Professional Independent Optometry

Dr Alan Johnston: Optometry and Low Vision Clinic

image of Dr Alan Johnston

Dr Alan Johnston has relocated his practice, East Melbourne Optometry & Low Vision Centre to our Collins St store. Dr Johnston is a former reader and Associate Professor of the Department of Optometry at the University of Melbourne. For over 30 years he has travelled regularly to China to help educate local practitioners on how to manage patients with low vision. While he has retired from the University of Melbourne, Dr Johnston continues to present at international conferences and regularly visits China to promote low vision education. He is an optometrist experienced in the optical and electronic management of moderate to severe low vision.

What is low vision

People with low vision suffer from a vision loss that may not be fully corrected with glasses, contact lenses, eye surgery or medication. There are many reasons why a person develops low vision and the type of vision loss varies depending on the diagnosis. Macular degeneration for example causes a loss of central vision, making it harder to read and see faces. Glaucoma on the other hand causes a loss in side vision and can lead to tunnel vision.

image of a low head mounted telescope

Our low vision clinic

Our low vision clinic at our Collins Street store is a specialty service that helps improve the vision of people with low vision. During a comprehensive assessment we will optimize any vision correction with glasses and determine those aids that are most appropriate for your use. Low vision devices are designed for specific tasks and viewing conditions. Different devices are prescribed to improve distance, intermediate (0.5 to 2 meters) or near vision. The type of device depends on the underlying cause of the reduced vision and a person’s needs. During the consultation Dr Johnston will determine your specific vision requirements and then discuss with you the strategies that seem most suited to improve your vision.

Our services include

  • Assessment of complex or unusual refractive errors
  • Prescription of glasses and contact lenses to optimize vision
  • Assessment, prescription, and fitting of specialty magnification devices to improve vision
  • Prescription of electronic devices and Smartphone apps to improve contrast and reading
  • Advice and management for low vision diffiuculties at home, school or in the workplace
  • image of a low vision magnification device

    Low vision magnification

    Eyes On Collins carries an extensive range of Eschenbach magnifiers and optical aids. These quality German devices are tailored to the demands of specific tasks, as well as the magnification level required by the underlying cause of low vision. Enlarged images improve vision but can reduce the field of view. We provide advice regarding the optimum management strategies for vision improvement, including the use of Smartphone apps and computer and other electronic devices. Our goal is to provide a magnification solution most appropriate for your vision needs.

    image of a low vision magnification device

    Eyes On Collins stocks the range of Ocutech bioptic telescopes telescope systems. Ocutech is a US manufacturer of these premium, spectacle-mounted ‘bioptic’ telescopes. Lightweight, focusable Keplerian designs of 3x, 4x and 6x magnification provide crisp images with the widest possible field of view. We prescribe and fit Ocutech telescopes here in Melbourne to minimise delay in ordering and delivery of telescopes.

    Many different low vision devices can improve near vision. Some magnifiers incorporate high intensity LED lighting to improve contrast detection. We also have access to a wide range of specialty BPI therapeutic tints for achromatopsia, albinism, inoperable cataracts and other conditions that contribute to intractable glare.

    Dr Johnston demonstrates and prescribes the iRo range of magenta lenses for inherited red-green colour vision defects. These lenses may differentiate red-green differences ordinarily impossible for colour impaired people to see. Results can be spectacular.

    image of a low vision magnification device

    Eyes On Collins prescribes Peli segment prisms for hemianopsia, a loss of peripheral vision on one side only. Peli prisms extend visibility into the blind side of vision and may improve mobility by increasing awareness of obstacles and pedestrians.

    We also prescribe Sweden’s Multilens products. Multilens has innovative spectacle-mounted solutions for very high magnification, as well as prism inserts in spectacles for intractable double vision not amenable to surgical correction.


    Dr Johnston only works part time. Please call our Collins St practice on 03 9629 1808 to make an appointment.