Frequently asked questions:
Who is eligible for an OHIP funded eye exam each year?
- Children 0-19 years old
- Diabetic patients
- Patients with eye conditions (strabismus, glaucoma, etc..)
- Seniors 65+
If I don’t fall into the OHIP funded category, how much will I pay for an eye exam?
- Patients 20-64 years old will pay $109.00 for their exam.
What is a digital retinal image and why should I have it?
Retinal imaging takes pictures of the back of your eye, which includes the retina. The retina detects light and sends the images to your brain. It also helps the Optometrist diagnose diseases like macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. The images are added to your digital file at kept at the office.
How much is a digital retinal image?
The retinal image is included with the non-OHIP funded exam of $109.00
The retinal images are not included with the OHIP exam, but are available to these patients at $25.00.
What is an OCT and why should I have it?
Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a non-invasive imaging test. OCT uses light waves to take cross-section pictures of your retina, showing distinct layers. It helps the Optometrist assess the health of the tissue layers and in diagnoses and management of diseases like glaucoma, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy.
How much is an OCT scan?
The OCT scan is included with the non-OHIP funded exam of $109.00
The OCT scan is not included with the OHIP exam, but is available to these patients in combination with retinal imaging at $65.00.
Will my extended health insurance pay for an eye exam?
Most plans will pay for an exam every 24 months, but it is the responsibility of the patient to know what their plan covers.
Is it necessary to have my eyes dilated during every eye exam?
Answers from Dennis Robertson, M.D.
Whether eye dilation during an exam is necessary depends on the reason for your exam, your age, your overall health and your risk of eye diseases.
The eyedrops used for dilation cause your pupils to widen, allowing in more light and giving your doctor a better view of the back of your eye. Eye dilation assists your doctor in diagnosing common diseases and conditions, possibly at their earliest stages. They include:
- High blood pressure
- Macular degeneration
- Retinal detachment
Eye dilation also makes your vision blurry and your eyes more light sensitive, which, for a few hours, can affect your ability to drive or work. So if eye dilation is greatly inconvenient, ask your doctor about arranging another appointment. Alternatives to dilation are available, but they aren’t as effective for allowing a careful examination of the back of your eye.
In determining whether eye dilation is necessary for you, your eye doctor may consider:
- Your age. The risk of eye diseases increases with age. The National Institutes of Health recommends a yearly dilated eye exam if you’re 60 or older.
- Your eye health. Having a history of eye diseases that affect the back of the eye, such as retinal detachment, may increase your risk of future eye problems.
- Your overall health. Certain diseases, such as diabetes, increase the risk of eye disease.
- The reason you are seeking an eye evaluation. Certain symptoms may require a dilated examination to determine the cause. Some conditions requiring follow-up examinations may not need dilation at every visit unless there are new symptoms or concerns.
Why Are Eye Exams Important?
Regardless of your age or physical health, it’s important to have regular eye exams.
During a complete eye exam, your eye doctor will not only determine your prescription for eyeglasses or contact lenses, but will also check your eyes for common eye diseases, assess how your eyes work together as a team and evaluate your eyes as an indicator of your overall health.
Who should get their eyes examined?
Eye examinations are an important part of health maintenance for everyone. Adults should have their eyes tested to keep their prescriptions current and to check for early signs of eye disease. For children, eye exams can play an important role in normal development.
Vision is closely linked to the learning process. Children who have trouble seeing or interpreting what they see will often have trouble with their schoolwork. Many times, children will not complain of vision problems simply because they don’t know what “normal” vision looks like. If your child performs poorly at school or exhibits a reading or learning problem, be sure to schedule an eye examination to rule out an underlying visual cause.
What is the eye doctor checking for?
In addition to evaluating whether you have nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism, your eye doctor will check your eyes for eye diseases and other problems that could lead to vision loss. Here are some examples of the conditions that your eye doctor will be looking for:
- Amblyopia: This occurs when the eyes are misaligned or when one eye has a much different prescription than the other. The brain will “shut off” the image from the turned or blurry eye. If left untreated, amblyopia can stunt the visual development of the affected eye, resulting in permanent vision impairment. Amblyopia is often treated by patching the stronger eye for periods of time.
- Strabismus: Strabismus is defined as crossed or turned eyes. Your eye doctor will check your eyes’ alignment to be sure that they are working together. Strabismus causes problems with depth perception and can lead to amblyopia.
- Eye Diseases: Many eye diseases, such as glaucoma and diabetic eye disease, have no obvious symptoms in their early stages. Your eye doctor will check the health of your eyes inside and out for signs of early problems. In most cases, early detection and treatment of eye diseases can help reduce your risk for permanent vision loss.
- Other Diseases: Your eye doctor can detect early signs of some systemic conditions and diseases by looking at your eye’s blood vessels, retina and so forth. They may be able to tell you if you are developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol or other problems.
For example, diabetes can cause small blood vessel leaks or bleeding in the eye, as well as swelling of the macula (the most sensitive part of the retina), which can lead to vision loss. It’s estimated that one-third of Americans who have diabetes don’t know it; your eye doctor may detect the disease before your primary care physician does, especially if you’re overdue for a physical.
What’s the difference between a vision screening and a complete eye exam?
Vision screenings are general eye tests that are meant to help identify people who are at risk for vision problems. Screenings include brief vision tests performed by a school nurse, pediatrician or volunteers. The eye test you take when you get your driver’s license renewed is another example of a vision screening.
A vision screening can indicate that you need to get an eye exam, but it does not serve as a substitute for a comprehensive eye exam.
A comprehensive eye examination is performed by an eye doctor and will involve careful testing of all aspects of your vision. Based upon the results of your exam, your doctor will then recommend a treatment plan for your individual needs. Remember, only an eye doctor can provide a comprehensive eye exam. Most family physicians and pediatricians are not fully trained to do this, and studies have shown that they can miss important vision problems that require treatment.
Treatment plans can include eyeglasses or contact lenses, eye exercises or surgery for muscle problems, medical treatment for eye disease or simply a recommendation that you have your eyes examined again in a specified period of time.
No matter who you are, regular eye exams are important for seeing more clearly, learning more easily and preserving your vision for life.