Oculase Articles

Reasons to be referred to an eye specialist

Mr Tariq Ayoub - 1 Sep 2021

Has it been a while since you had a regular eye exam? Have you noticed something different about your vision, in the appearance of your eyes or felt any discomfort?

You may have been to the pharmacy and picked up a bottle or two of eye drops. An optometrist or GP may be able to help with straightforward problems. However, they may refer you for a specialist assessment to help identify underlying problems.

This page explains what the different kinds of eye specialists do and the main reasons for a referral.


What is an eye specialist?

The eye is a complicated organ with an intricate network of nerves and blood vessels. Many complex eye conditions need diagnosis and treatment with specialist equipment and knowledge.

There are several kinds of professionals:

  • Dispensing opticians fit people with their glasses and contact lenses based on a prescription. But they do not do the actual eye tests.
  • Optometrists undergo training to detect eye problems. They provide prescriptions for glasses, contact lenses, other vision aids and, in some cases, medications.
  • Ophthalmic medical practitioners are medical doctors who took further training after medical school. They work specifically on the eye, including its surface and surrounding tissues.
  • Ophthalmologists are eye surgeons. Their work includes medical and surgical care of the eyes and visual system. They also study how to prevent eye injury and disease. Often, they work in teams with other eye care professionals.
  • Orthoptists specialise in treating eye movement problems, double vision and squints.

Learn more in our video with Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon, Mr Tariq Ayoub:


Five reasons to be referred to an eye specialist

A visit to the optometrist or GP can help identify changes, problems or symptoms affecting your eyes. You may go to a specialist appointment if they find something that needs a more in-depth assessment.

Because we are medically trained ophthalmic surgeons, we can help make a more accurate diagnosis. By using state-of-the-art tests, we can often detect serious eye diseases at an early stage.

Reasons you may get referred to a specialist include:

  1. A sudden change in your eyes, such as partial or full loss of vision
  2. Pain, inflammation or an eye injury
  3. You develop vision problems that glasses or contact lenses can’t correct. Examples include cataracts and more pronounced refractive errors
  4. A medical condition may be affecting your eyesight, such as glaucoma, high blood pressure, or diabetes.
  5. You need surgery to remove a melanoma (cancer) in the eye or correct various types of misalignment

See the right specialist at the right time

It is important to maintain healthy vision. Otherwise, it is hard to do daily tasks such as driving or working. Family members with an eye condition can also make you more prone to developing it. Often, vision changes are unnoticeable at first and difficult to detect. That is why getting an eye exam is important.

If you’ve never had a complete, dilated eye exam by the age of 40, we recommend that you should have a complete medical eye exam. We will then recommend the frequency of any future eye exams going forward based on your health needs.

It’s important to have a baseline eye exam by a specialist, even if you believe you are healthy. This is so we can compare your results against any future exams and help spot changes or problems.

How much does a private eye specialist cost?

Private eye care costs can vary depending on the clinic.

If you would like to book an appointment with us, see our prices page for more information about the cost of various treatments we can offer.

Book an appointment

Keeping informed of your treatment options is crucial to deciding on your care. When our clinic receives a referral, we will ask you to come for a consultation.

Mr Ayoub is the founder and director of Oculase – The Eye Clinic. He works at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and sees patients privately at various locations in London and Birmingham.

Mr Ayoub received Specialist Certification in Refractive Surgery (Cert-LRS) from the Royal College of Ophthalmologists. He is also on the specialist register of the General Medical Council. His extensive experience enables him to consider and treat your condition in the context of your overall healthcare needs.

Please contact us if you have any questions about vision care or use our online form to book a consultation.

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About the author

Mr Tariq Ayoub
Mr Tariq Ayoub, Consultant Ophthalmologist

Mr Ayoub has been rated as one of the top eye surgeons in the UK. He is a Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon with Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust in London, one of the largest NHS trusts in England. He is also the Lead for the Emergency Department at Western Eye Hospital, as part of the Imperial College Trust.

Mr Ayoub completed his Ophthalmology training at the prestigious London School of Ophthalmology, namely at Moorfields Eye Hospital and Royal Free Hospital. During his career, he has received many prestigious awards from national and international organisations for his work in the field of ophthalmology.

His clinical interests include treatment for cataracts, vision correction, corneal disease, eye-lid disorders, trauma, and general ophthalmology. Mr Ayoub prides himself on the high quality of his work. With his extensive experience, he can holistically manage complex eye conditions to deliver the best care for his patients.

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