Does OHIP cover my eye exam?

OHIP provides the following coverage for eye exams:

Children up to 19 years of age: One eye examination annually

Adults age 20 to 64 years: As of November 1, 2004, OHIP no longer covers the cost of eye exams for adults unless they have certain conditions which affect their vision. Examples of these include diabetes, visually significant cataracts, and glaucoma. Other conditions may be determined at the time of your appointment. Those patients who fall into these categories are allowed one full eye examination annually.

Adults 65 years of age and over: One full eye examination annually

Please see the MOHLTC Website for more information.

How do I get a New Health Card?

A valid health card is required to obtain OHIP coverage for your eye exam. The new Ontario Health Card is issued with an expiry date. If your card has expired, is lost or stolen, contact SERVICE ONTARIO for information on how to renew your health card.

Are my glasses covered by my Insurance Company?

Private insurance coverage is an agreement between the subscriber and the insurance carrier. This may be insurance provided as an employment benefit or which has been purchased personally. All insurance coverage is not the same and does change from time to time. Optometrist’s offices do not receive information on the coverage from either the insurance companies or the local employers, and therefore do not know specific benefits or policies. Due to Federal (PIPEDA) and Provincial privacy legislation, insurance companies will not release to the office basic information such as eligibility dates or available coverage.

It is your responsibility to know your insurance coverage and eligibility dates. Please see your provider for more information.

What eye health benefits does 1st Nations provide?

Health Canada provides benefits for 1st Nations through the Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) program. This benefit covers one full eye examination every two years. Any additional appointments may not be covered and the fee will be the responsibility of the patient. These may include visual fields, contact lens assessments, fundus photography, and emergencies. Let the office know if you are covered by this program when booking your appointment. We will need your status number to receive prior approval from 1st Nations for your appointment.

There is also limited coverage for glasses through the NIHB program.

1st Nations requires that you use any available private insurance or OHIP coverage before requesting payment through the NIHB program.

For further information please see the First Nations, Inuit and Aboriginal Health’s Website.

What eye health benefits do ODSP and Ontario Works provide?

The Ontario Disability Support Plan and Ontario Works cover one full eye examination every two years. Any additional appointments are not covered and the fee is the responsibility of the patient. These may include visual fields, contact lens assessments, fundus photography, and emergencies.

Let the office know if you are covered by one of these programs when booking your appointment. You are responsible for bringing a valid health card and the drug card for the month of the appointment to the office.

These programs also have some coverage for glasses. The entire cost of the glasses is not usually covered. Please talk to our dispensary staff or see the ODSP Website for more information.

What are the Ministry of Transportation vision requirements?

Optometrists are required by law to report to the Ministry of Transportation any patient who does not meet the regulated requirements for vision. There are no exceptions.

License Classes G (passenger vehicle), M (motorcycle):

Visual Acuity of not poorer than 20/50 with both eyes open and examined together.
Horizontal visual field of 120 continuous degrees along the horizontal meridian and 15 continuous degrees above and below fixation with both eyes open and examined together.

License Classes A/AZ (tractor trailer), B (school bus), C (transit bus/motor coach), D (dump truck), E (small school bus), F (ambulance):

Visual Acuity of not poorer than 20/30 with both eyes open and examined together, with the worse eye no poorer than 20/100.
Horizontal visual field of 150 continuous degrees along the horizontal meridian and 20 continuous degrees above and below fixation with both eyes open and examined together.

A waiver program is in place for Class G, G1, G2 applicants and holders who do not meet the horizontal visual field standard.

For more information visit the Ontario Ministry of Transportation Website.

How often should my eyes be checked?

Everyone has different needs for their eyes so it is advised that you follow the specific recommendation of your doctor. In general, the following guidelines are recommended by our clinic:


Children up to 20 years of age
Contact Lens wearers
Adults with diabetes
Adults with, or at risk of developing, an ocular disease
Adults greater than 64 years of age

Every 2 years:

Healthy adults between the ages of 19 and 65:

Why may I need dilation drops?

Your Optometrist may recommend that drops be used to dilate your pupils during your examination. These drops enable your doctor to get a better view of the inside of your eyes. Dilation drops allow for a comprehensive retinal examination for patients with high risk backgrounds such as diabetes, high blood pressure, macular degeneration, and high myopic (nearsighted) prescriptions. Temporary effects of the drops include blurred vision (depending on your prescription) and light sensitivity which can last 3 to 4 hours on average. Your eyes return to normal once the drops have worn off. Your doctor will decide how often this type of examination is necessary depending on age, general health and family history. For your safety, we recommend that you bring sunglasses and a driver to the appointment if you know that your eyes will be dilated.

