Updated: Feb 8
The way patients get eye exams is changing in Ontario as the government withdraws its support of OHIP eye exams.
Beginning September 1, OHIP patients under the age of 19 and over the age of 65 with specific medical conditions will lose access to some forms of care.
The change is a result of funding cuts to eye exam services normally covered by OHIP. Since 1989, the Ontario government has covered $39.15 in OHIP charges. This has only marginally increased to $44.65 in 2021. The remainder of the eye exam cost must be subsidized by the eye care professional including costs such as rent, staff, equipment and taxes.
This has left eyecare providers pushing the government to increase funding. Instead, the government continues to cut available services to patients, limiting access to care and increasing the risk of more serious eye issues left untreated.
We continue to advocate for our patients and have joined eye care professionals across Ontario in calling for the government to take action to increase its OHIP support. Optometrists in Ontario have sent letters to local MPPs and signed the Save Eye Care petition. The petition calls on the Ontario government to increase its OHIP funding support to ensure that patients receive affordable eye care.
Additionally eye care professionals have called on the government to enter into formal negotiations to set up binding commitments to patient care, similar to other health care sectors.
So far the government continues to continue with their plans. In a statement, Dr. Sheldon Salaba, President of the Ontario Association of Optometrists said, “"Government neglect has jeopardized access to eye care for those who need it most, undervaluing the eye health of Ontarians."
The Ontario Association of Optometrists is the leading professional organization, representing more than 1,800 optometrists. It’s role is to support the highest standards in eye health and vision care for Ontarians while driving the profession of optometry forward. The Association has been on the forefront of this battle to protect eye care in Ontario, by formally requesting meetings with the provincial government to begin to repair the Ontario eye care system so that patients continue to receive affordable treatment.
He added optometrists have been fair and reasonable, asking only that the government cover the cost of service delivery so patient services are not impacted.
"Vision is our most important sense, and our political leaders must help us protect it," said Dr. Salaba. "They must ensure Ontarians continue to receive the quality eye care they depend on and deserve."
Our office has taken every step to ensure continuity of care for our patients so they can continue to enjoy quality eye care and good vision. We will continue to provide eye exams and emergency services, however these services will no longer be covered by OHIP.
We kindly ask our patients to visit the saveeyecare.ca website to show their support for the work of optometrists and let local government officials know that OHIP coverage is essential to the health and safety of patients.
Patients who wish to book an eye exam can do so on our website by visiting https://www.laurier-optical.com/eye-exam-ontario.
We continue to stand by our patients and fight for their care. We invite patients who have any questions about services or about the Save Eye Care project to contact any of our locations across Ontario including Kanata, Brockville, Belleville, Rideau, Cornwall and many more.