just north of the Kamo Road / Mill Road / Bank Street traffic lights.

For Google Maps location and directions, click here.

Public Transport

Bus stops are located directly across the road (city-bound) and next door (north-bound). 
Health shuttles also stop at our location by prior arrangement.

Parking

We offer dedicated patient/visitor carparks, including two accessible (disability) car parks.

Accommodation

The Cypress Court motel is immediately next door. Other motels in the near vicinity include Motel Six and the Graelyn Villa. The above-mentioned motels all offer discounts for our patients.

Pharmacy

The two closest pharmacies are Kensington Pharmacy and Mansfield Dispensary. However, we can send prescriptions to your preferred pharmacy anywhere in New Zealand.

Other

Useful links:

Contact Details

19 Kamo Road
Regent
Whangarei
Northland 0112

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Street Address

19 Kamo Road
Regent
Whangārei
Northland 0112

Postal Address

19 Kamo Road
Regent
Whangārei 0112

This page was last updated at 2:52PM on June 13, 2024. This information is reviewed and edited by Eye Specialists.