Dr Alan Johnston Low Vision Optometrist

Dr Alan Johnston has relocated his practice, East Melbourne Optometry & Low Vision Centre to our Southgate 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.


A person with low vision suffer from a vision loss that can not be fully corrected with glasses, contact lenses, eye surgery or medication. The reduced vision makes it difficult to perform everyday tasks such as reading, watching TV, recognizing someone and driving.  There are a number of conditions that cause low vision and how it affects a person’s vision depends on the underlying cause.  The most common causes of low vision are:

  • Macula degeneration.  This results in a loss of central vision making it difficult to read and see faces.
  • Glaucoma.  This results in a loss of peripheral vision and in severe cases can lead to tunnel vision.
  • Diabetic Retinopathy.
  • Genetic conditions such as Retinitis Pigmentosa.
ocutech spectacle mounted telescopt


Our low vision clinic at Eyes on Southgate is a specialty service that helps improve a low vision patients vision for day to day activities.  Each initial appointment can take up to one hour.  During that time Dr Johnston will determine the optimal glasses prescription and determine the most effective low vision aid.  Low vision devices are very specific for different task and viewing conditions.  The type of device prescribed will depend on the underlying cause of the condition and a person’s need.  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.


  • 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 difficulties at home, school or in the workplace.
illuminated low vision magnifier mounted on a pair of spectacles



Eyes On Southgate carries an extensive range of Eschenbach magnifiers and optical aids. These quality German devices have been designed for specific tasks.  Not all magnifiers are the same and it is important that you are prescribed the correct one for your needs.  A magnifier that is too powerful will make things larger but will also reduce the area that you can see with.   As part of the consultation we will advice you on the best aid for your needs and give you time to try one before making any decisions.   As well as magnifiers smart phone apps, computers and other electronic devices can be used to improve vision.  Our goal is to provide a magnification solution most appropriate for your vision needs.

reading a book with an illuminated eschenbach handheld magniferer


Eyes On Southgate stocks the range of Ocutech bioptic telescope systems. Ocutech is a US manufacturer of these premium, spectacle-mounted ‘bioptic’ telescopes. These lightweight focusable designs provide crips images and the widest possible field of vision.  We have many of the the telescopes in stock and can fit them to your glasses in a only a few days.


Tinted lenses in some conditions can help improve vision and reduce glare.  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.

The iRo range of magenta lenses for inherited red-green colour vision defects can improve the quality of vision for people with impaired colour vision. These lenses may help differentiate red-green differences that are ordinarily impossible for colour impaired people to see. Results can be spectacular.  


Eyes On Southgate prescribes Peli segment prisms for hemianopsia.  Hemianopsia is a condition where a person loses peripheral vision on one side only. Peli prisms extend visibility into the blind side of vision and may improve mobility by increasing peripheral 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 that can not be surgically corrected.


For an appointment with Dr Alan Johnston, please call our Southgate practice on 03 9682 0123.  Consultations are bulk billed to Medicare.  The normal initial consultation is one hour.

lens mounted magnifer