What is Ocular Immunology?
Ocular immunology is a broad term for a range of conditions that lead to inflammation in the eyes. In many cases, a cause is not found and is “autoimmune” in nature, where the body’s own immune system reacts against the body itself. In other cases there may be an association with some other medical disorder, infection or trauma
Why have I been referred to this clinic?
You will have been referred by your GP, ophthalmologist (eye doctor) or optometrist as they have concerns that you may have one or more of the following conditions/ issues:
- Uveitis – inflammation in one or more of the parts of the eye
- Failure to control inflammation in the eye with eye drops alone
- Complications of treatment
- A specific infection or condition that requires a specialist team
- A co-existing auto-immune condition that affects the rest of the body
Who will I see at the clinic?
When you attend the clinic, you will first see an orthoptist (allied health professional) who will carry out tests and take a general history.
You will then see the ophthalmologist who decides if any further investigations are needed and confirms a management plan. Some patients will also be referred to the Rheumatology Clinic to be investigated for any potential underlying cause or for consideration of starting immune modifying treatment.
What will my treatment at the Eye and Ear look like?
The Eye and Ear sees around 200,000 patients a year in our specialist Outpatient Clinics. We accept patients who meet our referral guidelines for assessment and treatment and try to ensure that the people most in need of our specialist services can be seen in a reasonable timeframe by our specialist ophthalmologists. Patients are discharged from the Eye and Ear when their condition is:
- considered stable or
- can be managed by their GP or other health professional e.g. private ophthalmologist or optometrist in the community.
Being a highly specialised hospital our focus is on treating patients with urgent and complex conditions. If the ophthalmologist deems your condition is stable they may transfer your care to a local ophthalmologist or optometrist.
This will be discussed with you at your appointment and the aim will be to select a recommended community provider that is convenient to you (e.g. close to your home or work).
A letter with a summary of your condition and a management plan for your ongoing treatment will be sent to you, your selected community provider and your GP. The initial referral from the Eye and Ear specialist will be valid for three months, covering your first visit to the community provider.
Having a current referral will allow you to access your Medicare rebate but please note there may still be an out of pocket expense.
If the Eye and Ear ophthalmologist deems that your condition is fully resolved and you no longer require treatment, you will be discharged from the Eye and Ear. A letter with a summary of your condition and treatment will be sent to you and your GP.
Are there any alternatives to sourcing local care?
You can do this by entering your suburb in the ‘Find a Health Service’ area on the Better Health Channel
The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO) also has a general list of ophthalmologists and service providers.
For more information about your appointment at the Eye and Ear please contact Patient Services and Access on (03) 9929 8500 between 8am and 4pm, Monday to Friday (except public holidays).