Criteria for referral to public hospital specialist clinic services

Patient requests surgery for documented cataract with either:

  • significant disabling symptoms that affect the person’s activities of daily living (e.g. light or glare sensitivity, ability to drive, recognise faces, work or self-care, increased risk of falls)
  • visual acuity 6/12 or worse in the affected eye.

Information to be included in the referral

Information that must be provided

  • Statement that the patient has indicated interest in having surgical treatment
  • Comprehensive eye and vision assessment (usually performed by an optometrist or ophthalmologist) with refraction and dilated retinal examination that includes best corrected visual acuity (i.e. measured with spectacles or contact lenses) for both eyes and performed in the last 3 months
  • Onset, severity and duration symptoms
  • Functional impact of symptoms on daily activities including impact on work, study or carer role.

Provide if available

  • If unable to visualise the retina during the eye and vision assessment
  • If the person is a commercial driver
  • If the person is a carer
  • If the person identifies as an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander.

Additional comments

The Summary and referral information lists the information that should be included in a referral request.

The referral should note that the request is for advice on, or review of, the current management plan as requests for a second opinion will usually not be accepted.

If the person’s vision deteriorates please provide an updated eye and vision assessment, with refraction, that includes best corrected visual acuity (i.e. measured with spectacles or contact lenses) for both eyes.

People experiencing disadvantage or other barriers to accessing eyecare services may be eligible to receive services through the Victorian Eyecare Service

Note as detailed in the Elective Surgery Access Policy, patients can only be referred for elective surgery at a public hospital if they meet the clinical threshold for that surgery at the time of referral for surgery.

Where appropriate and available the referral may be directed to an alternative specialist clinic or service.

Referral to a public hospital is not appropriate for

  • If the patient is not willing to have surgical treatment
  • Lens opacities that do not have a significant impact on the person’s activities of daily living
  • Prior to the person’s vision being corrected with spectacles, contact lenses, or the use of visual aids.