A complete eye exam has several components. First, the optometrist will verify near and far vision, one eye at a time and with both eyes simultaneously. Next, he/she will verify how the two eyes function together. The optometrist also examines the eye health, screening for ocular diseases such as glaucoma or cataracts. Many ocular illnesses do not present symptoms in the beginning: it is therefore important to detect them as soon as possible in order to treat them rapidly.
Q. How often should I have an eye exam?
An annual eye exam is recommended for patients under the age of 18 years and for those 65 years and older. Adults between the ages of 18 to 64 years should have a visual exam every two years. However, contact lens wearers must have an annual eye exam to ensure that the lenses are compatible to the health of the eye: that they do not collect deposit, and that the solution maintenance is not causing toxicity in the eye. Diabetic patients should also have their eyes examined annually, including dilation of the pupils. According to the advice of the optometrist, some patients should have their eye exam more often in order to follow-up pathology, a problem with the binocular vision or a prescription for glasses.
Q. When should I have my child's eyes examined ?
The first months of a child’s life are critical in motor development as well as his/her interaction with the environment. He/she learns very quickly how to coordinate movement and how to focus on objects with the eyes. During this period, it is possible to stimulate the visual system of your child simply by offering toys of different textures, shapes and colors. Around the age of 6 months, a first eye exam is recommended to enable the optometrist to act before the critical stage of visual development. Then, it is recommended to have your child’s vision tested at the age of 3, and annually during his/her school years. This exam can be performed even if the child cannot read or demonstrate co-operation. More than 80% of learning is achieved through vision. This is why it is essential to have your child’s vision assessed from a very early age, notably in the case of apparent deviation (strabismus), a family history of amblyopia (lazy eye), a high prescription or ocular illness.
Q. Is the eye exam covered by my Quebec Health Insurance (Régie d'assurance - maladie du Québec)?
The general eye exam is covered by the Quebec Health Insurance for patients under the age of 18 years and for those 65 years and older as well as claimants of Social Assistance Program (Welfare). However, additional tests, such as contact lens adjustments, ocular health follow-ups, prescription of diagnostic and therapeutic medications and photo of the eye fundus are not covered. In the case of consultation for ocular pathology, a portion of the exam is covered, for patients presenting with a red eye, vision loss or a foreign object in the eye or ocular pain. Additional fees may apply. Dilation of the pupils is covered for patients eligible for the Quebec Health Insurance (under the age of 18 years and 65 years and older, claimants of Social Assistance Program (Welfare)), myopic above -5.00 and diabetics. The fee for the drops is not usually covered.
Q. Can an optometrist treat ocular emergencies?
Yes! Our optometrists are trained to evaluate and treat eye health problems and related issues. Whether it is an eye infection, injury or foreign object in the eye, we know how to help you. Our great availability will save you from spending hours in an emergency waiting room. Our optometrists are able to diagnose your condition and if necessary, prescribe the appropriate medication: antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, antihistamine…Your eyes send messages: many signs and symptoms can indicate general health conditions that sometimes fall outside the optometrist’s field of expertise. In these cases, we can refer you to other health professionals with whom we regularly collaborate.
Q. I am astigmatic/presbyopic. Can I wear contact lenses?
Yes! It is a false belief that astigmatism and presbyopia are contraindications to the ability to wear contact lenses. During your eye exam, your Optika Eye Care Center optometrist can evaluate if you are a good candidate for contact lens wear. Thanks to new technologies on the market, patients who wear contact lenses can achieve an increased comfort and more precise vision.
Q. Why is it important to have my child’s eyes examined if he/she has a learning disability?
It is a known fact that 80% of learning is acquired visually. It is therefore essential to optimize visual acuity, as well as other abilities that rely on vision that will aid in the child’s learning. A visual problem may have an adverse effect on the academic progress of your child. Consult the questionnaire attached to better recognize the signs and symptoms that can suggest a possible problem.
Q. What can I do to protect the health of my eyes?
In addition to regular eye exams, it is recommended to protect your eyes from the sun by wearing good quality sun glasses. Also, it is possible to prevent or to slow the advance of certain eye diseases by not smoking, as well as having a healthy diet and regular exercise.
Q. Which foods contribute to good ocular health?
Many studies are currently underway regarding the link between diet and ocular health, in particular with regards to age related macular degeneration (ARMD). Studies tend to demonstrate that the best foods for eye health are those rich in anti-oxidants, in lutein and in zeaxanthin, found in leafy green vegetables as well as orange fruits and vegetables. Fish that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids are also shown to be beneficial. Optometrists can advise their patients regarding diet and in some cases prescribe vitamin supplements.