Hospital eye services have been hit with increased workload partly caused by new scanning technology at optometrists - including big chains like Specsavers.

Imaging technology to check customers for potential problems like glaucoma is becoming widespread in optometry practices, which is funnelling more referrals into the public system.

Specsavers now uses the technology on all of its customers and says this, as part of a wider assessment, helps pick up disease that would otherwise go undetected. The company says it will soon have New Zealand data, but in Australia more than 80 per cent of referrals are appropriate, leading to