Frequently Asked Questions

If you don’t find the information you need here, please don’t hesitate to call.

How much does an eye exam cost?

A comprehensive eye exam with pupil dilation costs $97. This fee includes digital fundus photography when indicated, at the doctor’s discretion. Depending on your examination results, additional diagnostic procedures may be recommended. These tests, along with any follow-up appointments required to monitor a condition, are billed per test. We will always indicate upfront which supplemental procedures are billed outside the regular exam fee. No surprises at check-out.

Will my insurance cover my eye exam and glasses?

Your insurance benefits are part of a personal contract between yourself, your employer, and your insurance provider. We are not able to access the policy details and cannot determine what coverage you have. It is best to check your documentation or call the company to determine this information ahead of time. Please bring your insurance information along if you would like us to bill directly, as we do not keep this information on record from past visits.

Can you bill my insurance directly?

We are happy to facilitate your claim by submitting directly to most major plans. Please bring your insurance information along if you would like us to do so, as we do not keep this information on record from past visits. If your provider is not set up for direct billing, we would be happy to provide you with extra copies of your receipt to submit your own claims.

When will OHIP pay for my eye exam?

OHIP covers one comprehensive eye exam per year until the day you turn 20, and again to those 65 years and older. Follow-up appointments are also covered for these age groups. Second opinions are not covered by OHIP. Third party examination requests (ex. Ministry of Transportation, RCMP application) are not covered by OHIP.

OHIP will also cover an annual examination for those between age 20 and 64 when certain sight-threatening eye diseases are diagnosed. These include clinically-significant cataract, glaucoma, retinal disease, strabismus, amblyopia, keratitis, recurrent uveitis, and optic pathway disease. You are also covered by OHIP for annual exams if you have diabetes. Individuals who carry these diagnoses are also entitled to as many follow-up examinations as necessary as long as they are related to the initial condition. For example, you might be seen three times a year for your glaucoma diagnosis, and those appointments are covered. If, however, you develop an eye infection within the year, that appointment would not be covered because it is dealing with an unrelated issue.

OHIP does not cover the cost of appointments related to therapies, such as contact lens assessments, low vision training, or vision therapy. In addition, second opinions and third party requests (ie. Ministry of Transportation) are not covered for any age group.

Can I get an appointment today?

While it certainly doesn’t hurt to ask, in most instances we are booking appointments 3-5 weeks out. If you require a very specific day or time, your wait may be longer. We would be happy to put you on our Early List, so we know to call whenever we have an opening in the schedule due to another cancellation. That said, if you can’t make it to your scheduled appointment, we greatly appreciate a phone call so we may offer the time slot to someone else in need.

When is the next available appointment?

Generally, we are booking routine exams 3 -5 weeks out. We do reserve time in the schedule each day, however, to see emergencies such as acute vision loss, trauma, and eye infection. If you are noticing changes in your eyes or vision, please call Jen at 519-863-3219 and she will help triage the urgency of your visit.

How often should I get my eyes checked?

The Canadian Association of Optometrists recommends the following schedule for those at low risk:

Infants and Toddlers (Birth to 24 months): Infants and toddlers should undergo their first eye examination between the ages of 6 and 9 months.
Preschool Children (2 to 5 years): Preschool children should undergo at least one eye examination between the ages of 2 and 5 years.
School Age Children (6 to 19 years): School children aged 6 to 19 years should undergo an eye examination annually.
Adults (20 to 39 years): Adults aged 20 to 39 years should undergo an eye examination every 2 to 3 years.
Adults (40 to 64 years): Adults aged 40 to 64 years should undergo an eye examination every 2 years.
Adults (65 years or older): Adults aged 65 years or older should undergo an eye examination annually.

Please note that these are minimum recommendations for those with no history of eye disease. Your optometrist may recommend a more frequent examination schedule if you have signs of active disease or are at higher risk of changes.

When should children have their first eye exam?

