FAQ

What is an Ophthalmologist?

Medically-qualified eye specialists: Eye Specialists or Eye Surgeons, we train as doctors through medical school, then spend on average nowadays 9-10 years in general medical postgraduate training, then ophthalmic specialty training (“specializing”) in hospital eye departments, before becoming a Consultant in our early to mid 30’s, almost always based in the Hospital setting.

Ophthalmology is the medical specialty dealing with problems and diseases of the eye, the periocular area, and the visual system.

An ophthalmologist deals with any medical or surgical condition of the eye, and its surrounding structures (lids, orbit, muscles) and brain connections; in any age of patient from premature neonates to the most elderly. We now work closely with Opticians (also known as Optometrists) some of whom work in the hospital, but who mostly see patients in their own “High St” businesses. I am delighted to take direct referrals from Opticians.

Some of our time is spent in the out-patient clinic; the rest performing surgery in the operating theatre, the commonest of which is cataract surgery, a delicate microsurgical procedure. We also know about the detailed optics of the eye, and are trained to test eyes for glasses especially in Children – but for detailed glasses testing, and dispensing spectacles, Opticians have expertise.

 

Where are you based?

My consulting room is at the Albyn Hosital (visit our location page)

The new Ophthalmology consulting room, from July 2015, is now relocated in the main hospital building. Please report to main reception on arrival.  You will be asked to check your address and contact details, and then won’t have long to wait before I meet you. Complimentary refreshments, today’s newspapers, television and free wi-fi are available in the lounge.

What are your consulting times

I consult every Tuesday from 4pm until mid-evening, some Friday mornings, and usually one Saturday morning a month. Appointments can be organised at other times by arrangement.

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Are you recognised by Insurance Companies?

I am delighted to see both self-funding and insured patients. I am recognised by major medical insurance companies (AXA-PPP, Aviva, PruHealth, WPA, CIGNA, Bupa and more) and fee-invoicing is usually done directly with the insurer, but only if you have pre-authorized the appointment and bring your insurance number and pre-authorisation code. If not, you will be invoiced as a self-paying patient, and you may claim back from your insurer yourself, in your own time. It is usual to have an excess to pay yourself: please let us know if this is the case. Regrettably Insurance companies lower their surgeon and procedure reimbursements year by year, and consequently, increasingly, your insurance may not cover my standard consultation or procedure fee and you may be liable for a co-payment – I will advise if this is the case.

You must keep your insurer informed of your referral, so the consultation and any subsequent treatment can be authorised. Please bring your insurance details and authorisation with you to your first consultation.  I will discuss the fee of any procedure you may require, if I feel that your insurance will not adequately cover this (although most Insurers do). Insurance Companies must always be informed by you, if you are proceeding with any surgical intervention or procedure, so as to pre-authorise the surgery (this “guarantees” to you that you will be adequately covered). The insurer usually requires the OPCS code, and the intended date of the procedure, both of which I will provide to you. If you have not contacted the insurer, but regardless proceed with a consultation or procedure, you will be liable for payment. If in doubt, the Pre-Authorisation Office at the Albyn can help you too.

How can I make an appointment?

Appointments can be made by contacting us directly by phone, appointment form on this website or via the Albyn Appointments office (phone number, fax).   Appointments for any sort of eye symptom or sign can be arranged via your GP or Optician; or if you are self-funding, I am happy to take direct self-referral, though would need details of medical history, drugs taken, and optical history/glasses. If you have medical insurance, the company will usually stipulate that your GP or optician make any referral: please check first. Referrals can also come directly from Opticians or GPs to the Albyn or via my direct contact details.  It is important that your GP or Optician stipulate by letter to Albyn that you are being referred to me, Mr Christopher Scott: this is called a named-referral; alternatively please refer to me directly, and we will arrange the appointment.

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Do I need to take anything to my consultation?

For any consultation, it is essential to have a list of medications, a note of previous medical and eye problems, bring current glasses and any current or recent glasses optical prescription note. Insured patients must bring insurance details and pre-authorisation number.

How much does a consultation cost?

The cost of a self-funded new-patient consultation, which includes examination and non-invasive tests, is £225, and varies if you are medically insured. Invoicing is done through us, and not the Albyn. If any procedures are performed, or specialist equipment used during the consultation (e.g. Optical Biometry, or lacrimal probing, or Humphrey threshold visual field analysis, or cyst removal) the cost will be higher, and Albyn will invoice you for this: you should receive a price list on arrival. If you require follow-up, the cost for a review appointment is less.

