Frequently Asked Questions
When Should I Get My Child’s Eyes Examined and How Much Does It Cost?
The Canadian Association of Optometrists recommends that children have their first eye exam at 6 months, then again at ages 3 and 5 when they are getting ready to attend school. Children should be examined annually while they attend school. Alberta Health Care covers the cost of one eye exam per year for children until they turn 19 years of age.
How Often Should a Senior Have Their Eyes Examined and What Is the Cost?
The Canadian Association of Optometrists recommends that seniors aged 65 and older, should have an eye exam at least once a year. A comprehensive eye health examination is key to preserving your vision and making it last a lifetime. Alberta Health Care covers the cost of one eye exam per year for seniors 65 and older.
Does Alberta Health Care Cover the Cost of Eye Exams for Patients Between the Ages of 19-64?
Alberta Health Care does not cover the cost of basic eye exams for patients between the ages of 19-64; however, it does cover any eye emergencies as well as medically required exam procedures as prescribed by a physician.
Who Should I See an Optometrist, Ophthalmologist or Optician?
The levels of training and expertise, and the core competencies, are different for each type of eye care provider.
An Optometrist, or Doctor of Optometry, has completed a Bachelor of Science degree or higher, followed by a four year Doctor of Optometry degree from an accredited university’s school of optometry. Optometrists provide the following: an optometric eye exam to examine, assess, measure and diagnose disorders and diseases within the human eye and visual system. They can detect disorders of the eye such as glaucoma, cataracts and macular degeneration and recognize and co-manage related systemic conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and brain tumors. Most can prescribe medications (this varies by province – so ask your Doctor of Optometry for details), perform removal of foreign bodies from the eye, and provide referrals to secondary specialists, such as Ophthalmologists, for treatment of systemic disease or eye surgery when necessary. In cooperation with an Ophthalmologist, they co-manage ocular diseases. Finally, they can co-manage pre- and post-operative care for laser vision correction.
Ophthalmologists are surgeons and specialists in eye disease. They have completed a Bachelor degree and four years of medical school at an accredited university, as well as a residency in medical and surgical care of the eyes in an accredited university hospital. They are secondary-level healthcare providers and patients usually require a referral from their Doctor of Optometry to obtain an appointment for medical or surgical treatment such as cataract surgery. Opticians are the third member of the eye care team. They are trained through a college program to fabricate and fit vision aids, such as glasses, based on the prescription of a Doctor of Optometry or physician.
Opticians are licensed to provide spectacles, and they may also dispense contact lenses and other optical aids. They do not assess, diagnose or treat eye conditions.
What Is Astigmatism?
Astigmatism is a refractive error that occurs when the front surface of your eye (cornea) or the lens inside the eye is slightly irregular or cylindrical in shape, resulting in vision being blurred or distorted at all distances. Astigmatism is not a disease, but a common visual condition.
If you need clarification on anything eye related, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our staff.