Women's and Children's Hospital, Adelaide


COVID-19 Statement – 8 April 2020

The Medical Unit Head of Paediatric Ophthalmology, Dr Joanna Black, has requested the assistance of the South Australian optometry community to review paediatric ophthalmology patients ordinarily seen at the Women's and Children's Hospital. In order to maintain an open hospital environment for urgent, complex and COVID-19 positive patients, suitable patients are being advised to be seen at smaller community-based practices, with minimal travelling distances, for their vision and eye checks.

Dr Black and her team are seeking your assistance in reviewing patients who ordinarily see the ophthalmologists, and identify those who should be seen by an ophthalmologist as soon as possible and those who can continue being safely monitored in the community for the duration of the pandemic.

If you are not confident with cycloplegic refraction or do not have the equipment, current competence or confidence to carry out these assessments on the child that presents, please refer them to an optometric colleague who does. If you are unsure of who this might be, please visit Link iconwww.optometry.org.au/find-an-optometrist and search selecting children's vision under 'Services provided'. There will also be the option to discuss the patient with the WCH medical team if you prefer.

Dr Black cannot predict how many parents will pursue their recommendation, but wishes to thank you all for being prepared to see additional paediatric patients in the coming weeks and months.

Please continue to be vigilant and to extend Optometry Australia's advice on the prevention of disease transfer within your practice across any specialised equipment you may use for paediatric assessment.

Many thanks in advance for your support with this.

Word iconCOVID-19 Optometry Pro-forma  (53kb)

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.

The earlier eye problems are detected, the greater the range of treatment and education options available.  No child is too young to be assessed and children with a family history of eye disorders should be tested between four and ten months of age.

Paediatric Ophthalmology Team

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


  • 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

Electrodiagnostic vision tests are provided through the WCH page link iconNeurology Department at WCH. Patient information on 'WCH page link icon'Visually Evoked Potentials' (VEP) and WCH page link icon'Electro-retinography' (ERG) is available through the Neurology Department at WCH.

Ophthalmology Allied Health-Led Clinics

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.

Orthoptic Triage Service

New patients may be asked to attend the 'Orthoptic Triage Clinic' after a review of their referral by the medical team. This clinic is staffed by senior orthoptists, who may conduct further testing of a child's vision, eye position and eye movement. Depending on the results, an appointment with an ophthalmologist, a repeat test, or discharge to community eye care providers will be arranged. Appointment priority is based on the test results.

No eye drops are used at this appointment.

Vision Screening Service

Vision screening is designed to detect a condition called amblyopia (lazy vision). This is a condition where a child's eyesight is reduced due to a barrier in vision development, it is commonly only in one eye, therefore with two eyes open the child may never notice, or complain of blurry vision.  This condition is best treated before age 8, to achieve optimum results in vision.

The ophthalmology team here at WCH have developed a vision screening program designed to detect amblyopia (lazy vision) in young children. Picture-based vision tests are used to make sure your child feels comfortable with being tested.

Orthoptists will be re-screening 4-5 year old children who have failed their CaFHS vision test from specific areas of the northern suburbs of Adelaide. We will also screen suitable patients from the hospital waiting list, at the request of the WCH medical team.

Contact Lens Service

Patients who meet the WCH page link iconappropriate referral criteria can be referred to the contact lens service at WCH, but will also require ongoing review with an ophthalmologist.

Those who require contact lenses for clinical reasons, as decided by a department ophthalmologist, will be funded through WCH or through the WCH page link iconGlasses SA scheme until age 18.

Contact lens education for patients and families is provided by the orthoptic team at WCH, and is compulsory for all new patients who receive contact lenses through the hospital.

How to access Ophthalmology services at WCHN

A referral is needed from your GP, optometrist or from a doctor from another Women's and Children's Hospital department.

Medical practitioners are requested to consult the PDF iconOphthalmology Service Referral Guidelines and note the excluded conditions.

As of June 2020, new referral criteria will apply to referrals being sent to WCH Ophthalmology Department. Referrals that do not meet the criteria outlined in the departments referral guidelines will be returned to the medical practitioner involved, either requesting further clinical information, recommending referral elsewhere or ongoing local management with their GP or optometrist.

Please review the PDF iconWCH Ophthalmology Triaging Guidelines for Referrers for detailed information.


Procedures are performed in the WCH page link iconRogerson Theatre Complex.

Patients will be cared for in the WCH page link iconDay of Surgery Admissions (DOSA) Ward.

Consumer Health Information

General Leaflets

PDF iconAids To Help Glasses Fit  (370kb)

PDF iconAmblyopia (lazy vision)  (322kb)

PDF iconAtropine For Amblyopia (lazy vision)  (398kb)

PDF iconGetting The Right Glasses  (325kb)

PDF iconHow To Make A Patch  (333kb)

PDF iconPatching for Amblyopia (lazy vision)  (321kb)

Surgical Leaflets

PDF iconBlocked Tear Ducts  (308kb)

PDF iconChalazion Surgery  (304kb)

PDF iconCrawford Tubes  (305kb)

PDF iconExamination Under Anaesthetic (EUA)  (317kb)

PDF iconSquint Surgery  (318kb)

Specialist Leaflets

PDF iconEye Checks for Bone Marrow Transplant Patients  (300kb)

PDF iconPre-packed Dilating Eye Drop  (303kb)

PDF iconUveitis in JIA  (473kb)

Contact Lens Leaflets

PDF iconSoft Lenses – Information for new patients and families  (871kb)

PDF iconReplacing contact lenses  (311kb)

PDF iconRigid Gas Permeable (RGP) Lenses – Information for new patients and families  (780kb)

About Your Visit/Appointment

PDF iconComing to the Ophthalmology Clinic  (314kb)

PDF iconComing to Orthoptic Only Clinic  (392kb)

PDF iconComing to Contact Lens Clinic  (296kb)


Elective surgery and outpatient review is undertaken during normal working hours, Monday to Friday.

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.

Please note that the Ocular Genetics Clinic is no longer held at Women's and Children's Hospital, and is now run from Flinders Medical Centre. Referrals for this service should be directed to A/Prof Christopher Barnett, WCH page link iconPaediatric and Reproductive Genetics Unit at Women's and Children's Hospital.

Contact Information

Unit Head

Dr Joanna Black


1st Floor, Rogerson building

Mailing Address

Referrals Only

Please send to:
Admin Hub
Women's and Children's Hospital
72 King William Road
North Adelaide
South Australia 5006
FAX: 8161 6246

Surgical Correspondence and Enquiries

Ophthalmology Department
Level 2, Queen Victoria Building
Women's and Children's Hospital
72 King William Road
North Adelaide
South Australia 5006
FAX: 8161 7057


OPD Appointment Bookings & Enquiries

Phone: (08) 8161 7399

Department or Surgical Enquiries

Phone: (08) 8161 8308

Email:  Health:CYWHS Paediatric Ophthalmology

last modified: 26 Aug 2020