I see 20/20. Why do I need an eye exam?

A full eye examination includes a check of your eye health (ocular health) as well as your prescription. Many eye diseases can occur without symptoms, so it is important to have a routine eye exam to screen for potential problems. Some eye diseases include:

Macular Degeneration
Vascular changes
Retinal Breaks/Tears/Holes/Detachments

Please browse our Vision Library for more information on any of the above conditions

Glasses can’t improve my vision; what do I do now?

Some people have a decreased visual acuity that cannot be corrected using glasses or contacts. These people are considered to have low vision. If a person’s visual acuity is less than 20/200 with both eyes open they are considered to be legally blind. The CNIB (Canadian National Institute for the Blind) offers vision assessments for both the legally blind and those with low vision. They can determine which visual aids (magnifiers/ CCTV / mobility training etc) can best help you with the tasks you have trouble with because of your vision. It is useful to have an idea of certain tasks you have trouble with before meeting with the CNIB. (cooking / reading / needlepoint etc). Your Optometrist can help you get signed up and you can meet with the CNIB at one of their offices, at a community-wide meeting, or within your own home.
For more information about the CNIB, please visit their Website.

The Ontario government offers some funding for low vision devices. The CNIB will determine if you qualify for this service during the vision assessment. For more information about the Assisted Devices Program, click here.

I am pregnant/ breastfeeding. Should I still get my eyes checked?

Yes, sometimes vision can change during pregnancy. This is especially true for patients with certain systemic diseases such as diabetes. You should let your Optometrist know if you are pregnant or of any complications of your pregnancy, such as gestational diabetes. There are some eye drops which may be used during your exam. You have the option of opting out of the drops if you do not feel comfortable taking them while pregnant/ breastfeeding. Your Optometrist can discuss with you the pros and cons of the drops. For more information about medications and pregnancy, please visit the Motherisk Website or call (416) 813-6780.

My contacts feel fine, why do I need an eye exam?

Contacts are a regulated medical device which, if not monitored properly, can result in serious complications to your eye health and vision. Many of these conditions have no symptoms noticeable to the patient until they reach an extreme stage. Ongoing care (at least annual eye exams) minimizes the long term risks to your eyes.

When should I bring my child in for their first exam?

The Ontario Association of Optometrists recommends a child have a full eye exam by 6 months of age, 1-2 years of age and before starting school. See the Ontario Association of Optometrists website for more important information on eye examinations for children.

What is Pink Eye?

Conjunctivitis or pink eye is an inflammation of the conjunctiva; the membrane on the inner part of the eyelid and the membrane covering the white of the eye. The reaction can be caused by bacteria, viruses, allergies, irritants, or toxic agents. Treatment can range from antibiotics, (topical or oral) to allergy drops, to hot compresses, depending on the cause.

How can I have Dry Eyes if my eyes are watering?

The eyeball is covered by a lubricating tear film which is composed of three layers; MUCUS, WATER, and OIL. These three layers must be in perfect volume and relationship to work properly. In dry eye syndrome it is common for the water content to be reduced to the point that the mucus and oil layers mix together. Our body tries to compensate by producing more water, which comes in contact with the defective tear film and runs off, resulting in excess watering of the eyes. The result is often stringy mucus and symptoms of burning, gritty, sandy eyes with excess tearing. There is no known cure for dry eyes, but your Optometrist will work with you to identify the problem and control the symptoms.
There are other causes of watering eyes such as blocked drainage tubes from the eyelids, therefore you should see your Optometrist to determine the cause.

Is it OK to buy my contacts or glasses online?

While it may seem more convenient to purchase your contacts or glasses online, there are reasons why it is advisable to purchase them at an Optometrists’ office.

Contacts are a regulated medical device which, if not properly fit and monitored, can result in serious complications to your eye health and vision. The professional fitting and on-going care provided by your Optometrist minimizes the long term risks to your eyes. Many of these complications have no symptoms until they reach extreme stages, thus regular appointments are recommended. Patients who purchase their contacts online will be required to pay an additional fee to have the contact lens fit and vision assessed, or will be asked to remove the contacts before their appointment.

Online retailers of glasses will provide a number of frame and lens options to choose from. It is not always possible to determine if the frames are from discontinued stock or the lens options provided include the latest advancements. When purchasing glasses, the frame fit, patient’s prescription, and function of the glasses must be taken into consideration. These services are not available online. Purchasing your glasses from an Optometrist provides face-to-face guidance on the lens design options, proper fit, and function of the glasses. The optometric assistants are trained in taking the required measurements for your bifocal or progressive lenses. Continued care and adjustments of your glasses is included when you purchase them at our office.