Believe it or not, children do not need to be able to read a letter or even a picture chart to have their eyes tested.  The doctor can use many other non-invasive tests to assess visual function before a child even learns to speak.  In fact, the Canadian Association of Optometrists recommends children have their first eye examination between 6 and 9 months of age, and then at least one exam between ages 2-5.  Early detection greatly improves prognosis for many of the eye problems seen in children.

What should I bring to my eye exam?

Please bring any glasses and contact lenses you currently use, a list of your medications, your health card, and insurance documentation, if applicable. If you are on social assistance, please provide a copy of your drug benefit card.

Can I have a copy of my prescription?

Always. You won’t even need to ask! Even when you intend to buy glasses from us, we encourage you to carry a copy of your eyeglass prescription in your wallet in case you ever lose or break your glasses when you’re far from home.

What do these numbers mean?

The numbers on your prescription specify the power (curvature) of the lenses needed to focus light clearly on each retina. You may be near- or far-sighted, have astigmatism, have prism, and/or presbyopia. The combination of these values comprises the prescription.

What is my pupillary distance?

The pupillary distance, or PD, is not part of the prescription and is measured by the person ordering your spectacles. If you are purchasing glasses from us, we take this and several other measurements to ensure the lenses are centered correctly in your frame. The fee for these measurements is included in the Professional Fee portion of your purchase price, which also covers ongoing adjustments, repairs, cleaning and shipping costs. If you would like us to provide your PD as a standalone service, we are happy to do so but appropriate fees will apply.

Can you change the lenses in my current frame?

Often we can, if you are able to be without your glasses for three days while the frame is sent out for your lenses to be shaped and inserted. Some people think this option is a way to keep the cost down, but if your old frame breaks a week after you get new lenses, it can be difficult or impossible to find another frame that they fit into. Instead, you might consider checking out our value packaged frame lines, which come with a new frame and lenses at a comparable price and have a new warranty from purchase date.

Why do you need to know my medications?

Medications and the conditions they are treating can affect the eyes and vision in a plethora of ways. Many people do not realize that eye exams frequently help diagnose hypertension, high cholesterol, impending stroke, diabetes, MS, autoimmune disease, brain tumours, and more. Medications can cause focussing problems, dry eye disease, tissue deposits, light sensitivity, and even vision loss. In order to give you the most thorough exam, the doctor needs to know your risk profile. If you would rather not share this information, we will still test your eyes and we will report any unexplained findings to your family doctor if you prefer.

What is this test for?

Please, ask! Dr. Laurie believes an informed patient is an accountable patient, so she loves when you ask questions! If you’re the type of person who wants to know — believe it or not, some people are squeamish when it comes to their eyes and definitely don’t want to know– she will gladly explain what each test is looking for as she does it.

Do I need drops today?

Dr. Laurie prefers to examine the retina through a dilated pupil, and pupillary dilation is accomplished with eye drops, so yes. Think of it this way: You are home alone one night and you hear noises on your front porch. You know a neighbour recently had his home vandalized. Would you peek through the keyhole on your front door and decide everything is fine? Or would you look out the window, turn on the light, and be sure? The possible vandal here is eye disease that threatens your vision. Would you prefer the doctor look through your non-dilated pupil (the keyhole) and declare that’s good enough? She can’t see much that way… Instead, she dilates the pupil (like a big window) and turns on a light to get a really good look around to be sure there’s nothing lurking in the background!

Do you use the air puff machine? I hate that thing!

The so-called ‘air puff machine’ is one way to measure the internal pressure of the eyeball, or IOP. Three bursts of air blowing at your eyeball sounds great, right? Nah, we don’t like it either. The air puff is a screening test for IOP and if your measurement is outside normal limits, generally you should be tested again by another piece of equipment that is more accurate. So why do the puff at all? Dr. Laurie prefers to measure eye pressure the more accurate way on everybody. No air puff… and not nearly as many complaints.