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

Northland DHB Ophthalmology

Public Service


8:30 AM to 4:30 PM.


Northland DHB Ophthalmology Service
Outpatient clinics are held on the 5th floor, Whangarei Hospital and monthly in Kaitaia Hospital Outpatients Department.

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.


Note: Please note below that some people are not available at all locations.


8:30 AM to 4:30 PM.

Mon – Fri 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM

lease 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 their GP or optometrist.

Referral Expectations

To be seen at the outpatient clinic by an eye specialist or by a nurse specialist, you will need a letter of 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 in to 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.

Common Conditions

  • 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

  • Cataracts

    Cataracts are the most common age-related occurrence in eyes. The lens becomes thicker and stiffer and appears yellow and cloudy.… More

  • 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.… More

  • 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.… More

  • 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… 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

  • Save Sight Society

    For useful information on:

    Cataracts, diabetes, eye injuries, glaucoma, macular degeneration and other topics.… More

  • Age Related Macular Degeneration

    Age Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD or AMD) is the leading cause of legal blindness in people over 50 years of age.  It is caused by the breakdown of the central portion of the retina (the nerve layer part of your eye) called the macula.… More


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 Whangarei Hospital or Kaitaia Hospital.

Document Downloads


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 Whangarei 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 Whanau (Whanau House). Please ask your nurse for further information.


Security guards regularly patrol the hospital and grounds.


Card operated phones are available in the main foyers. Phone cards may be purchased from Cafe Deli Marché on the ground floor. Other ward telephones are not available for personal use unless indicated by staff.

Public Toilets
Public toilets are located in the foyers to the main entrance, medical wing, mental health area, and lower ground floor corridor. A baby change table is located in the toilets in the main entrance foyers, medical wing foyer and in the Emergency Department waiting room.

Hospital Charges
If you are not a New Zealand resident you may be charged for hospital services. Please ask your nurse to contact the cashier in the front office.

People from the community health and social service agencies visit individual patients. All volunteers and official visitors to the hospital should be wearing identification badges.

Manaaki Tangata

Tena koe, kei konei matou hei awhina atu I a koe. Kaua e mataku ki te tono
mai I tetahi o matou. Patai atu ki te naahi.
A takawaenga (Maori health liaison officer) is available to support you during your stay in hospital and to help with communication between turoro, their whanau, professional staff and management. Takawaenga visit each ward on weekdays and may be contacted through your nurse.  

Non-New Zealand Residents - Nga manuhiri no Aotearoa anake

Interpreting Service
If English is not your first language and you need help, ask for our interpreting service. 

 Useful links

Contact Details

Whangarei Hospital


More details…

Kaitaia Hospital


More details…

This page was last updated at 3:37PM on June 12, 2018. This information is reviewed and edited by Northland DHB Ophthalmology.