How Often Should You Have an Eye Exam? Canada

When Should You See an Ophthalmologist?

How Often Should You Have an Eye Exam? Canada

It is important to treat our eyes with care throughout our lives.  Ignoring changes in vision or skipping eye examinations puts our most precious faculty at risk.

The Canadian Ophthalmological Society (COS) recommends that adults see an ophthalmologist as soon as possible if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Loss of vision or decreased vision in one or both eyes
  • Changes in vision such as sudden spots, flashes of light, lightning streaks or jagged lines of light, wavy or watery vision, blurry faces, distortions or wavy lines, haloes around lights, double vision
  • Changes in the field of vision such as shadows, curtain- loss of vision, black spots or blurriness in central or peripheral (side) vision
  • Physical changes to the eye such as crossed eyes, eyes that turn in, out, up or down, pain, signs of infection (redness, swelling, discharge, etc.)
  • Changes in colour vision

Having your eyes examined periodically throughout your life and giving a family history of any eye disease is important.

An initial eye exam at six months old helps with early detection of vision problems that can contribute to developmental delays, educational setbacks and behavioural problems in children having difficulty seeing properly.

Healthy adults who do not notice anything wrong with their eyesshould see an eye doctor according to this schedule:

Age 19 to 40: at least every 10 years

Age 41 to 55: at least every 5 years

Age 56 to 65: at least every 3 years

Over age 65: at least every 2 years

Yes.  Canadians at a higher risk include:

  • People with diabetes, thyroid disease, rheumatological diseases such as lupus.
  • People of African or Hispanic descent
  • Anyone with a tendency toward high intraocular pressure
  • Anyone with a family history of glaucoma, cataract, macular degeneration, or retinal detachment
  • Anyone with a previous eye injury
  • People taking certain medications (Plaquanil, Prednisone, Ethambutol are just a few of the medications that can affect the eyes — always ask your prescribing physician if vision can be affected by the meds you take)
  • People already experiencing poor eyesight from any other causes such as cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, etc.

These people should see an eye doctor according to this schedule:

Over age 40: at least every 3 years

Over age 50: at least every 2 years

Over age 60: at least once a year

A diagnostic eye examination requires knowledge and experience provided by a medical doctor with specialty certification in ophthalmology

A refractive examination involves the taking of measurements for visual acuity and the prescribing of correction. This examination does not require a medical doctor.

The use of supporting vision team personnel to perform certain non-medical procedures or tests is appropriate as a means of increasing the availability of ophthalmologists to provide medical services, and to provide comprehensive and efficient eye care to the greatest number of people.

Supporting personnel on the vision team work with and are supervised by ophthalmologists at all times. The ophthalmologist is responsible for the delivery of comprehensive eye care, which includes primary, secondary or tertiary care.


Eye exams: Everything You Need to Know

How Often Should You Have an Eye Exam? Canada

Eye Care Professionals can’t say it enough: regular eye exams are essential to preserving your eye health and vision.

Why are they so important? How often should you have your eyes checked? How much does an eye exam cost? We’ve answered those questions for you! Whether you require vision correction or have almost perfect eyesight, eye exams are important.

Learn more about eye examinations and why you should keep up to date with yours – scroll through our different sections to find the answer to your questions:

What is an eye examination test?

Eye exams are as important as general medical check-ups, as eyes are entirely part of health care. A comprehensive eye exam is performed by an optometrist, to analyze your overall eye health. A regular eye exam schedule is critical to ensuring your eyes are healthy and that your prescription is up to date.

1. Optimizing your vision

Needless to say, good eyesight is essential to your daily life! Vision tests are an important part of the examination. Your Optometrist will test your vision by focusing on different aspects:

  • Refractive error: Do you have a vision problem such as hyperopia, myopia, astigmatism or presbyopia?
  • Overall perception: Color vision, depth perception, object tracking with eye movement
  • Blurrydistance or reading vision
  • Eye strain and headaches
  • Sports vision for performance
  • Safety driving

It’s also important to examine children’s vision to ensure that have to full capacity to learn. Low vision can be misdiagnosed as a learning disability.

2. Prevention of sight loss, eye diseases or disorder

Eye exams are also important to ensure your eyes are healthy. Did you know that 500,000 Canadians have eye problems that could lead to blindness? 1 person 7 is at risk of vision loss which can sometimes be caused by diseases or an eye disorder. However, 75% of sight loss is preventable!

Here are different types of sight loss that are potentially preventable through regular observation:

  • “Lazy eye” or amblyopia for children, with a cover test and refraction
  • Glaucoma, your eye pressure, and examination of ocular health
  • Diabetic retinopathy, through a slit lamp exam
  • Maculardegeneration
  • Cataracts
  • Keratoconus

Eye health is all about prevention. If a disease can be detected before any damage is done, vision loss and blindness can be prevented. Early detection can only be achieved through regular eye examinations.

