Eye Health Questions
- Why Do I Need An Eye Exam?
- Why Choose THIS Clinic for an Eye Exam?
- Can You Please Explain the Three O’s
- Can Optometrists Really Prescribe Drugs Now?
- At What Age Should My Child Start Getting Eye Exams?
- Who is covered by OHIP and who isn’t?
- I have to pay extra to use the retinal camera. Is it really that important for this digital imaging?
- Isn’t buying contacts online cheaper and more convenient than buying from an eye doctor?
- Am I obligated to buy glasses here?
- I heard you do home visitations now. Can anyone request for that and is it still going to be a full eye exam?
Why Do I Need An Eye Exam?
The obvious answer is that if you can’t see as well as you’d like, then you need an eye exam to see if you need glasses or contact lenses. Well, what if you can see perfectly fine? Do you still need to get your eyes checked? If you want to ensure that the good vision you currently enjoy stays with you for a long time, then, the answer is YES as well!
Studies have shown that 20/20 vision, although it’s good to have, is not a proper indicator of good eye health. Many eye diseases present with absolutely no symptoms at all. And it may stay that way, unnoticed, for many years. Unfortunately, by the time any changes are detected, even slightly, it may be too late to cure the problem. A lot of medical treatments are simply used to slow down the advancements of such diseases. They cannot bring back what’s already lost. A regular check up means early detection, which leads to early prevention of any problems before it’s too late.
Kids often do not notice that they are relying on only one eye on a daily basis. Simply because they’ve been functioning this way since birth, they do not realize what they’re really missing. On certain occasions, a lazy eye involves lazy muscles around the eye, so parents and teachers can detect this “eye-turn” and the child can be seen on time. On the other hand, many incidents of lazy eye do no involve lazy muscles. For these cases, the child cannot see out of one eye, yet both eyes may appear to be straight and normal. Upon early detection and therapy, full vision may be regained and the child may live a normal life, thus competing on equal grounds later in life for visually demanding professions such as piloting, law enforcement, etc. Unfortunately, there is only a small window period where therapy works, and if not caught in time, the eye cannot be saved.
Why Choose THIS Clinic for an Eye Exam?
Yes, technically, you can walk into an optical store, where an optician can probably tell you what your vision is, and then illegally perform a quick refraction to give you a pair of glasses that you can see out of. They may do this at a cheap price, or, perhaps, even for free, as a way to boost their sales. Not only is this illegal, however, but it is also very unethical due to the potential damage to your eye health. A sight-testing does not screen for eye diseases! And as mentioned in the section Why Do I Need an Eye Exam, it is very important to routinely monitor the interior health of your eyes, whether you have good vision or not. That is why this law is put into place. In order to protect the public’s health and interest, you must have a valid prescription from an eye doctor before spectacles or contact lenses are dispensed.
Most, but not all, optical stores would comply with the law. So instead of having an optician perform these illegal activities, they get around this regulation by “hiring” a doctor to perform refraction, either within the store, or right beside the store. Although this type of eye exams may or may not be proper, these doctors usually visit these stores sporadically and may not stay at one location for a very long time. So the next time you want to get your eyes examined, it may be another doctor, starting from scratch. Many diseases, such as glaucoma, cannot be diagnosed on one or two visits. We have to monitor the progress of certain measurements, and compare to previous findings, before a proper diagnosis can be made. Thus, having someone start from scratch every single time is not the best way to take care of your eyes.
At LOOK Davisville Eye Clinic & Boutique, we understand the importance of continuity. We also utilize up-to-date technologies (retinal photography, visual fields, etc.) to properly determine your ocular health status. We want to provide you with the optimal service each and every time so that you can say you have found a HOME for your eye care. We don’t simply do eye exams. Visit us for a COMPREHENSIVE OCULAR ASSESSMENT!!!
Can You Please Explain the Three O’s?
Many patients get confused as to the difference between an optician, an optometrist, and an ophthalmologist. An Optometrist is an eye doctor, a primary care provider for your eyes. For any and all eye problems, on top of annual examinations, your optometrist should be the first person you see. Based on the findings, your optometrist will manage accordingly. If the problem is simply refractive and nothing else plays a role, your optometrist may write a spectacle prescription, which you may take to an Optician. The optician will then dispense a pair of glasses based on the prescription. However, if the problem requires a consult with a specialist, your optometrist will refer you to either an Ophthalmologist or neurologist, etc., depending on what he/she sees fit.
