(705) 746-1212

3 Church St. Parry Sound, Ontario. P2A 1Y2

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is an Optometrist?

An Optometrist is a health care professional who is licensed to provide primary eye care services:

Ophthalmologists are medical doctors who have completed specialized residency training in the study, diagnosis, and treatment of eye disease. They are secondary-level health care providers and they usually use drugs and/or surgery for treatment. A person that requires ophthalmological care (to obtain cataract surgery, for example) usually requires a referral from the optometrist or family doctor.

  • What is an Optician?

Opticians are technicians trained through a college program to fabricate and fit vision aids based on prescriptions from optometrists, ophthalmologists and physicians. 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, nor do they write out prescriptions for eyeglasses or contact lenses.

  • When should I have an eye exam?

Regular eye exams are recommended as early as 6 months of age. We recommend annual eye exams for children up to age 19. Adults aged 20 to 64 are recommended to come every 2 years, unless advised otherwise by their optometrist. Seniors 65 and over should visit their optometrist once every year. If you have any concerns about your eyes and vision, you may make an appointment to see your optometrist at any time between your regular visits.

  • I don't wear glasses. Why should I have regular eye exams?

Many conditions and disorders have no symptoms and can develop without the patient being aware. Glaucoma, cataracts, retinal detachment and macular degeneration are only a few of things that your doctor will be checking for. Your optometrist is trained to check the health of your eyes and can detect and monitor your eyes for any problems. Many general health conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure can be detected through regular, preventative eye exams.

  • What is an eye exam?

An eye exam is more than just an eye chart - it is a complete, comprehensive exam and detailed examination of your visual ability, vision and eye health.

  • How does diabetes affect my eyes?

The most damaging eye condition caused by diabetes is diabetic retinopathy. The incidence of retinopathy increases the longer someone has diabetes. Diabetic retinopathy causes the blood vessels of the retina (inner layer of the back of the eye) to leak, swell or develop abnormally which causes damage to the retina. This can result in vision loss that can range from mild to severe.

Very often people with diabetes don't even know they have diabetic retinopathy until significant damage to the retina has already happened. Prevention of diabetic retinopathy is best accomplished by maintaining normal blood glucose levels, blood pressure and blood lipid levels. A regular eye exam (minimum once a year) by an optometrist or ophthalmologist is essential to catch retinal changes as early as possible.

  • What are cataracts?

A cataract is a clouding of the internal crystalline lens of the eye. When a cataract is first developing, there is often a shift in a person's vision and prescription. Other symptoms may include glare and troubles with night vision. Cataracts usually affect both the eyes, but often one eye is affected earlier than the other. The risk of cataract development increases with age, however cataracts can be found in infants and children as well. Other risks include UV light, diabetes and medications such as steroids. In the early stages, the symptoms of cataracts are simply treated with glasses or contact lenses. Once the cataracts are more significantly impairing vision, cataract surgery is a good option. Modern cataract surgery techniques are safe and effective. In fact, it is the most commonly performed surgery in North America.

  • What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that cause vision loss. In the early stages of the disease, most patients have no symptoms. Vision loss is caused by damage to the optic nerve tissue at the back of the eye. It was once believed that elevated intraocular pressure was the sole cause for glaucoma. However, today we better understand that intraocular pressure is simply a risk factor for glaucoma, but not the only cause. Other risk factors may include a family history, migraine headaches and sleep apnea. We also have much more advance diagnostic equipment to help with earlier detection. There is no cure for glaucoma, only treatment. Medication and surgical options will vary greatly depending upon the type of glaucoma a patient has. Early detection is important in preventing the progression of this silent disease.

  • What is macular degeneration?

Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in the developed world. It is a disease that causes a progressive breakdown of the macular region of the retina. This leads to a slow loss in a patient's central vision, however most patients will still maintain good peripheral vision. There are many risk factors for the condition including family history, smoking, UV light and age. It is important for anyone at risk for macular degeneration to have routine eye examinations to help with early detection.

  • What is presbyopia?

Presbyopia is a condition common after age 40 in which a gradual lessening of the eye's power of accommodation causes difficulty in seeing near objects. At middle age, we typically require glasses for reading. Progressive or bifocal lenses with added power in the lower part of the lens can be used to aid with reading.

  • Does pregnancy affect my eyes?

With an increase in hormone levels, some pregnant women may experience difficulty in focusing and a temporary change in prescription. Women may also suffer from pregnancy-induced dry eye, which can be worsened for contact lens wearers. Pregnant women with diabetes are of particular concern. Properly maintaining control of blood glucose levels is crucial to the mother and baby. Not all women experience the conditions mentioned above and in most cases the changes are temporary. Pregnant women should consult their optometrist with any eye concerns.

  • How can the optometrist test my child's eyes if she can't read yet?

The doctor will use symbols and pictures instead of letters. Most of the testing that is done by the doctor requires little input from the child. The child's eye exam is focused on objective measurements of visual acuity and refraction, binocular vision and ocular motility, and eye health to ensure proper vision development. Critical information can be obtained about your child's eyes without her needing to say a word!

  • How do I know if my child is having a vision problem?

Some symptoms that indicate your child may be having a problem include rubbing eyes, squinting, blinking, turning or tilting head, headaches, wandering eyes, red eyes, or complaints of blurry vision.

  • What does OHIP cover?

In November 2004, changes in OHIP eye care coverage came into affect in Ontario. Under these changes, adults from ages 20 to 64 are not covered for eye care. However, there are some exceptions such as diabetics and those with certain eye conditions. Children 19 and under are covered for an eye examination annually as are seniors 65 and over.

Patients receiving assistance from The Ministry of Community and Social Services (ODSP and OW) have eye examination coverage once every two years.