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How Much Is an Eye Exam in Canada?


A boy in a yellow shirt covering his right eye during an acuity test and a Snellen Chart in the background

Eye exams are essential for maintaining good eye health and getting answers to your questions about eye care. If you need an eye exam, you may be wondering how much it will cost.


The cost of an eye exam varies according to where you live and where you have the exam. In general, comprehensive eye exams in Canada cost between $50 and $250, depending on the tests performed during the exam.



Alberta & Saskatchewan Eye Exams


Alberta


If you are under the age of 18 and over the age of 65, one exam per year is covered under the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP).


Based on medical needs, additional exams and/or treatments may be covered. Inquire with your optometrist about coverage and potential costs for specific visual conditions.


Saskatchewan


The Saskatchewan Health Authority also provides some coverage for eye exams for certain groups, such as seniors and children. If you’re eligible for this coverage, you are entitled to one free eye exam per year.



Insurance Coverage


Insurance Coverage


Many insurance plans, including those provided by employers, cover eye exams and other vision-related costs. If you have insurance, check with your provider to see what is covered and how much you will have to pay out of pocket.


Purchasing a private insurance package can help you get coverage for eye examinations as long as they are included in the package's benefits. In addition to optometry services, many private insurers offer insurance packages that cover a wide range of medical services.



What Happens During an Eye Exam?


In Canada, a comprehensive eye exam typically includes:


  • A vision test

  • A check for refractive errors such as nearsightedness or farsightedness

  • An overall evaluation of your eye health


The cost of a more specialized exam, such as contact lens fitting or screening for certain eye conditions, may be higher. You may want to ask about the cost ahead of time so you can budget accordingly.



Comprehensive Eye Exams


Your optometrist will typically begin a comprehensive eye exam by asking about your medical history and any symptoms you may be experiencing. They’ll then administer a series of assessments to examine your:


  • Visual acuity

  • Eye muscle function

  • Eye coordination


Following that, your optometrist will examine your eyes thoroughly, including the retina, cornea, and optic nerve. They may also use specialized instruments to assess the health of your eye tissue and measure the pressure inside your eyes.


If your optometrist notices any problems during the exam, they may suggest additional testing or treatment. If they notice signs of glaucoma or cataracts, they may refer you to an ophthalmologist for further treatment.



Contact Lens Fittings


If you want to wear contact lenses, your optometrist will usually suggest a contact lens fitting. This is a specialized exam that ensures your contact lenses fit correctly and comfortably and that you can use them safely and effectively.


After the initial examination of your eye's health and vision, your optometrist will determine your contact lens prescription.


Once your optometrist has determined your prescription and assessed the health of your eyes, they will work with you to determine the best type of contact lenses for your needs. They may recommend:


  • Daily disposable lenses

  • Extended-wear lenses

  • Specialized lenses


The size and shape of your eyes will then be measured to ensure that your contact lenses fit properly. They may also have you try on various types of lenses to determine which ones are the most comfortable for you.



How Often Should You Get an Eye Exam?


Regular eye exams are essential for maintaining good eye health and avoiding vision problems. The recommended frequency for eye exams varies according to your age, overall health, and any existing eye conditions.


  • Children: Children should have their first eye exam around the age of 6 months, with additional exams at 2 and 5 years. Following that, children should have eye exams every year, especially if they have a family history of eye problems or have any vision problems.


  • Adults: Adults should have a comprehensive eye exam every 1–2 years.


  • Seniors: If you're over 60, you should have an eye exam every year to check for age-related eye conditions like cataracts, macular degeneration, and glaucoma.


  • Medical Conditions: You may need more frequent eye exams if you have certain medical conditions that can affect your eye health, such as diabetes or high blood pressure.



Book Your Next Eye Exam


Schedule your next appointment with The Eye Centre if you're due for a comprehensive eye exam or if you're experiencing any vision problems or discomfort.


If you have health insurance, check with your provider to see what services are covered. You can help maintain your vision and catch any potential eye health issues early on by prioritizing your eye health and scheduling regular eye exams.



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