Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What do I do if I think I am experiencing an eye emergency?

If your local ophthalmologist or optometrist has referred you for immediate care , or you are seeking private care from the public treating facility, please call Queensland Eye & Retinal Specialists on 07 3555 5960. We have an established triage protocol and will ask detailed questions regarding your symptoms and confirm the referral.  If your symptoms warrant immediate attention, we will arrange to have you seen urgently.  We may also discuss with Dr Cheng and remain in contact with you. 

Ophthalmology service is also available publicly.  For the greater the greater Brisbane area, you can either present to Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital (RBWH) or Princess Alexandra Hospital (PAH).   

If you are just unsure of what to do, you may call our our friendly receptionists, we would be able to guide you through the steps.

What are symptoms of an eye emergency?

  • Sudden or severe eye pain
  • Sudden loss of sight/vision
  • Lots of flashing lights
  • Sudden onset of floaters (wiggly lines or blobs floating in vision)
  • Sudden impairment of vision (curtain or black out vision)
  • Chemicals in your eye
  • Severe eye trauma
  • Blood in the clear part of the eye
  • Unusual pupil size or shape

Do I need a Referral?

A valid referral is required before your appointment. However, if you have a genuine eye emergency and obtaining a referral may defer your treatment, we would be happy to see you without one.  For normal circumstances, your GP, specialist or optometrist can issue or renew a referral prior to your consultation. Many providers will send it electronically to our practice.  The referral contains valuable information to assist us with offering an appropriate appointment within the timeframe and advise expected fee for the day.

A valid referral will also entitles you to claim Medicare rebate.  It also allows our doctor to send a reports back to the referring provider so the continuity of care is not lost.

Most referrals last 12 months from your GP or optometrist. A referral from a specialist or hospital Emergency Department will only be valid for 3 months. We will endeavour to remind you when your referral expires, however it is your responsibility to ensure that you have a valid referral at the time of appointment. Please note that referrals cannot be back dated.

How long does an appointment take?

For a comprehensive check up, please allow up to 2.5 hours for the full consultation process.  If this is your first time, we will ask you to fill out patient details on arrival.  You will then be called in to have your visual acuity test done, along with necessary diagnostic assessments and scans.  

You may be required to have eye drops administered in order to dilate your pupil to allow comprehensive examination. Dilating takes time and needs to be complete before the specialist can see you.

After your testing and pupil dilation, you will be seen by our specialist who will examine your eye along with test and scan results to make a diagnosis and explain your condition.  Treatment and management options will be discussed and a plan for care made. During this examination your specialist will answer any questions you may have. For these reasons 2.5 hours is a good guideline for the length of your entire appointment. 

If you are referred for conditions that does not require pupil dilation, your appointment time can be completed within 90 minutes. 

Why have I been told not to drive or to bring a driver or arrange transport?

Dilating eye drops may make your vision blurry for up to 6 hours after administration of the drops. This can also make you sensitive to light and glare. For these reasons it is important to arrange alternative transport arrangements as you will not be able to drive yourself until these effects have completely worn off.

 Why do I need my pupils dilated? Will this happen every visit?

Your pupils will be dilated to ensure the Doctor can have a clear and full view of the back of your eye including your retina and macula.

Depending on the type of appointment scheduled you may require your pupils to be dilated each visit. It is safest to assume you will have your pupils dilated every visit and arrange transport to facilitate this.

What does diagnostic testing involve?

  •  Ultra Wide Field Retinal Imaging – (Optos California ICG)

This ultra-widefield scan is used to capture images of more than 80% of the retina and a detailed view of the macula in multiple formats to assist with the diagnosis, monitoring and treatment of conditions of the retina, macular, optic nerve and other parts of the eye.

This scan can be done without dilated pupils where indicated by your doctor.

  • Optical coherence tomography, OCT – (Zeiss CIRRUS 6000)

Also called an OCT scan, it is a non-invasive technology used to capture a high definition image of the layers of the retina. For this scan, your pupils are dilated to enable a complete view of the back of the eye.

During this scan, you will experience a flash of light as the image is captured. It is used in the diagnosis, monitoring and treatment of conditions such as macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, macular holes, central serous retinopathy.

