Ophthalmology

NT Health offers two public ophthalmology services across the Northern Territory:

  • Alice Springs Hospital Ophthalmology Department that services Central Australia and Barkly regions
  • Royal Darwin and Palmerston Hospital that services the Darwin, Big Rivers & East Arnhem regions.

Both services deliver a wide range of clinical and surgical services across the whole NT, including patients from eastern Western Australia and northern South Australia.

Referral guidelines

All referring health professionals should adhere to the below guidelines:

Outreach program

Ophthalmology Outreach services are federally funded by these NT Health programs to deliver services across all NT regional hospitals and remote communities:

  • Rural Health Outreach Fund
  • NT Primary Health Network, Medical Outreach Indigenous Chronic Disease.

The programs are modelled to include regular scheduled visits to the main regional hospitals (Tennant Creek Hospital, Katherine Hospital and Gove District Hospital) to enable regular monitoring and treatment, including intravitreal injections, glaucoma management and timely cataract surgery for our patients in those regions.

The teams visit remote communities across the NT, which are screened by the Visiting Optometrist Scheme (VOS). It is generally preferred that initial screening is first performed by the optometrist through VOS to assist triaging and avoid delays in management. This allows patients, who need specialists care, to be seen where most appropriate.

Majority of ophthalmology patients require comprehensive testing from various machines, which are not available in the remote communities. To avoid duplicate patient episodes it is preferable to refer patients directly to the regional service.

Go to our public visit calendar.

Visiting Optometrist Scheme (VOS)

VOS is a federally funded program which aims to increase optometric services to regional and remote locations. The optometrists provide primary eye care services for remote NT patients and coordinate ongoing care plans with ophthalmology. Their services include:

  • general eye care screening
  • diabetes eye checks
  • spectacle prescription
  • post-operative cataract/pterygium follow up.

To find out which provider services a particular community, email VOS.DoH@nt.gov.au

Driving requirements

Read the below information before assessing NT driving requirements:

Student placements

Orthoptic students

The ophthalmology departments offer student placements to orthoptic students. Placements in the NT expose students to a range of learning, and may include the opportunity to participate in our Outreach program. For more information email:

Medical students

Flinders University allocates placements to medical students. Placements in the NT expose students to a range of learning, and may include the opportunity to participate in our Outreach program. For more information email:


Last updated: 26 August 2022

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