Skip to main content
COVID-19
Information for the community – Updated guidelines from 27 July 2021
Acknowledgement
The Women's and Children's Hospital is located on the traditional lands for the Kaurna people, and we respect their spiritual relationship with their Country. We also acknowledge that the Kaurna people are the custodians of the Adelaide region, and that their cultural and heritage beliefs are still as important to the living Kaurna people today.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website may contain images, voices and names of people who have passed away.

Ophthalmology

The Department of Ophthalmology specialises in the detection and correction of visual problems in children from birth to 18 years.

The Department of Ophthalmology specialises in the detection and correction of visual problems in children from birth to 18 years.

Frequent causes of poor vision are the need for glasses (refractive error), turning eyes (squint), lazy eyes (amblyopia) and eye abnormalities present at birth. Other general health disorders and injuries may also cause poor vision or poor visual development.

How to access this service

A referral from a doctor or optometrist is required to access the WCH Ophthalmology Department.

Referral requirements
  1. Urgent referrals should always be made by a phone call to the ophthalmology registrar/RMO or emergency department, with a written referral given to the patient.
  2. Please include copies of all reports and results with referrals
  3. In literate children with suspected vision issues, an optometrist report stating their vision level is required
  4. Patients are seen based on urgency, according to criteria developed by the WCH medical staff.
  5. Please do not write referrals to specific consultants. All referrals to ophthalmology at WCH are pooled.

Any referrals received for the conditions below will not be accepted and sent back to the referrer.

  • Chalazion with duration less than 3 months, for children under 4 years of age
  • Chalazion with duration less than 6 months, for children aged 4 and over
  • Uncomplicated congenital nasolacrimal duct obstruction (CNLDO) under 24 months of age
  • Diabetic Retinopathy screening in literate children
  • Second opinions
  • Atropine treatment or contact lenses for progressive myopia
  • Keratoconus – treatment is not provided for this condition at WCH.
  • Dyslexia (coloured overlay/colourimetry assessment)
  • Refractive Error (without strabismus) with normal visual acuities for age when wearing glasses – these patients should be managed by a local optometrist.
  • Contact lens clinic referrals that do not meet the Glasses SA criteria – both the clinical and financial requirements must be met for referrals to be accepted.

Please refer patients with the above conditions to a private ophthalmologist or optometrist.

Making an appointment

The appointments team will contact you when your child has been allocated an appointment in the ophthalmology clinic.

Please note there are extended waiting times for appointments within ophthalmology at this time. If you develop additional concerns about your child’s eyes whilst awaiting an initial appointment, please return to your referrer.

Hours

Monday – Friday 8.30am – 4.30pm

For emergency care, the WCH Paediatric Emergency Department is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. An ophthalmologist can be contacted by the Emergency Department or local doctor, as required.

Location

Paediatric Outpatients Area 4, Level 1, Rogerson Building

Further Information

Orthoptic Service

Orthoptic Clinics are held most days in Paediatric Outpatients Area 3. Orthoptists are university-trained, allied health professionals, who are specifically trained in a range of eye tests to assist the medical team.

The orthoptic team perform the following tests on behalf of the ophthalmologists; vision assessment for all ages and abilities, visual field testing, eye movement assessments, squint assessment and measurement, ocular photography and a range of eye scans.

The orthoptic team also staff regular standalone clinics for patients who require review of their vision or eye position, and manage lazy vision (amblyopia) on behalf of the ophthalmologists.

Vision Screening Service

A secondary vision screening service is provided to specific areas of the northern suburbs following an incomplete or failed check by a Child and Family Health Service (CaFHS) nurse who attended your child’s kindy. This service only sees children who are between 4–5 years of age, with no significant development delays or other issues that mean a comprehensive ophthalmology assessment is recommended.

Secondary screening allows the orthoptic team to reassess children who have not passed the vision check, using a different type of vision test and gain more detailed clinical information.

These clinics run at four different locations every 8 weeks:

  • Elizabeth CaFHS
  • Salisbury CaFHS
  • Enfield CaFHS
  • Woodville CaFHS
Contact Lens Service

Patients who meet the appropriate criteria can be referred into the contact lens service at WCH – all patients must meet both the clinical and financial criteria outlined by the Glasses SA Scheme for the referral to be accepted by Ophthalmology.

These patients will be allocated to an ophthalmology consultant, who will assess the patient and make the final decision whether contact lenses are clinically required before seeing the department optometrist.

Electrodiagnostic Vision Tests

Electrodiagnostic vision tests are provided through the Neurology Department at the WCH.

To make a required for electrophysiology diagnostic procedure, medical practitioners are required to:

  1. Download and print the WCHN Neurology Electrophysiology Request Form
  2. Fill out for the form with appropriate details and fax completed form to (08) 8161 6224.
Resources

South Australian Visual Impairment Organisations

  • Royal Guide Dogs Australia – Supports independence, participation, inclusion and wellbeing for people with vision impairment, children with autism and their families
  • Can:Do 4Kids – Helps and support children with hearing and vision challenges
  • Royal Society for the Blind – A not-for-profit organisation providing services to Australians who have a severe vision impairment

Australian Visual Impairment Organisations

Condition-specific Support Organisations

Contact

Phone

  • Appointment Enquiries: (08) 8161 7399
  • Department Secretary: (08) 8161 8308

Email:

HealthCYWHSPaediatricOphthalmology@sa.gov.au

Fax:

(08) 8161 7057

Surgical Correspondence

Ophthalmology Department
Level 2, Queen Victoria Building
Women's and Children's Hospital
72 King William Road
North Adelaide
South Australia 5006

Staff

Paediatric Ophthalmologists

  • Dr Joanna Black, Medical Unit Head
  • Dr John Pater, Ophthalmologist
  • Dr Katie Billing, Ophthalmologist – clinical lead for ROP
  • Dr Swati Sinkar, Ophthalmologist

Sub-Specialist WCH Ophthalmologists

  • Dr Tim Greenwell, Ophthalmologist – clinical lead for uveitis
  • Dr David Sia, Ophthalmologist – clinical lead for retinoblastoma/ocular oncology
  • Dr James Slattery, Ophthalmologist – clinical lead for oculoplastics

Orthoptists

  • Ms Natalie Ainscough - Orthoptic Clinical Coordinator and Lead Orthoptist
  • Ms Jessica Collins, Senior Orthoptist – Community Outreach Lead
  • Mrs Tania Straga, Orthoptist
  • Miss Denise Bartolo, Orthoptist
  • Mrs Erica Simpson, Orthoptist – casual
  • Mr Lachlan Knight, Orthoptist – casual

Optometrist – Contact Lens

  • Mr David O’Brien, Optometrist

For Health Professionals

Please note that there are extended waiting times for appointments.

All literate children, aged approximately age 5, should attend an optometrist prior to referral to assess for any potential vision issues. Please include the optometry report with the referral.

Referral information