Ontario Optometry in Crisis
Optometrists across Ontario are driven by the singular goal of providing the best patient care possible. We diagnose and treat hundreds of ocular diseases while providing exceptional clarity of vision and optical products to all who need our help.
As things stand, Ontario optometrists are compensated for only half of what an OHIP-covered eye exam costs them to perform. With the crunch of COVID-19, optometrists can no longer afford to lose money on every exam.
As a consequence of this crisis, on September 1 the Ontario Association of Optometrists and all its members will suspend all OHIP eye exams for seniors and children and will be referring these services out to local family doctors, nurse practitioners, and ophthalmologists until the Government of Ontario agrees to formal negotiation. We are being forced to do this because we simply cannot afford to do otherwise.
OHIP reimbursements haven’t increased in a meaningful way in over 30 years. Payments increased by about 9% since the fee schedule was set in 1989—yet inflation has increased since then by about 90%.
This crisis has been brewing for years, with the typical practice spending more on exams than we receive in terms of staff and doctor time. Most practices, including ours, have been compensating (barely) by seeing more patients during the day. However, with the social distancing and deep sanitization protocols that have come about due to COVID-19, we are simply unable to earn enough to keep our doors open…
Who does this affect?
Good eyecare has the greatest impact on children—who’s lifetime ability to learn and develop depends on good vision—to the elderly, who are at the greatest risk for vision-threatening ocular diseases. These vulnerable groups are precisely those who need the care of an optometrist the most. And it’s exactly these patient groups we can no longer afford to serve.
Help Us Save Optometry in Ontario
Unless things change, COVID-19 might be the final nail in the coffin for family eye care in Ontario. We ask you, our patients, to help us save this clinic and preserve access to quality eye care across the province.
Here’s What You Need To Do:
Reach out and make your voice heard!
- Fill out the petition form through the Ontario Optometric Association.
Go to saveeyecare.ca
- Publicly reach out to the Minister of Health, the Hon. Christine Elliott. Contact her office by email and phone at 416-327-4300
- Tweet the need for change to @celliottability.
- Post publicly on Facebook groups and include “@ChristineElliottON”.
- Find the MPP representing your riding and follow the same steps in #2 above. Reach out by phone, email, and publicly on social media.