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Canada – Eye Care

Canada has a well-established system for eye care that includes a range of professionals and services. In this article, we will explore how to find an eye care professional in Canada and how eye care is paid for, including information on high street optometrists.

Finding an Eye Care Professional in Canada

There are several types of eye care professionals in Canada, including optometrists, ophthalmologists, and opticians. Optometrists are the primary eye care providers in Canada and can perform eye exams, diagnose and treat common eye conditions, and prescribe corrective lenses. Ophthalmologists are medical doctors who specialize in eye care and can perform surgery, diagnose and treat more complex eye conditions, and prescribe medications. Opticians are trained to fit and dispense eyeglasses and contact lenses based on prescriptions from optometrists or ophthalmologists.

To find an eye care professional in Canada, you can search online directories, such as the Canadian Association of Optometrists or the Canadian Ophthalmological Society. You can also ask for a referral from your family doctor or friends and family who have had positive experiences with an eye care professional.

Paying for Eye Care in Canada

Eye care in Canada is largely paid for through the publicly funded healthcare system, which covers medically necessary services provided by ophthalmologists and optometrists. This includes eye exams and medically necessary treatments for eye conditions, such as glaucoma or cataracts. However, not all services provided by optometrists are covered by the public healthcare system, such as routine eye exams for people without existing eye conditions or certain diagnostic tests.

For those without coverage under the public healthcare system, eye care can be paid for through private insurance or out of pocket. Some employers offer vision insurance as part of their benefits package, which can cover the cost of eye exams, glasses, and contact lenses. Private insurance plans may also cover the cost of eye exams and some treatments. Out of pocket expenses can vary depending on the type of service needed and the eye care professional providing the service.

High Street Optometrists in Canada

High street optometrists, also known as retail optometrists, are optometrists who work in commercial settings, such as malls or retail stores. They offer eye exams, glasses, and contact lenses, often at a lower cost than traditional optometrists who operate standalone practices.


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High street optometrists are regulated by the same governing bodies as traditional optometrists and must meet the same standards of care. However, there are some differences between high street and traditional optometrists to consider. High street optometrists may have less specialized equipment and may not be able to perform certain diagnostic tests or treatments. They may also have less time to spend with patients during eye exams, which can lead to a less comprehensive assessment of eye health.

It’s important to do your research and choose an eye care professional that meets your needs and provides high-quality care, regardless of whether they are a high street or traditional optometrist.

Eye care in Canada is widely accessible and largely covered by the publicly funded healthcare system. However, not all services are covered and some people may choose to seek out private insurance or pay out of pocket for certain services. High street optometrists can offer lower-cost services, but it’s important to ensure that they meet the same standards of care as traditional optometrists. By finding the right eye care professional and paying attention to your eye health, you can ensure that your eyes are well taken care of in Canada.


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