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How can I get my vision assessed?
Keeping your eyes healthy can help reduce the risk of developing an eye disease and help you preserve your remaining sight if you do develop issues.
If you think that you may have sight loss the first step is to have your vision assessed.
Sight loss can be caused by eye problems present from birth, conditions that appear later in life, infections, or environmental factors.
You can choose to visit any optometrist in your area, however the Ontario Health Insurance Program (OHIP) does not cover comprehensive eye examinations for adults between the ages of 20 and 64 years old except in certain circumstances. You can ask your optometrist for details.
OHIP will cover the following eye care services:
- 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.
Some optometric services not covered by OHIP:
- 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 like insurance.
- 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
Some treatments are also not covered by OHIP, such as:
- Contact lenses
- Low vision aids
- Vision Therapy (Eye coordination exercises)
- Medications to manage diseases of the eye and surrounding tissues.
What kinds of doctors monitor eye health?
An optometrist is an eye doctor who performs eye examinations, diagnoses eye disease, treats common eye disorders and may prescribe medication in some provinces. They also prescribe glasses and contact lenses, are trained to dispense low-vision aids and provide visual training.
Optometrists have graduated from optometry school with a minimum of five years of post-secondary education to obtain the professional designation “Doctor of Optometry (OD).” You can find more information about optometrists on the Canadian Association of Optometrists website.
If you have more complex issues or eye diseases you may need to see an ophthalmologist. An ophthalmologist is a graduate of medical school, with internships and additional residency training in the refractive, medical and surgical treatment of eye diseases. You can learn more about ophthalmologists on the Canadian Ophthalmological Society website.
What resources are available for people who are blind or have low-vision?
Through the Assistive Devices Program (ADP), you can have help covering the cost of:
- specialized glasses, magnifiers and other optical aids
- audio players for reading books
- Perkins and other manual braillers for writing
- CCTV and computer-based reading and writing systems
- white canes for orientation and mobility
You can learn more about these devices and how much is covered and the things that don’t qualify on the ADP - Visual Aids section.
You can apply for up to:
- three optical aids
- one reading aid
- one writing aid
- one orientation and mobility aid
You can find businesses or 'vendors' that are registered with the ADP on their website.
Ontario’s Blind – Low Vision Early Intervention Program - is designed to give children who are born blind or with low vision the best possible start in life. Specialized family-centred services are funded by the province and are available for children from birth to Grade 1. There are Family Support, Intervention Services and Consultation Services.
You can learn more about this program on the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services site. You may also find information about services for children in other languages.
Assistance for Children with Severe Disabilities Program - If you are a parent caring for a child with a severe disability, you may be able to receive financial support through this program. It provides financial support for low- to moderate-income families to cover some of the extra costs of caring for a child who has a severe disability. The program is funded by the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services.
For More Information
- Assistive Devices Program - If you have a long-term physical disability, you can get help paying for equipment and supplies when you qualify for the Assistive Devices Program. From the Ontario Government.
- Services for people who are Deaf or deafblind - From the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services
- About the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) - Official information about the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP). From the Ministry of Community and Social Services.
- Library Services For People Who Are Blind - Access a world of books and information through specialized library services in your community. From the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB).
- Braille Resources - Resources for youth, families, educators or anyone interested in learning more about braille and literacy options for those with sight loss. From the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB).
February 4, 2019