|Recently, the eye exam coverage has been reduced by OHIP from once every year to once every 2 years for those between 20 to 65 years of age. On the bright side, minors & seniors continue to be covered annually. Medically necessary services such as eye infections, floaters and flashing lights are also insured by OHIP as needed. Unfortunately, this has been giving mixed messages to patients, creating a lot of confusion. The Ontario Association of Optometrists (OAO) maintains that an annual eye exam is still necessary for the purpose of preventative eye health whether insured by OHIP or not.|
The comprehensive annual eye exam screens for various eye conditions such as vision/focusing difficulty, lazy/turned eye, glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration etc. For this reason, it is critical to have an eye check up even when obvious symptoms are not present. A simple comparison is to a dentist; most of us do not wait until our teeth hurt before seeing a dentist - therefore, blurred vision should not be the only reason to have an eye exam! Various eye conditions are untreatable & irreversible by the time symptoms actually occur.
The positive side to this is that those who are most vulnerable to budget cuts i.e. minors & seniors, are still insured by OHIP annually. What is surprising, however, is that people don’t realize how important eye exams are, specifically for children. Parents must not forget eye exams when booking their childrens’ other annual check ups. Just as yearly physicals & dental check ups are encouraged, eye exams should not be excluded from this list.
Approximately 80% of our learning skills is directly dependent on our vision. This stands to reason that if the focusing skills are not efficient, learning is not maximized! This is very difficult for a child or a parent to evaluate. Since the learning skills that we develop as a child primarily determine our academic success in the future, the annual eye exam for a child, is just as important, if not more, as the annual eye exam is for an adult.
As parents, we should consider it our responsibility to make sure we provide the best possible preventative eye health for not only ourselves, but also our own parents, & just as importantly, our children.