FAQs including information about eye exams, LASIK laser eye surgery, and contact lenses.
How often should I have my eyes examined?
Annual eye exams are recommended for children to ensure that their eyes are developing properly. Additionally, annual eye exams are recommended for seniors over the age of 65 because as we age we increase the likelihood of developing certain eye conditions. For the rest of the population (ages 20-64), an eye exam should be obtained once every 2 years, despite how well you feel you are seeing. Since the eye is the only place we can see your blood vessels without cutting you open, our eyes tell us a lot about your current state of health. Having an eye exam becomes a great preventative measure for many major systemic conditions that an individual would not necessarily know is happening. This being said, the eye doctor may increase or decrease the need for more or less frequent eye exams. For example, diabetic patients, as well as those individuals who have a strong family history of glaucoma, retinal detachments or macular degeneration should be having yearly eye exams.
Who is covered by Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP)?
OHIP covers annual eye exams for children under the age of 19 and seniors over the age of 65. Patients between the ages of 20-64 are only covered if they have certain health or eye conditions including; Diabetes, Strabismus, Cataracts, Glaucoma, Keratitis, Keratoconus, Retinal problems, or Optic nerve problems. For those on Ontario Works (OW) and Ontario Disability and Support Program (ODSP), OHIP covers a complete eye exam once every two years. Also, individuals who have Native Indian Status are covered for an eye exam through Indian Affairs once every two years. If you have any questions about OHIP or Status coverage please call our office and we would be happy to address your concerns.
What age should children have their first eye exam?
Children can have an eye exam as early at 6 months old. Optometrists are trained to check the vision and ocular health of infants and children to make sure that their eyes are developing properly and to ensure that they can perform their best in the classroom. Occasionally, parents assume that there isn’t a way to assess vision if their child is not yet able to communicate properly or if they don’t yet know their alphabet or numbers. This is not true. There are many objective measurements the doctor can use to determine what the child is seeing and if they need a spectacle correction.
Many common visual conditions that children have can be corrected if they are caught early, including Amblyopia and Strabismus (commonly referred to as ‘lazy eye’). In many cases, parents assume that their children can see properly because they have not been complaining of anything. However, a child will assume that what they are seeing is normal and is what everyone else is seeing. They are not aware of how they should be seeing and therefore will not complain about it. Some common symptoms that suggest your child may be having a vision problem include, headaches, squinting, eyestrain, hyperactivity, and an inability to focus on homework. In many cases, if your child is not performing well in school, it may simply be because they cannot see clearly or have a binocular vision disorder that makes them uncomfortable when reading or doing any near work. If you notice any of these symptoms, a good place to start would be to schedule your child for a complete eye exam with an optometrist.
Am I a good candidate for LASIK or Refractive Eye Surgery?
The first step in determining whether you qualify as a good candidate for refractive eye surgery is to have a comprehensive eye exam to make sure your eyes are healthy and able to undergo surgery. When considering refractive surgery, it is important to have a prescription that has been stable over at least two years to ensure that your surgical procedure is successful and that you are happy with the outcome. Another important factor to consider when thinking about having laser surgery is to make sure that if you have any symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome, that your eyes are examined and treated before you move forward with the procedure because the symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome can be greatly exacerbated by surgery. The next step would be to have a few extra tests done, including pachymetry and a binocular vision workup. These tests will help us determine which procedure is best suited for your eyes as well as your prescription and will also ensure that your eye coordination will be unaffected following the procedure.
If you have more specific questions about refractive eye surgery, our office offers a free LASIK consultation day once a month for all of our patients who are interested in surgery to meet with a certified LASIK consultant and discuss surgical options that are best suited for your eyes.
Why do I need a contact lens fitting?
Contact lenses are considered medical devices and need to be properly fit to your unique corneal curvature and diameter. There are many complications that can occur if a patient is not careful and responsible with their contact lens replacement schedule and/or their ocular hygiene. Optometrists have extensive training and clinical experience when it comes to fitting contact lenses. Here at Yonge & College Optometry we fit all types of contact lenses including the newest daily disposable contact lenses, as well as 2 week disposable, colored, monthly extended wear lenses, multifocal and monovision lenses. We also fit rigid gas permeable contact lenses and specialty lenses for certain eye conditions that require them. We work continuously with the newest advancements in technology of contact lens materials, breathability and wetability in order to provide our patients with the most comfortable and healthiest options available.
A good contact lens fit starts with a proper eye exam and an up-to-date spectacle prescription. The eye exam ensures that there are no pre-existing ocular surface issues that could interfere with successful contact lens wear and potentially damage the cornea. The optometrist will then fit you in a contact lens with the best modality that fits your lifestyle, while maintaining the optimal health to the ocular surface. You’ll be able to try some contact lenses in the office and are often encouraged to take samples home to make sure you are happy with the vision and comfort before placing an order to optimize patient satisfaction.