  • Fundus Imaging and Fluorescein Angiography – (Zeiss CLARUS 700 and Optos California ICG)

It  is an ultra-widefield retinal camera used to take high definition images from the macular to the periphery of the eye. This technology is used to diagnose, monitor and plan treatment for retinal tears, diabetic retinopathy (diabetic eye disease), retinal vein occlusions and other eye conditions and diseases. This scan is performed after your eyes are dilated and you will see a bright flash as the images are captured.

Where appropriate, this scan is done in addition to a procedure called fluorescein angiography. After your pupils are dilated, your doctor will inject a coloured dye (fluorescein) into a vein in your arm or hand. This dye will travel through your body and when it reaches your eyes your doctor will take a series of images to capture the condition of your blood vessels in the retina. This assists your doctor to diagnose and plan for treatment for certain eye diseases including diabetic eye disease, retinal vein occlusion, macular swelling and macular degeneration. Fluorescein Angiography is a medical procedure and as all procedures carry risks and side effects, your doctor will discuss these with you prior to your procedure.

  • Ocular Ultrasound – Tomey UD-8000

A non-invasive imaging technique that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of the eye’s structure for evaluation.


What does the optometrist in your practice do?

At Queensland Eye & Retina Specialists we aim to deliver exceptional patient care.

Our highly qualified Optometrists provide preliminary testing and assessment of the lens and ocular conditions, perform diagnostic scans, and assess spectacle refractive needs. to provide the specialist with comprehensive results to assist with the examination. This protocol ensures that examination and treatment can be tailored to each individual patient in order to achieve the best possible outcome for each patient to the highest level of quality and care.

What is the difference between an Optometrist and an Ophthalmologist?

An Ophthalmologist is a medical doctor specialising in the diagnosis and management of eye disorders. They have undertaken a minimum 12 years of training. Here at Queensland Eye & Retina Specialists (QERS), Dr Sean Cheng has further subspeciality training in Medical and Surgical Retinal conditions.

An Optometrist is a health professional with a university degree in Optometry and is registered with the Optometry board of Australia. Optometrists examine eyes and visual problems. They prescribe and fit glasses or contact lenses and refer patients on to Ophthalmologists for further investigation as appropriate.

Within QERS, the Optometrist works alongside the Ophthalmologist (specialist medical doctor), to assist with examination and diagnostic testing for eye diseases and problems. They can also assess your refractive needs for spectacles (glasses) as necessary, however we do not fit or dispense glasses or contact lenses at QERS.

What does the technician in your practice do?

 At Queensland Eye & Retina Specialists we aim to deliver exceptional patient care.

Our highly qualified Ophthalmic Technicians provide initial testing and perform diagnostic scans to provide the specialist with comprehensive results to assist with the examination. This protocol ensures that examination and treatment can be tailored to each individual patient in order to achieve the best possible outcome for each patient to the highest level of quality and care.

 Will I receive same day treatment?

Occasionally, your condition may require same day treatment. Doctors will discuss this with you prior to proceeding. We will also ensure costs and post-procedure care is explained prior.

In most other instances, your procedure/treatment will be booked for an appropriate appointment date and time to streamline our clinic and minimise any waiting times. This ensures all patients have access to comprehensive assessment without the inconvenience of waiting unnecessarily.

 How are your fees calculated?

Queensland Eye & Retina Specialists is a private clinic, and our fee is based on the Australian Medical Association (AMA) rate. Our fees reflect the business costs of utilising precision ophthalmic equipment required to perform a comprehensive eye examination by our experienced and specialised ophthalmic team. We employ a highly skilled management, clinical and administration team to enable us to manage the practice professionally and to ensure we are complying with all relevant guidelines, protocols and procedures in order for us to deliver exemplary patient care. It is for these reasons that we cannot offer bulk billing.

 What private hospitals do our doctors operate at?

 Our doctors have regular private operating lists at

  • Brisbane Day Surgery – Spring Hill (formerly known as Queensland Eye Hospital)
  • Eye Tech Day Surgeries – Spring Hill
  • St Andrews War Memorial Hospital – Spring Hill
  • Westside Private Hospital – Taringa 

Book a QERS Consultation

Scroll to Top