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New Zealand – Eye Care

Finding an Eye Care Professional

If you’re in need of eye care services in New Zealand, there are several resources available to help you find the right professional. The first step is to determine what kind of eye care provider you need. In New Zealand, there are three main types of eye care providers: optometrists, ophthalmologists, and dispensing opticians.

Optometrists are primary eye care providers who perform eye exams, diagnose vision problems, and prescribe corrective lenses. They can also diagnose and manage some eye conditions, but they typically refer patients to ophthalmologists for more advanced eye care.

Ophthalmologists are medical doctors who specialize in eye and vision care. They are trained to diagnose and treat eye diseases and conditions, perform eye surgery, and prescribe medications.

Dispensing opticians are not eye doctors, but they are trained to fit and dispense corrective lenses based on prescriptions written by optometrists or ophthalmologists.

Once you have determined the type of eye care provider you need, there are several resources available to help you find a qualified professional. Here are some websites you can use:

  1. The New Zealand Association of Optometrists – This website allows you to search for optometrists in your area and provides information on the services they offer.

  2. The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists – This website allows you to search for ophthalmologists in your area and provides information on the services they offer.

  3. The New Zealand Dispensing Opticians Society – This is the website of the New Zealand Dispensing Opticians Society. It provides information on dispensing opticians and eye care services in New Zealand.

Paying for Eye Care

Eye care in New Zealand is not covered under the public health system, except for specific conditions such as cataracts and glaucoma. Instead, most New Zealanders rely on private health insurance or pay for eye care services out of pocket.


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There are several types of eye care services available in New Zealand. Here is a breakdown of the different types of services and how they are typically paid for:

  1. Eye Exams – Eye exams are not covered under the public health system in New Zealand. Most optometrists charge a fee for an eye exam, which can range from $60 to $200 NZD.

  2. Corrective Lenses – The cost of corrective lenses varies depending on the type of lenses and frames chosen. In some cases, private health insurance policies may cover some or all of the cost of corrective lenses.

  3. Contact Lenses – The cost of contact lenses also varies depending on the type of lenses chosen. Some private health insurance policies may cover the cost of medically necessary contact lenses.

  4. Eye Surgery – Eye surgery is typically not covered under the public health system in New Zealand. The cost of eye surgery can vary widely depending on the type of surgery needed. Private health insurance policies may offer coverage for some types of eye surgery.

  5. High Street Optometrists – High street optometrists, also known as “optical retailers,” are a popular choice for many New Zealanders seeking eye care services. The cost of services at high street optometrists varies depending on the provider and the services needed. Private health insurance policies may offer partial coverage for these services.

It’s important to note that private health insurance policies vary widely in their coverage of eye care services. Before seeking eye care services, it’s important to review your insurance policy to understand what services are covered and what out-of-pocket costs you may be responsible for.

High Street Optometrists

High street optometrists, also known as “optical retailers,” are a popular choice for many New Zealanders seeking eye care services. Optical retailers typically offer a range of services, including eye exams, contact lens fittings, and the sale of corrective lenses and frames.

One benefit of using an optical retailer for eye care services is the convenience factor. Optical retailers are often located in high-traffic areas and offer flexible hours, making it easy to fit an eye exam or fitting appointment into a busy schedule.

Another benefit of using an optical retailer is the range of eyewear options available. Optical retailers typically offer a wide range of frames and lenses, including both prescription and non-prescription options. This allows patients to choose the eyewear that best fits their needs and style preferences.

However, it’s important to note that while optical retailers offer a range of eye care services, they are not able to diagnose or treat eye diseases or conditions. If you have a more serious eye problem, you will need to see an ophthalmologist for treatment.

Eye care in New Zealand is not covered under the public health system, except for specific conditions. Instead, most New Zealanders rely on private health insurance or pay for eye care services out of pocket. When seeking eye care services in New Zealand, it’s important to determine what type of provider you need and to research available options to find the best fit for your needs and budget.

With the right care and attention, you can ensure that your vision stays healthy and clear for years to come. If you have any concerns about your eye health or vision, don’t hesitate to reach out to a qualified eye care professional in your area.


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