How much does surgery cost?

Coming to a private hospital for a consultation or procedure means that there is always a fee: you will either be insured with a Private Medical Insurer (AXA, SimplyHealth, Bupa, Aviva, PruHeath, WPA, CIGNA are a few: there are several more) or funding this yourself: “self-paying”.

 

Insured Patients: Although the contract is with you as the patient, it is in your interests to keep your insurer informed of your referral, so the consultation can be authorised and you are “covered”. Please bring your insurance details and authorisation with you to your first consultation.  I will discuss the fee of any procedure you may require, if I feel that your insurance will not adequately cover this (although most Insurers do). Insurance Companies must always be informed by you if you are proceeding with any surgical intervention or procedure, so as to pre-authorise the surgery and “guarantee” that you will be adequately covered. The insurer usually requires the OPCS code, and the intended date of the procedure, both of which I will provide to you. If you have not contacted the insurer but proceed with a consultation or procedure, you will be liable for payment, and your insurer may not reimburse you. If in doubt, the Pre-Authorisation Office at the Albyn can help you too.

Cataract Surgery: I believe that for patient safety reasons, a consultant anaesthetist must be present during your surgery. Regrettably some Insurers no longer cover this essential part of care, and if this is the case I will inform you about the excess you will be liable for. Self funding patients have the cost of the anaesthetist included in the standard fee.

 

Self-Funding: Any outpatient consultations are invoiced by us and not the Albyn; but any procedure or special investigation fee is administered by the Albyn. As a guide (February 2018) for self-funding, a cataract operation plus standard lens implant under local anaesthetic currently is £2070 per eye. For a general anaesthetic this is £2770 per eye. A consultant anaesthetist is present for both local and general and his fee is included in the costs above. Premium specialised intraocular lenses increase the cost by between £350-£850 (insurance companies do not cover the use of “premium lenses”, so insured patents must also pay for these). This self-pay cost covers all surgery, surgeon, hospital, and anaesthetist fees for ONE eye, including one follow-up consultation. A self-funding squint operation costs around £3500. Removal of eyelid lesions and incisions of lid cysts costs £500: more if a biopsy is taken.  Corrections of eyelid malpositions (entropion/ ectropion) and removal of excess eyelid skin cost £3000-£3500. This self-pay cost is in addition to my own initial consulting fee. The procedure fee is administered by the Albyn entirely, and you will receive information in writing prior to your admission, also regarding easy-payment methods – which are always arranged and settled in advance. For accurate surgical procedure costs please contact the BMI National Enquiry Centre: 0808 101 0337 or bmihealthcare.co.uk

I am not insured. What payment methods do you accept?

Payments can be made via direct internet banking or cheque.  Please note that my consultation fee is invoiced only by us, and not Albyn: if there are any queries please contact us, and not Albyn, via the numbers on the invoice which you will receive a few days after the consultation by post. There may be a separate Albyn invoice relating to your consultation if procedures are undertaken or specialised equipment used: I will advise.

Any surgical procedures are invoiced by BMI Albyn, and not by us.

Is there anything else I need to know about my consultation?

A new appointment lasts between 30-40 minutes. If eyedrops are used (20 minutes for an adult, 30 minutes for a child), or any special tests are performed, your appointment will be longer.Please assume that dilating eyedrops will be instilled at the first, and occasionally subsequent appointments: these affect your vision for 4-6 hours afterwards and you should not drive home from an eye appointment. The Albyn would be happy to call you a taxi if this is necessary; and the hospital is centrally situated for public transport, and there is also free parking in the hospital.

Mister or Doctor?

Two idiosyncrasies of medical title: In Scotland, as in most of the rest of the world, Ophthalmologists, Ear, Nose and Throat specialists, and Gynaecologists are titled “Dr” whereas in England these surgical specialties don’t use that title: this convention apparently dates to the Elizabethan era when barbers performed ad-hoc surgery; Physicians alone were entitled to use the Doctor title at that time. However, in Aberdeen and Elgin – alone in Scotland – these medical specialists follow the English habit of using Mr or Miss. I have no idea why this is peculiar to the North East!

Ophthalmology

…like Accommodate and Ocular, is one of the most misspelled words in the English Language. Even computer spell-checkers misspell it, and often it is incorrect in official documents and errors are seen on official  signage in University and Hospital departments. Now you know the correct spelling! I keep a collection of misspellings ranging from the understandable missing letter, to frankly outrageous and vague guesswork…

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