Optometrists provide comprehensive eye examinations to determine the overall health of your eyes and the quality of your vision. They are primary eye care providers who detect, diagnose, treat, prevent and co-manage any eye-related issues. They also provide eyewear products.
As well, optometrists may refer patients to appropriate specialists for advanced medical, surgical or laser treatments.
What’s the difference between and Optometrist, and Ophthalmologist and an Optician?thefullnelsons2020-04-09T23:16:05+00:00
An optometrist is the primary health-care provider for vision and eye health concerns in Ontario. Optometrists have completed a Bachelor’s degree, primarily in sciences, before completing their Doctorate of Optometry degree. The doctorate is an additional four years of study including classroom and clinical education. They may do an additional year of clinical residency training. Optometrists are highly educated and clinically trained to examine and treat the eyes and visual systems of any patient, regardless of their age.
An ophthalmologist is the secondary-level health-care provider. They are surgeons and specialists in eye disease who have completed a Bachelor Degree and four years of medical school at an accredited university. They have completed a residency in medical and surgical care of the eyes at an accredited university hospital. Patients usually require a referral from their optometrist to obtain an appointment with an ophthalmologist.
Opticians are the third member of the eye care team. They are trained and licensed through a college program to fabricate, fit and adjust vision aids based on the prescription of an optometrist. They do not assess, diagnose or treat eye conditions, and they cannot check or write prescriptions for eyeglasses or contact lenses.
All three professions are governed by their respective Colleges under the authority of the Regulated Health Professions Act.
Regular comprehensive eye exams with an optometrist are important to maintain eye health and good vision.
Children 0 to 19 years old: An annual, full comprehensive eye examination plus any follow-up assessments that may be required.
Seniors aged 65 +: An annual, full comprehensive eye examination plus any follow-up assessments that may be required.
Adults aged 20 to 64 years: OHIP does not cover comprehensive eye examinations for this age group. These individuals have private insurance coverage or pay out-of-pocket. Some exceptions to OHIP coverage apply depending on the medical condition. Ask your optometrist if you qualify.
What services are NOT covered by OHIP?thefullnelsons2020-05-31T11:48:19+00:00
Additional comprehensive eye exams during the same year of an OHIP-covered exam.
Eye examinations that are required by potential employers or other third parties.
Contact lens fitting exams and progress checks
Retinal imaging (such as retinal photography, ocular coherence tomography, Heidelberg retinal tomography, etc)
Laser refractive surgery co-management (pre- and post-operative) visits
Treatments, such as :
Low vision aids
Vision Therapy (Eye co-ordination exercises)
Medications to manage diseases of the eye and surrounding tissues.
Tele-Optometry Services ( Phone or Video Consultation)
Are eye examinations covered by private or third party insurance?thefullnelsons2020-04-09T23:11:32+00:00
In 2004, the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care removed OHIP coverage for regular eye examinations for adult patients between the ages of 20 to 64. Only adult patients with certain medical conditions are covered for annual eye examinations under the Schedule of Benefits for Optometry Services.
The Ontario Association of Optometrists (OAO) promotes the importance of regular comprehensive eye examinations. If your eye examination is not covered by OHIP, check your health insurance company’s benefit plan (i.e., Manulife, Sun Life, Green Shield of Canada, Great West Life) for vision care coverage for eye exams, eyewear, and other optometry services. Many employers have extended health-care benefits for employees. OAO encourages you to contact your insurance carrier for further information.
Optometrists can choose to either directly bill a third party insurance provider or the patient. If a patient pays for an insured service, the third party may reimburse all or part of the fee.
Are eye examinations important for children?thefullnelsons2020-04-09T23:23:36+00:00
Comprehensive eye exams with an optometrist are the only way to tell if your child’s eye are developing properly. Many eye health problems can be treated if they are caught early. For example, a lazy eye can be completely corrected if it is detected and treated early.
Eye exams also make sure your child is able to learn. Children who cannot see the board, focus on a picture or follow words in a book may struggle to achieve their full learning potential. Vision problems can also impact their hand-eye coordination for physical activities and even impact their social development. Almost three-quarters of Ontario’s parents are unaware that vision problems can cause speech difficulties, nearly two-third are unaware that they can lead to developmental delays and half of parents do not realize that a vision problem may be the cause of short attention spans in children.
Undetected and untreated vision problems often cause reading difficulties, and can cause the same signs and symptoms that are commonly attributed to issues such as ADHD, dyslexia and speech problems.
I have diabetes. Do I need an eye examination?thefullnelsons2020-04-09T23:27:20+00:00
Diabetes is a serious and sometimes fatal disease deriving from the body’s inability to produce or effectively use insulin, a hormone that controls the amount of blood glucose (sugar), which is an energy source. Since individuals living with diabetes do not produce or effectively use insulin, they are prone to high blood sugar levels, which can damage organs, blood vessels, and nerves.
Symptoms of diabetes:
Signs and symptoms of diabetes include, but are not limited to:
• Blurred vision
• Unusual thirst
• Frequent urination
• Weight change (gain or loss)
• Extreme fatigue or lack of energy
• Frequent or recurring infections
• Cuts and bruises that are slow to heal
• Tingling or numbness in the hands or feet
How does diabetes affect the eyes?
Diabetes can seriously affect your eyes, causing temporary or permanent vision loss. That is why annual eye exams are critical for people living with diabetes, and are covered by OHIP regardless of age.
An eye exam can detect the presence of diabetes, as well diabetes-related eye problems such as:
Diabetic retinopathy occurs when there is a weakening or swelling of the tiny blood vessels inside your eye. This results in blood leakage, the growth of new blood vessels and other changes.
Glaucoma is associated with elevated pressure within the eye and can lead to serious vision loss if not detected and treated at an early stage.
Cataracts cause cloudy vision and glare due to the lens inside the eye losing its transparency over time. Cataracts can require changes to your glasses or surgical removal.
Full or partial paralysis of muscles that move the eyes
This can lead to eye misalignment, and consequently double vision.
Decreased corneal sensitivity
Diabetes can damage the nerve endings of the cornea (the clear dome-shaped covering the front of the eye). This can lessen the cornea’s ability to respond to stimulation, such as a foreign body.
Vision problems. For example:
– Fluctuating or blurring of vision
– Occasional double vision
– Loss of visual field
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