Frequently Asked Questions about Eye Exams

Why Have A Comprehensive Eye Exam?

Eye exams are essential for a number of reasons - some more widely recognized than others. Eye exams test the functionality of your eyes, ensuring that you can see to the best of your ability. Eye tests reveal whether or not you require corrective lenses or preventative/reparative surgery, as well as any ocular disease detection and prescribing the medical treatment for it if required.

Beyond testing for far- and near-sightedness, comprehensive eye exams will detect more sinister diseases and defects that may degenerate vision. Regular eye exams are crucial because, once damage has been done to an eye, in most cases it cannot be repaired. Therefore, preventative efforts are key to preserving your sight.

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Read more about the necessity of comprehensive eye exams here.

What Happens During an Eye Exam?

A comprehensive eye exam will usually last up to an hour. During this time your optometrist will painlessly check and evaluate every component of your vision.

The first test is typically that of visual acuity, which is a measurement of how well you see. This test includes identifying letters from varying distances to demonstrate the sharpness and clarity of your eyes and vision.

Your eye doctor will also check your central and peripheral vision. This is a short test where one eye is covered and the patient must identify when the testing object becomes visible to the alternative eye. This is a crucial component of the test as the health of each aspect of your eye directly impacts your ability to see. Further, peripheral vision is essential for driving and safely completing other daily activities.

The next test, called the cover test, measures how well your eyes work together. This will ensure that one eye is not compensating for the other, which may result in straining and discomfort.

After evaluating the activity of the eyes, your optometrist will begin to measure refraction. These tests allow your eye doctor to identify whether you are near or far sighted, or suffer from astigmatism. For those of us who have already had an eye exam, this is the part of the test that sounds like, "Which lens looks better, A or B?"

Your optometrist will perform several other brief and pain-free tests that expose the overall health of your eyes. These tests will reveal your risk of developing glaucoma and other diseases that impact the function of the eyes. If your tests reveal that you require a prescription or other proactive measures, then your eye doctor can take action immediately to protect your vision and eye health.

How much is an eye exam? Is it covered by OHIP?

The cost of eye exams can vary greatly depending upon a number of factors. Some of the factors that may impact the cost of your exam include:

IMG_1603 Who performs the test, where the testing takes place, what types of tests are included and whether the exam includes contact lens-related services.

Having your eyes tested at a private medical clinic could be slightly more expensive than at a generic public venue. However, this incremental increase in price should not deter you from seeking care at an optimum facility. Boutique eye care facilities offer specialized care from optometrists. It is in your best interest to develop a long-term medical relationship with your optometrist. This familiarity will breed an informative knowledge base, ensuring that you receive the best possible care. If you are pricing optometry offices, be sure to ask who will perform your eye exam and what type of tests will be conducted.

OHIP covers annual eye exams for persons under 20 or 65 and over. If you are between the ages of 20-64, you may also be covered for a major eye exam once every 12 months. However, you only receive this coverage if you have a medical condition that necessitates regular testing.

How Should I Prepare for an Eye Exam?

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If you have never had an eye exam or if you have recently changed optometrists, make sure that you know where you are going. It is important to show up a few minutes early to fill out any paper work that your eye doctor may require. This is also a great time to prepare a list of questions that you would like to ask your optometrist.

If you wear prescription glasses or contact lenses, be sure to bring a pair. Also, bring your prescription with you. That way, your optometrist will have a point of reference when beginning the appointment. Additionally, be sure to bring a list of medications that you use and provide a list of relevant medical history.

Before visiting the optometrist, research your insurance company to gain a better understanding of fees and exemptions. Inform your optometrist's receptionist which insurance company you would like to charge. If you do not have insurance, pre-emptively check what forms of payment your doctor's office accepts.