3. Indication on your overall Health

Eye exams are also important as they can be indicators of your overall health. As Optometrist Justin Asgarpour says: “Eyes are a window to the body.”

Through an eye test, Optometrists can detect and diagnose systemic diseases. Some diseases that could be detected during an eye examination include:

  • Vascular diseases: Diabetes, high blood pressure or cholesterol
  • Neurological diseases such as papilledema, MS, strokes, nerve palsy
  • Inflammatorydiseases: IBS, Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, Graves’ disease
  • Cancer: Ocular melanoma, certain brain tumors, familial adenomatous polyposis

How often should you have your eyes examined?

Your eyes should be checked regularly. Depending on your own needs, a Doctor of Optometry will provide you with your eye examination schedule. On average, they should be scheduled annually or semi-annually. As a general guideline:

  • People under the age of 19 should have their eyes examined every year to check for healthy visual development.
  • Adults should have their eyes examined every 1-2 years for the health of their eyes and to determine any changes in refractive power.
  • People over the age of 65 should have their eyes examined everyyear. As people grow older, they are at a higher risk of developing many serious eye conditions that could be avoided, treated, or corrected with regular eye exams.
  • People with diabetes

If there are any changesinyourvision, if you feel discomfort, or you see flashinglights, and new floaters you should have your eyes examined as soon as possible.

What is an appropriate age for a child’s first eye exam?

Eye health tests should start at 6-12 months and continue annually thereafter. If there are any concerns regarding a child’s vision, an examination should be arranged as soon as possible.

How much do eye exams cost?

The cost of an eye check-up will depend on your needs and your specialist’s expertise. Eye exam prices at Clearly’s partner clinic in Vancouver, Asgarpour Optometry, range as follows:

  • Covered by MSP for children,
  • $95 for adults between 19 and 65,
  • $20 copay with MSP coverage for seniors (65 and above).

Each session lasts approximately 20- 40 minutes. Most extended benefits programs offer reimbursement for eye exams, so make sure to inquire about your coverage.

How much does a contact lens exam cost?

If you want to wear contact lenses for the first time or if you need a new prescription, you’ll require a contact lens eye exam. The consultation will include a general eye exam as well as specific tests to define which type of contacts are best for you.

The cost of contact lens exams varies according to your needs. Each clinic sets its own prices. For instance, the cost of contact eye exams at Asgarpour Optometry can range between:

  • $125 and $145 for a contact lens eye exam
  • $30 to $50 for a contact lens fitting/ contact lens exam – if you have had an eye exam in the past year (and have your prescription for glasses ready)

If you’re looking for an Optometrist in Vancouver, you can book a comprehensive eye exam online.

How can I prevent my vision from getting worse?

A regular eye examination is the best way to ensure healthy eyes and good vision. For optimal eye health, it is important to maintain a well-balanced diet and exercise schedule, and refrain from smoking.

Essential eye care such as examination, healthy habits, and following your Eye Care Professional’s instruction will help you maintain good eyesight and happy eyes. To learn a little more on the subject, follow our section on eye care – you’ll find out some of our experts’ tips and insight on eye health!

Can I use my eyeglasses prescription to buy over-the-counter contact lenses?

No, contact lenses and prescription glasses are different. To purchase contact lenses, you must first be properly fitted by your Eye Care Professional. Because contact lenses sit on your eye, your prescription will also most ly be modified to correct the difference in where the corrective lens sits.

Also the contact lens prescription includes parameters regarding the shape of the lens that best fits your eye, and the ideal material for the contact lens that works with the anatomy of your eye.

Why is it important to use a valid contact lens prescription?

An Eye Care Professional needs to assess the health of your eyes, which includes inspecting the corneas and the adjacent tissue that is in contact with the lens to ensure the tissue is doesn’t show any signs of contact lens-related complications.

Once this has been confirmed, it is important to assess the fit of the contact lens and ensure optimal vision and comfort.

To learn more about the difference between contact lenses and glasses prescriptions and how how to read them, take a look at our article on the subject.

Book your eye test with your Optometrist and enjoy lasting clarity and happy eyes!

You’re now informed about eye exams and why they are important to preserve your eye health. In addition to these general guidelines, your Eye Care Professional will be able to provide you with a tailored examination schedule your eye care needs and will give you precise indication on your health as well as personal instructions to maintain healthy habits.

Have a valid prescription for glasses and contact lenses? Take a look at our eyewear and contact lens selection online and enjoy a large variety of brands, prices, and styles!