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How Much Is An Eye Exam

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a woman has an eye exam done by an optometrist

Maintaining your overall health is crucial, and part of that includes ongoing eyecare. Preventing lifelong vision impairment begins with regular eye exams.

Eye exams are vital to ensure that changes to your sight don’t go unnoticed and impact your daily life. They detect problems in children and adults early so that vision issues can be prevented or cured with treatment.

We understand that the cost of eye exams can deter someone from visiting an optometrist. So how much does an eye exam cost? The short answer is it varies depending on which tests you need and whether you require additional services like contact lens assessment. Let’s take a closer look at eye exams and what they entail. 

Cost of Eye Exams

Health coverage in Saskatchewan covers certain optometric visits if you have a valid Saskatchewan Health Card. It includes the following:

  • Annual eye exams for all individuals under 18 years of age.
  • Yearly eye exams for individuals with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
  • Eye exams for ocular emergencies such as eye injuries, infections, or getting something in your eye.

How Often Should You Have an Eye Exam?

To keep your eyes as healthy as possible, you should have a comprehensive eye exam at regular intervals. Eye exams are for preventative care and anyone having issues with their eyesight, whether that’s difficulty seeing things clearly or experiencing other vision problems. This way, your optometrist can determine which type of vision correction or treatment is best for you. 

Here are recommended intervals for eye exams according to the Saskatchewan Association of Optometrists:

  • One eye exam in baby’s first year
  • At least one eye exam between 2 and 5 years
  • Annually between 6 and 19 years
  • Once every 2 to 3 years for adults 20 to 39 years
  • Once every 2 years for adults 40 to 64 years
  • Annually for adults 65 and older

Full-time contact wearers, regardless of age, are typically advised to have an annual eye exam. 

What Components Make up an Eye Exam?

An eye exam usually starts with discussing any questions or concerns you have about your eyes or vision. Your optometrist will want to know if you or your family members have had eye problems in the past. They will also ask if you have any medical conditions and make note of any prescription medications that you take.

A complete eye exam is made up of many different tests. These include:

Visual Acuity

The visual acuity test uses a classic eye chart to measure your ability to see objects of different sizes both far away and up close. It helps detect eye problems and determine if the prescription of your eyeglasses or contact lenses needs changing. If your visual acuity is 20/40, it means you need to be 20 feet away in order to see what someone with normal vision can see from 40 feet away. 20/20 is considered normal vision.

Tonometry

Measuring the pressure of the fluid inside the eye is called tonometry. This is an important test for detecting a disease called glaucoma. Eye pressure is classically measured with the “air puff” test that everyone hates, but there are newer, more pleasant ways to measure eye pressure such as with the iCare tonometer.

Visual Field Test

Your visual field is how wide of an area you can see when focused on one point and essentially shows how much peripheral vision you have. A visual field test measures your visual field to ensure that your peripheral vision is normal for your age. The Humphrey Visual Field Analyzer is an automated visual field test that uses soft flashing lights to identify areas of vision loss from diseases like glaucoma, stroke, or even brain tumors. 

a woman has a digital retinal imaging done at her optometrist office during an eye exam

Digital Retinal Imaging

Digital retinal imaging is a non-invasive and painless way to obtain clear images of the retina, optic nerve, and blood vessels at the back of the eye. It helps to monitor changes in ocular health and is very important during a diabetic eye exam. 

Benefits of Eye Exams

Eye exams do a lot more than merely check your eyesight – they identify potential health problems so that treatment can be started before things worsen.

Early detection is key, especially because many eye problems start without symptoms and will not show up in a routine medical exam at your family physician’s office. Some common eye issues that benefit from early management and treatment include glaucoma, macular degeneration, and diabetes-related eye disease.

The Importance of Eye Exams

Eye exams are the ideal way to check on your eye and vision health and provide peace of mind knowing any potential issues have been identified. 

Everyone deserves quality eye care. Contact Vista Eyecare today if you have concerns about the cost of eye exams or questions about eye care insurance. We work with most insurance providers and are happy to provide assistance and advice. 

dr darren schamber

Written by Dr. Darren Schamber, O.D.

Originally from Cold Lake, AB, Dr. Schamber received his Doctor of Optometry degree with honours from the University of Waterloo in 1997, after which he completed a residency in ocular disease and surgical co-management at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami. He spent one year as a staff optometrist at The Eye Institute in New Port Richey, FL, before returning to Canada to open Vista Eyecare in 2003.

Dr. Schamber has lectured for the Canadian Diabetes Association regarding the effects of diabetes on the eye, to family physicians on emergency eye care, and to ophthalmology residents about contact lens fitting and assessment.

He was the chair of the Saskatchewan Association of Optometrists’ Continuing Education Committee for nearly 10 years and has also served on its Practice Appraisal Committee. Dr. Schamber was recognized by Bausch & Lomb for excellence in the field of contact lenses and now maintains a special interest in ocular disease and surgical co-management.

Dr. Schamber is married to Dr. Nadia Lypka, also an optometrist in Saskatoon, and has two sons, Andrew and Luke. He likes soccer, snowboarding, water sports, and coffee. When not at the office, he can often be found at the SaskTel Sports Centre or the Saskatoon Field House watching his boys’ activities.

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