Frequently asked questions

Eye Care Coverage and Important Information

Frequently asked questions

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What is covered by the BC Medical Services Plan (MSP)?

There are a number of different services that are covered by the BC Medical Services Plan:

  • All eye emergencies are fully covered for patients of all ages. This includes red eyes/any type of eye infection, flashes, floaters, foreign body removal, etc.
  • Diabetics are fully covered for a portion of their exam as well as people who take medications that may lead to vision problems.
  • Youths under the age of 19 are covered annually for a comprehensive eye exam.
  • Seniors over the age of 65 are covered for 50% of a full eye exam.
Can optometrists spot other medical conditions, such as diabetes?

Yes. Just by looking inside your eye, an optometrist may be able to spot and identify certain conditions, such as diabetes or hypertension at early onset. We can also spot eye disease early on as well, and provide you with suitable treatment options.

I was told I have dry eyes, so why are my eyes so watery?

Your eyes produce two important types of tears. The first type is your baseline tear supply. This keeps your eye moist, helps provide lubrication for blinking, and keeps your vision clear in-between blinks.

The second type is reflex tearing. This occurs if the baseline supply is too low, or can be secondary to a stimulus such as emotions or an injury. People with dry eyes have a low baseline tear supply, which stimulates reflex tearing. This type of tearing produces a large quantity of tears, too great to drain off the eye through your tear ducts, and thus ends up spilling over the edge of your eyelids. Thankfully, there are many great treatment options available that can help manage your symptoms if you suffer from dry eyes.

You can book a dry eye evaluation with one of our doctors if you think you suffer from dry eyes.

What is astigmatism?

Astigmatism is a common eye condition that results in blurred vision. It is caused by the eye being more football-shaped as opposed to round. Normally, light is refracted when it enters the eye, giving a clear view. However, for those with astigmatism, light is not evenly refracted, meaning only part of an object will be in focus at a time. This can be easily corrected with prescription lenses or laser eye surgery.

The Canadian Association of Optometrists has a great website filled with resources about the importance of regular eye care. Visit the Canadian Association of Optometrists site‎ for more information.

What’s the difference between Optometrist, Ophthalmologist, and Optician?

We use our eyesight for virtually every task we perform throughout the day. When it comes to having problems with our vision or the health of our eyes, it’s important to choose the right type of eyecare provider for the job. But before we can decide who to choose between an optometrist, ophthalmologist, or optician, we first need to know what type of services they provide.

An Optometrist is a Doctor of Optometry (O.D.), who serves as a primary care provider for all things eye-related. Their training involves completion of a four-year undergraduate degree, followed by four to five years in a program at a college of optometry. They are trained in prescribing glasses and contact lenses, providing first-line emergency eyecare, and providing comprehensive eye exams aimed at the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of numerous eye diseases. Optometrists also provides some specialty services that you don’t get from the other eyecare providers, such as Vision Therapy, Low Vision Services, Specialty Contact Lens fitting, and more.

An Ophthalmologist is a medical doctor (M.D.) or osteopathic doctor (D.O.) that specializes in comprehensive medical and surgical care of the eye. They complete a four-year undergraduate degree, followed by four years of medical school, and an additional four to five years in a surgical specialty. Because ophthalmologists focus on disease and surgery, they may not prescribe glasses or contact lenses (even though they can do so). In British Columbia, seeing an ophthalmologist requires obtaining a referral.

Opticians are technicians who are trained to design, size and configure, and verify eyeglass lenses and frames. They utilize prescriptions provided by optometrists or ophthalmologists. An optician must complete a training program and obtain licensure to practice, however they are not doctors, nor do they diagnose or treat eye conditions.

Here is an easy rule of thumb to follow when selecting the proper eyecare provider:

  • If you need to purchase eyewear or have your glasses adjusted, see an optician.
  • If you need a comprehensive eye exam, updated glasses or contact lens prescription, or have an eye emergency, see an optometrist.
  • If you have a serious eye problem that you think may require surgery, see an ophthalmologist. You can obtain a referral from your optometrist or family doctor.
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What to Expect from Orchard Park Optometry

We all have very busy, demanding lifestyles these days and convenience is more important than ever. We offer appointments seven days per week but focus on the most comprehensive eye care available with highly trained and passionate optometrists.

Our goal is to build relationships with our patients and their families year after year and get to know our patients through the different stages of life.

Book an Exam

We are always happy to accept new patients. Contact us today and we will book you in at our next available time.