Last updated on September 10, 2021.
Looking for an optometrist in Hong Kong? Healthy Matters brings you an expert, practical guide with all the details you need.
What is an Optometrist?
Optometrists are registered professionals who provide primary vision care ranging from vision testing and correction to the diagnosis, treatment and management of vision changes. The services provided by optometrists mainly involve examination procedures.
Like ophthalmologists, optometrists are qualified to perform eye examinations and are certified to detect, diagnose and manage eye diseases but the key difference is that optometrists are not medical doctors; other than using examination related drugs such as pupil-dilating eye drops and giving eyeglasses or contact lenses prescriptions, optometrists are not qualified to prescribe any drugs, neither do they have a license to perform any medical eye surgeries.
In Hong Kong, optometrists also do not have the right to make referrals for patients to see other specialised professionals such as ophthalmologists, they can only advise patients to see a doctor for a referral upon identifying an issue from an eye test.
When should you see an Optometrist?
If you need medical treatment such as surgery or medical prescriptions, or have concerns about eye conditions like cataracts, glaucoma or macular degeneration, you may want to make an appointment with an opthamologist. However, if you are looking for a professional to carry out eye tests on healthy eyes and maintain regular check ups from time to time, as well as write visual aid prescriptions for you, then an optometrist will meet your needs!
What to know about Optometrists in Hong Kong
Currently in Hong Kong, there are just over 2,000 optometrists registered under the Optometrists Board of Hong Kong. Optometrists work in both private and public sectors of the healthcare system; in the public sector, they mainly work in support of ophthalmologists to carry out eye examinations for patients and identify possible conditions as well as suggest preventive measures. In the private sector, in conjunction to eye examinations, they can give prescriptions for eyeglasses or contact lenses.
In Hong Kong, it takes a minimum of 5 years to be a qualified optometrist. Currently, within Hong Kong, there are only qualifiable courses at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Other recognized qualifications can be attained internationally in the UK, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
The qualification for optometrists is divided into 4 categories; namely part I to part IV optometrists, part I optometrists are the highest rank of optometrists in Hong Kong, they have been professionally trained to give comprehensive eye examinations, prescribe optical aids, and can use diagnostic drugs, part II optometrists are also able to assess vision and prescribe for visual aid (such as glasses and contact lenses) but are not permitted for the use of drugs. As for part III and part IV optometrists, they primarily provide vision assessments and prescriptions for glasses. Once students attain their certificate for the Optometry program at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, and have completed practical placement training during the 4th and 5th year of their course, they can immediately qualify as part I optometrists.
What services do Optometrists provide?
- Primary Eye Care Consultation
- Contact Lens Service
- Children’s Vision Service
- Vision Training Service
- Vision Rehabilitation Service
- Glaucoma Investigation
- Orthokeratology Service
- Visual Electrodiagnostic Service
- Ocular Health Service
- Optical Dispensing Service
- Driving/Marine License Vision Test
- Diabetic Retinopathy Screening (primarily in hospitals)
- Other Specialty Assessments – e.g. Dry Eye Evaluation, Vocational color vision assessment
How often should you see an Optometrist?
Healthy adults who do not notice anything wrong with their eyes should see an optometrist for an eye examination according to this schedule:
Age 19 to 40: at least every 10 years
Age 41 to 55: at least every 5 years
Age 56 to 65: at least every 3 years
Over age 65: at least every 2 years
Children should have an eye examination conducted with an optometrist when they turn 4 years old. However, if they have any early signs/eye problems or are significantly behind in their development, parents should consult an optometrist immediately.
Most common reasons to see an Optometrist
It is recommended to see an optometrist if you are experiencing:
- Frequent headaches
- Farsightedness (blurred vision)
- Nearsightedness (struggle to see things up close)
- Double vision
- Difficulty seeing at night
- Constantly squinting
- Seeing halos when being around light
How much does it cost to see an Optometrist in Hong Kong?
In Hong Kong the cost of a consultation with an optometrist varies greatly, depending among others on the location and facilities. Our research shows that consultations in the private sector range from $220 to $1,850.
For eligible HKID-holders, attending a public specialist clinic would cost $135 for first attendance and $80 for subsequent attendance.
For non-eligible people, the price of a day procedure and treatment at a specialist clinic is $725 per attendance.
Beware of waiting times which can be very long in the public sector.
Please enquire at your clinic of choice for the specific costs.
*All amounts are in HKD and were last updated in May 2021. No responsibility is accepted for any inaccuracies, errors, or omissions. It is always best to call ahead to make sure the information is still up-to-date.
The Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions (HKFTU) provides optometric services at discounted prices for members; anyone aged 16 and over are eligible to apply to become a member. For further enquiry of membership and optometric services available, please contact 2393 2303.
Lists of Optometrists in Hong Kong
To make it easier for you, here is a list of Hong Kong optometrists and specialized eye clinics:
Optometrist in the Public Sector:
Here is the list of public centers providing Optometric services (under “Eye”) throughout Hong Kong.
Optometrists in the Private Sector:
Here is a list of Optometrists from the private sector:
Optometrists on Hong Kong Island:
Optometrists in Kowloon:
The Optometry Clinic at PolyU
(Primary Eye Care Consultation – $650, with student optometrists $250, list of fees)
Address: The Optometry Clinic, Rm A034, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Kowloon
Phone: 2766 5225
Optometrists in New Territories:
The Optometry (OPT) Centre – Dr. Dominic Chun Pong Chim
(Price: $400 for Comprehensive Eye Examination with report)
Address: Shop G63, G/F, Metro City Phase I, Tseung Kwan O, N.T, Tseung Kwan O
Phone: 2704 5699
Does insurance cover consultations and treatments with Optometrists in Hong Kong?
According to Alea, optometrist consultations can be reimbursed under international plans where eyecare costs are included, usually there will be a sub-limit. As there is a very high proportion of cases of myopia in Hong Kong, local plans usually will not include eyecare costs. In some cases, insurance plans may include yearly eye exams for clients. In more generous cases, they may even offer a set amount for costs spent on the visual aid, such as contact lenses or spectacles. If you have any eyecare-related insurance questions, contact an expert at Alea at [email protected].
This article is informative only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice and should never be relied upon for specific advice.