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Factsheet HSV18 - Optical Services and Supplies

Purpose

This Factsheet is about how to access optical services and supplies, and who is eligible.

What are optical services?

Optical services include clinical testing of the eyes for defective vision, and the supply of suitable spectacles, contact lenses or devices for low vision.

Am I eligible?

If you have a DVA Health Card - All Conditions (Gold) or Totally & Permanently Incapacitated (Gold), the Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) will fund optical services to meet your clinical needs. For more information about the Gold Card, please see Factsheets HSV59 - Eligibility for the DVA Health Card All Conditions (Gold) or Totally & Permanently Incapacitated (Gold) and HSV60 - Using the DVA Health Card - All Conditions (Gold) or Totally & Permanently Incapacitated (Gold).

If you have a DVA Health Card - Specific Conditions (White), DVA will fund optical services for an accepted optical condition. For more information about the White Card, please see Factsheet HSV61 - DVA Health Card - Specific Conditions (White).

If you are an allied veteran, you are eligible for treatment of war caused disabilities accepted by your country of enlistment. Please see Factsheet HSV62 - Commonwealth and Other Allied Veterans for information about the services available.

How do I access this service?

You can make an appointment directly with an optometrist who participates in DVA arrangements without a referral. If you feel you need to see an ophthalmologist, you should discuss this with your Local Medical Officer (LMO) or optometrist who will provide you with a referral if necessary.

Once you have your optical prescription, you may take it to any optical dispenser who has agreed to supply under DVA arrangements. It is not necessary to have your spectacles or other visual aids dispensed by the optometrist who issued your prescription.

What happens when I visit my optometrist or ophthalmologist?

When you visit the optometrist or ophthalmologist, please present your Gold or White Card at the beginning of a consultation or before you receive treatment. The optometrist or ophthalmologist will then assess your needs and provide treatment if necessary, under DVA arrangements. The optometrist or ophthalmologist will provide you with a copy of the treatment record and may refer you to an optical dispenser to get your spectacles or optical aids.

Do I need to sign a treatment record?

Service providers can submit treatment records electronically. If this is not the case, you may be required to sign a record of treatment at the completion of each visit to ensure your treatment is covered by DVA. Before you sign, please check that the treatment record shows:

  • your name
  • your DVA file number
  • the date of treatment
  • the item number for the service provided, and
  • your accepted disability or condition for which you required optical services and/or supplies (if you have a White Card).

If you are unable to sign, a member of your family, or someone else who attends the appointment with you, may sign on your behalf. Otherwise the optometrist or ophthalmologist must note that you are unable to sign.

Are there limits to the number of services I can receive?

Yes, you may receive one initial and one subsequent consultation:

  • every year, if you are over 65, or
  • every three years if you are under 65.

In a two year period you may receive:

  • one pair of bifocals, trifocals or progressive power spectacles, or
  • one pair of reading and one pair of distance spectacles.

However, where you have a significant change in vision, develop a new condition or if there is a significant prescription change, you may receive services outside these limits.  This may include, where clinically necessary, an additional initial or subsequent consultation or a new set of lenses.

Can I choose my spectacle frames?

You are able to choose any appropriate spectacle frames from your optical dispenser that are within the DVA price limits and quality standards.

Your optical dispenser will stock a minimum number of suitable frames, so that you can always see and try on a variety of frames. As different dispensers may stock different frames, you also have the opportunity to shop around at different stores until you find frames to suit you. Remember to consult your treating optometrist or prescriber for advice on selecting appropriate frames.

Do I have to pay a co-payment for spectacle frames?

You may choose to be provided with spectacle frames outside of the optical dispenser's DVA range. If you choose frames or lenses from outside the DVA range of items, then you may be required to pay part or all of the extra cost. In these instances you will be advised of any additional costs associated with your preference, and any gap you accept will not be reimbursed by DVA.

Do I need to pay for the consultation?

No, your optometrist or ophthalmologist will bill DVA directly for any consultations if the service is provided under DVA arrangements. This represents the full fee for the service provided. If you are billed for a consultation, do not pay the account and advise DVA immediately.

Does DVA fund polarised prescription sunglasses?

Generally DVA does not fund polarised prescription sunglasses, in the absence of exceptional clinical justification, as funding is provided for suitable alternatives. DVA does provide funding for sunglasses to fit over existing prescription glasses or clip on sunglasses to assist with glare protection. Please discuss these alternatives with your provider.

More Information

DVA General Enquiries

Phone: 1800 555 254 *

Email: GeneralEnquiries@dva.gov.au

DVA Website: www.dva.gov.au

Factsheet Website: www.dva.gov.au/factsheets

* Calls from mobile phones and pay phones may incur additional charges.

Additional Information

DVA Service Provider Enquiries

Phone: 1800 550 457 *

Service Provider Website: www.dva.gov.au/providers

Transport Bookings

Phone 1800 550 455*

Veterans' Affairs Pharmaceutical Advisory Centre (VAPAC)

Phone: 1800 552 580*

Open Arms - Veterans & Families Counselling

Phone: 1800 011 046 *

Email: openarms.coord@dva.gov.au

Open Arms - Veterans & Families Counselling website: www.openarms.gov.au

At Ease Website: www.at-ease.dva.gov.au

* Calls from some mobile phones and pay phones may incur additional charges.

Related Factsheets

Disclaimer

The information contained in this Factsheet is general in nature and does not take into account individual circumstances. You should not make important decisions, such as those that affect your financial or lifestyle position on the basis of information contained in this Factsheet. Where you are required to lodge a written claim for a benefit, you must take full responsibility for your decisions prior to the written claim being determined. You should seek confirmation in writing of any oral advice you receive from DVA.

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18 May 2018