Northland > Public Hospital Services > Northland District Health Board (NDHB) >

Northland DHB Ophthalmology

Public Service, Ophthalmology


8:30 AM to 4:30 PM.


Northland DHB Ophthalmology Service
Outpatient clinics are held on the 5th floor, Whangārei Hospital and we hold weekly clinics in Kaitaia Hospital. 

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.
Opticians read prescriptions for visual correction, order lenses and dispense eye glasses and contact lenses.

Referral Expectations

To be seen at the outpatient clinic by an eye specialist or by a nurse specialist, you will need an electronic referral to be sent to the hospital by your GP or by your optometrist.

Please bring your current glasses and current eye drops with you to the clinic appointment.

The Eye Outpatient Clinic is a busy clinic involved with treating patients and training medical and nursing staff.

Emergency patients sometimes need to be fitted in. You will often need to be seen by several members of the Eye Department team as part of your assessment and treatment. For these reasons, you may be in the Eye Department for several hours. If you are Diabetic, please remember to bring snacks and any necessary medication with you. Please also bring any new prescribed medication with you.

As part of the examination of your eyes, you may have drops put into your eyes to dilate the pupil so the back of the eye (retina) can be examined. The drops may cause blurred vision and light sensitivity.

You will need to arrange transport home as you may be unable to drive for at least 2 hours. Wearing dark sunglasses will help reduce light sensitivity.


Currently New Zealand residents pay for their public health service through their taxes and there are no additional charges to them at the hospital. Non-New Zealand residents are responsible for the full cost of any medical or surgical treatment they receive at Whangārei Hospital or Kaitaia Hospital.


8:30 AM to 4:30 PM.

Mon – Fri8:30 AM – 4:30 PM

Please note that due to the large number of patients attending our service, there could be a long wait to be seen by a doctor, clinical nurse specialist or nurse.

Patients must be referred by e-referral from their GP or optometrist.

Common Conditions

  • Age Related Macular Degeneration

    Age Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD or AMD) More

  • Cataracts

    Cataracts More

  • Diabetic Retinopathy

    Diabetic Retinopathy More

  • Glaucoma

    Glaucoma More

  • 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.… More

  • 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.… More

  • Squints (strabismus)

    Squints (strabismus) More


Visitors can buy food from the hospital cafeteria or Cafe Deli Marché. Snacks and canned drinks are also available from the coin machines on the ground floor and lower ground floor.

Public Transport

Please click here for the CityLink bus timetable for Route 6 (Maunu).

There is a weekday bus service between Kaitaia and Whangārei hospitals. Please click here for further information.


Car parking is at a premium on the hospital site, so we ask you to adhere to time limits and restrictions, which are enforced with tow-aways. All day visitor parking is available in the main carpark.


Visitors may arrange accommodation in the Maunu Residence or Te Whaea o te Whānau (Whānau House). Please ask your nurse for further information.


Security guards regularly patrol the hospital and grounds.

Contact Details

Whangārei Hospital


8:30 AM to 4:30 PM.

More details…

Kaitaia Hospital


8:30 AM to 4:30 PM.

More details…

This page was last updated at 11:32AM on January 18, 2022. This information is reviewed and edited by Northland DHB Ophthalmology.