How often should I get my eyes checked?
- Children 6 months, to the age 19 - every year
- Adults 20-50 - every year for those that wear contact lenses, or have eye concerns, else every one to two years
- Adults 50+ - every year to check for eye health concerns: cataract, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration.
Why do children need eye exams?
- 80% of learning is done through the eyes.
- school-aged children
- one in four children have a vision problem serious enough to affect their learning and development.
- Have you taken the Eye-Q test?
What are the differences between an optician, optometrist and ophthalmologist?
When you are experiencing any blurry vision, the first person you need to go to is your optometrist. She/he is essentially your family doctor for the eye. If the blurry vision is due to a need to update your glasses, the optometrist will write you the glasses prescription, so you can go to the optician to get it made. The optician will fill the prescription like the pharmacist, and dispense a pair of glasses for you. If the blurry vision is due to an eye disease such as cataract, your optometrist may monitor it or refer you to the ophthalmologist. The ophthalmologist is the surgeon who may perform cataract surgery to improve your vision if necessary.
Is my glasses prescription different than my contact lens prescription? Why?
A prescription for contact lenses contains other information that may specify the brand, material, size, and curvature of the contact lenses that are most appropriate for your comfort and vision. Sometimes the contact lens power may be different from what is specified for glasses to account for the way contact lenses fit closer to the eye than glasses. Sometimes, a different company makes the contact lens a little differently, that it may be a different power when you change a brand of contact lenses. To assess you for contact lenses, a contact lens fitting is required after the full eye exam to assess for the power, size, curvature, and brand that is right for you. A contact lens follow up is then required (at no extra charge) for two week lenses, monthly lenses, or yearly lenses to complete the fit, to make sure there is no risk of infection.
My child is 3 years old. Is he old enough to get his eyes checked?
Yes. Eye exams can be performed for as young as 6 months old. At that stage, although the child is not very responsive, objective tests can be done to rule out strabismus (eyes turned in or out), congenital cataract, and congenital glaucoma for prompt treatment. Strabismus surgery need to be done no later than six years old to make sure the brain makes the right connections after the two eyes are re-aligned. Cataract and glaucoma surgery should be done as soon as detected. Not every Optometrist would see young children. Do ask when you make the appointment. In York region and some other regions of Ontario, there is a Eye See Eye Learn programs that funds one pair of glasses for children in JK, entry to school. Please see Eye See Eye Learn for details or ask your eye doctor.
Who is covered under OHIP for an annual eye exam in Ontario?
- Children up to and including age 19
- Adults 65+
- Adults 20-64 with certain conditions, see coverage or ask your Optometrist.
- Partial exams covered for the above groups as needed
Why are drops put in my eyes?
One type of drop is used primarily in adults in a diagnostic test to help determine the pressure within the eye to determine the risk of developing glaucoma. Another drop may be used to dilate the pupils to get a clear view of the retina (the back of the eye) to check the internal health of the eyes. It is recommended that you bring a pair of sunglasses and a driver in case the dilating drops make your eyes more light sensitive and blurry than expected. Drops may also be occasionally used in children to determine an accurate prescription for glasses if they are overly-active during the eye exam.
What should I bring to the eye exam?
It is helpful to bring your most recent pair of glasses, your Ontario health card, as well as a list of all your current medications and eye drops used.
I am seeing very well with my eyes. Why do I still need an eye exam?
Although you may be able to see well, your eye health may not be at it's best level. For example, someone may have perfect 20/20 vision but may be developing glaucoma, pituitary gland enlargement, eye cancer or other sight threatening condition with no initial symptoms. This is why having a regular eye exam is important for everyone, regardless of how well you see.
Can my Optometrist help me with laser eye surgery?
Laser eye surgery, either LASIK or PRK, can be co-managed by your optometrist. Please inform your optometrist at your next visit and she will guide you through the next steps.