Picture this. You have a headache, you feel dizzy, and you are experiencing double vision. So you check your blood pressure with a machine and it reads a little high. You cannot simply visit your local pharmacy and say you have high blood pressure and hope to get some medications for it. Similarly, you cannot go straight to the cardiologist and say that you think you have blood pressure problems, therefore you guess that your cholesterol is high as well and that predict you are about to have a heart attack. The proper standard of care is to visit your family physician. Perhaps the high blood pressure reading is just a coincidence and has nothing to do with your symptoms at all. If it’s something malignant, you may be referred to a specialist. Or even if your symptoms are indeed blood pressure related, your physician may or may not put you on pills, depending if exercise and diet control would suffice. That is why your family physician is the primary care health provider. Any health concerns, you should go there first before all else and let your family physician determine what the problem is and what course of treatment and management would be ideal in your particular case.
To put it into perspective:
An Optometrist = Family Physician for your eyes
An Optician = Pharmacist for your eyes
An Ophthalmologist = specialist/surgeon for your eyes
Hope this clarifies some misconceptions!
Can Optometrists Really Prescribe Drugs Now?
Yes! If you have an eye infection or some sort of inflammation, your optometrist should be the first health care provider you visit. Drugs we prescribe range from simple antibiotics and steroids to more complicated therapeutics such as ones we use in glaucoma management. Certain oral medications may also be used for various treatments.
At What Age Should My Child Start Getting Eye Exams?
No later than 3. If the child is showing any suspect signs, such as squinting, bumping into things when walking, pulling things closer to see, not recognizing shapes, etc., do come in at once regardless of age. No matter how young a child is, there are certain tests we can perform to determine the visual status of your child. If the child turns out to be problem-free, at least you will gain peace of mind. If the child indeed has any problems, they should be fixed immediately. But if the child appears healthy and does not show any unusual signs, then you can wait until he/she is 3 years old, but no later.
Who is covered by OHIP and who isn’t?
Provided you have a valid Ontario health card, anyone younger than 20 years old or older than 64 are covered for a full eye exam every year and for partial exams if they experience certain problems in between. If you are between 20 and 64, most patients are not covered by OHIP except for a few exceptions. These exceptions include people who have conditions that are medically required to have their eyes checked every year such as diabetes, glaucoma, cataracts, retinal problems, strabismus, amblyopia, or emergency conditions such as keratitis, retinal detachment, etc. If you fall into this category, you are covered for a full exam once a year, with partials in between as needed. If you are on Ontario Works (Social Assistance) or Ontario Disability, you are covered every 2 years.
I have to pay extra to use the retinal camera. Is it really that important for this digital imaging?
Yes. Although a full eye exam without digital imaging can provide you important information for your eyes, photo-documentation is, by far, the superior approach and the new standard of care. Imagine the old method of documentation. How accurate would it be for us to draw every single little blood vessels we see, and compare the drawings to the ones we made years ago? Now, one shot can capture the current state of health on the internal structures of your eyes, such as the optic nerve, the macula (central vision), the retina, blood vessels, etc.
Even if your eyes are healthy, this is a recommended procedure for all first time patients to establish a baseline, since years from now, your eyes may appear to be in a healthy state on their own, but not when compared to old photos.
Obviously, this is not something that needs to be done on every visit (unless there are certain concerns that need to be monitored closely such as retinopathy and macular degeneration). But for most patients, it is a onetime procedure and won’t need to be repeated until ocular changes have been noted.
Isn’t buying contacts online cheaper and more convenient than buying from an eye doctor?
No and No. There seems to be a common misconception that purchasing contact lenses online is cheaper. If you compare the price closely, you will find that this is not the case. And in terms of convenience, there are certain products where we can have the manufacturer ship to you for free instead of having you come pick up your lenses.
Am I obligated to buy glasses here?
No, definitely not. We are health care practitioners and our main goal is to assess and communicate the status of your vision and eye health. You may or may not need glasses after an exam. And even if you do need glasses, you are not obligated to get spectacles or contact lenses from us. The reason we have a dispensary is for your convenience, to give you that one-stop, all-inclusive care for your eyes. We provide great service and if you shop around, you’ll find out that our prices, even for the brand name frames, are VERY competitive. But wherever you get your glasses is always up to you. We want to give you the best possible eye exam. Then we’ll give you your prescription as well for you to keep and to bring it wherever you’d like.
I heard you do home visitations now. Can anyone request for that and is it still going to be a full eye exam?
For those who are unable to leave their homes or have difficulties with mobility, we make ourselves available for home visitations. We will bring our hand-held equipment and still perform optometry effectively the way we would in our clinic. Simply put, we will visit you at your home to check your eyes and provide a full eye exam (refraction, ocular health, etc.)