Your eyesight is one of the most valuable assets you have, allowing you to experience the world. Ensuring that your eyes are healthy will pay off in the long run. Getting an annual eye exam is the best step you can take to protect your vision.
Like a visit to the dentist’s office, an eye exam may be inconvenient, but it’s 100% necessary. Even if you feel like you don’t need it, prevention is always better than a cure and saves you money.
With an eye exam, you can catch potential issues before they become a significant problem and preserve your eyesight. However, millions of Canadians still choose to forgo the procedure to cut costs.
Except for children and seniors, some Canadians pay out of pocket for their eye exams. Since government insurance plans don’t cover these checkups, they can get expensive for households with several adults. Additionally, every province has different rules when it comes to coverage for eye exams for those who qualify.
Luckily, those who need an eye exam have options that vary depending on the province.
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How Often Should I Visit an Optical Health Specialist?
Children and infants should see an optical health specialist once every year for a checkup. Seniors over 61 should also see a specialist once a year to monitor changes in their vision.
For healthy adults between the ages of 18-61, it’s best to get an eye exam once every two years or as needed if vision changes are suspected.
What Does an Eye Exam Entail?
Eye exams are a straightforward process, especially if you are a recurrent patient with the same optical specialist. The ophthalmologist or optometrist goes over your medical history. Opticians do not have the qualifications to perform eye exams, so make sure you visit a medical professional.
During your exam, your eye specialist performs tests such as:
- Using a chart to test your near and distance vision
- Determining whether you have astigmatism
- Checking eye coordination
- Examining the optic nerve to check for glaucoma
Before you consent to any service, make sure you ask about eye exam prices. Although you may see an advertisement for an eye exam at a low cost or free even, the clinic may charge hidden fees for services they did not mention.
If the specialist you are visiting is new, make sure that you do your research ahead of time and check credentials. Only a specialist can perform the necessary examination to determine if you have medical necessities that require coverage.
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How Much Do Eye Exams Cost in Canada?
An eye exam in Canada costs between $80 – $300 in out of pocket expenses. Depending on the province you live in, you may receive services that reduce your costs. In most areas that offer coverage, children and seniors usually receive free annual exams, which makes sense as both age groups experience vision fluctuations.
Below you can check if which specific Canada provinces offer eye care:
This province fully covers one eye exam every year for people under 19 or over 65 through the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP). If there is a medical necessity, you may be eligible for coverage even if you don’t fall within the age range. OHIP also pays for follow-up appointments due to any medical condition.
Here are the complete list of the covered conditions:
- Corneal Disease
- Diabetes Mellitus
- Optic Pathway Disease
- Recurrent Uveitis
- Visual Field Defects
People who qualify for the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) and Ontario Works may receive further eye care benefits.
Its residents under 19 and over 65 receive a free complete exam, a partial exam, and one diagnostic procedure annually. Like Ontario, medical necessities also qualify for coverage.
If you aged 20 to 64, you still have access to care. Eye injuries and eye diseases receive care as part of the national and provincial health exam.
If you are BC residents who qualify for the MSP, then you are entitled to free annual eye exams for those 18 or under and 65 or older.
As per the law, MSP covers all medically required services related to eye and vision care. Canadians of all ages may access treatment for eye injuries and eye diseases.
This province offers residents younger than 19 and older than 65 one routine free complete eye exam every two years. It is one of the more stringent provinces when it comes to coverage. Medical necessities are an exception and receive coverage.
Its residents do not have coverage options at any age, with one exception. Children who are under 19 and come from low-income households qualify for eye exam coverage.
Additionally, the province runs the “Health Smiles, Clear Vision” program. It provides eye exams, glasses, and lenses for three years to children under 18 years old who come from qualifying low-income families. It also covers emergency exams as well as minor exams.
Newfoundland and Labrador
Newfoundland and Labrador offer no eye exam coverage. You can request assistance with payment for an eye examination if you receive Income Support.
Those using the Income Support Program may also apply for contributions towards the cost of eyeglasses.
This province provides generous eye exam cost coverage. Those under 18 receive one comprehensive eye exam, one partial exam, and one follow-up exam free of cost every year. Those over 18 receive one assessment every year and follow up coverage for medical necessities.
This province offers all residents with a medical necessity coverage for their eye exam. Children under 19 and adults over 65 receive a free vision test every two years.
Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island offers no eye care coverage.
If you live in Quebec and qualify for the provincial health care program, then you have limited access to vision care. Children (up to 17) and seniors (over 65) receive one free annual eye exam under the program.
What If I am a Small Business Owner?
As a small business owner, you can help cover the cost of eye exams for your employees by adding an extended healthcare benefit policy to your group coverage. Through the system, you can deduct medical expenses on your tax forms and save money. You’ll also help your employees receive the coverage they need to avoid out-of-pocket costs and receive prescription services.
In addition to the exam, an extended healthcare benefit policy also cuts costs on medication. Your staff gets the coverage they need at a cost-effective price with excellent results.
When you purchase extended health care benefits, you’re providing comprehensive healthcare coverage. At Group Enroll, we work with the best insurance providers in Canada to find you group insurance services that provide coverage for vision services that include exams, prescription glasses, and contact lenses.
Don’t let eye exam fees prevent your employees from checking their vision every year. When they have coverage for eye care costs, their health becomes the priority, not their expenditures—and that means healthier, happier staff.
Contact us today to learn more about extended healthcare benefit plans and how they cut costs on eye examinations.