What does a complete eye examination consist of?

A complete examination will usually include the components listed below. Please note that this list may vary according to the age of the patient, abilities, and general health and eye conditions:

  • A history of your health with an emphasis placed on your eyes and visual needs
  • Measurement of your visual acuity
  • Measurement of your refractive error
  • Determination of binocularity (how your eyes work together)
  • Detection of colour vision defects
  • A complete eye health check. An examination of the eyes for any disease or abnormality
  • A diagnosis from the results of the examination and recommendations for any treatment, if required
  • The provision of a prescription or treatment plan for vision correction if required
  • The provision of a prescription for eye drops or oral medications, if required
  • Any counselling or advice that is necessary

What should I bring to my eye appointment – and why?

1) Bring your OHIP card (and ODSP or Ontario Works Statement of Assistance, if applicable)

People 65 years and older and 19 and under are covered by OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance) for an eye examination once every 12 months. Also, patients of any age with medical conditions or diseases affecting the eyes are fully covered.

Persons receiving assistance under the Ontario Disability Support Program, Ontario Works or the Family Benefits Program continue to receive coverage for routine eye examinations once every two years.

These changes to OHIP coverage of eye examinations started taking effect since 2004. Also please note: some specialized tests that your doctor may recommend for you may not be covered by OHIP and you will be directly billed for the cost of these tests*.

2) Bring a list of any prescription or non-prescription medications you are currently taking. Also include vitamins, supplements and other non-traditional remedies you may use.

Many drugs and vitamins affect your eyes and vision, including those prescribed by your doctor and those purchased over-the-counter. Some drugs cause long-lasting or permanent changes to your eyes, while others affect your eyes only while you are taking the medication. There are also medications that will affect your eyes only when taken in combination with other medications.

Both your medication and the health condition it treats can affect your eyes. When we know what medication you take, we can evaluate your vision and eye health more accurately and check your eyes for side effects of the medications**.

3) Bring a pair of sunglasses

During the eye examination eye drops may be used to dilate the eyes to help us better visualize different parts of the back of the eye. These drops can cause increased light sensitivity for a few hours after the examination so that’s why we recommend that sunglasses be worn after the eye exam during daylight hours***.

4) If you currently wear glasses, please bring all pairs of eyeglasses you wear on a routine basis. If you wear contact lenses, please wear them to your appointment, and bring along your solution, contact lens case, and contact lens boxes.

5) Finally, in order to get the most out of your exam, do your homework! Prepare and bring a list of questions or concerns that you would like to discuss with the doctor.

*Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-term Care
**Ontario Association of Optometrists
***Ontario Association of Optometrists