How Much Is an Eye Exam in Ontario in 2022?

Are you Ontario-bound and having trouble with your eyesight? Or maybe you just want to get a checkup to make sure everything is okay? 

Whatever the case may be, getting an eye exam might be a good idea to set your mind at ease. But you might want to peek through all of your options before deciding where to go, just in case. 

How Much Is an Eye Exam in Ontario?

Generally speaking, the overall eye exam price can vary anywhere from around $50 to upwards of $250, depending on the specific type of test you need, as well as the doctor you go to. 

Paying for these services out-of-pocket may be costly for some, which is why plenty of people look for affordable providers that can give them the same quality of care.

How Do Ontario Prices Fare in Comparison to Other Cities?

In terms of affordability, you might be pleased to hear that Ontario eye exam prices fall on the low end of the spectrum compared to other cities across Canada. 

For instance, an eye exam in Toronto can cost anywhere from $75-250, while Vancouver is slightly pricier at $90-310. But if you were to head to Montreal or Halifax, the prices are even higher, costing around $120-320 and $70-250, respectively.

On a national level, the Canadian Association of Optometrists (CAO) estimates that the average cost of an eye exam is $200. So when you compare this to the numbers in Ontario, it’s evident that the province offers good value for money.

Which Factors Influence the Eye Exam Cost in Ontario?

Price fluctuation is a common occurrence in the world of eye exams, and there are various reasons why this might be the case. Let’s take a look at some of the critical factors that influence the price you’ll have to pay for eye care:

New or Recurring Patients

If you’re a new patient, you can expect to pay a slightly higher fee for your eye exam than someone who is returning for a follow-up appointment. This is because the initial consultation often takes longer and involves more tests than subsequent visits.

Location

The location of the clinic can also impact the overall cost of the exam. Ontario optometrists who practise in urban areas tend to charge more than those based in rural locations. This is because overheads, such as rent and staff expenses, are often higher in busier areas.

Clinic

The type of clinic you go to can also affect the eye checkup cost you’ll be charged at the end. Retailers and vision centres, such as Walmart and Costco, often offer lower prices than private offices. Thеir fees are cheaper because they have the buying power to negotiate bulk discounts on supplies and equipment.

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Do I Have to Pay for an Eye Exam in Ontario?

Luckily, the health insurance system in Canada is designed to cover a significant portion of essential medical services, and eye care is no exception. However, the extent to which you’ll be covered will depend on your specific province or territory.

Coverage in Ontario

In Ontario, eye care is covered under the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP). This means that a free eye exam every year is available for children aged 20 and under and seniors aged 65 and over.

For adults aged 21-64, OHIP will cover the cost of an eye exam if you’re experiencing any problems with your vision. If you don’t have any symptoms and are just due for a routine check-up, you’ll have to pay the full Ontario eye exam cost.

Coverage in British Columbia

In British Columbia, the BC Medical Services Plan (MSP) covers any expenses related to medical emergencies, including trauma, injuries, ocular diseases and vision impairment. However, MSP does not cover the cost of routine eye exams or eyewear.

For residents aged 65 and over, the BC Seniors’ Pharmacare program will help cover the cost of some ocular medications. Children aged 19 and under may also be covered by the BC Childhood Eye Health Examination Program.

Coverage in Alberta

In Alberta, eye care is financially supported under the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP). This means that all province residents are entitled to a free eye exam once every two years. For seniors aged 65 and over, this coverage is extended to once per year.

Coverage in Saskatchewan

The Saskatchewan Health Plan (SHP) covers routine eye exams and follow-ups for children and seniors and certain visual screenings. However, there is some variation in coverage in different regions of the province, based on local health authorities and other factors.

Coverage in New Brunswick

Government-funded medical insurance plans such as Medicare and the provincial drug plan may assist in covering the cost of an eye exam in New Brunswick. However, this coverage is not universal, and some residents may have to pay on their own for all or part of their eye exam.

Coverage in Newfoundland and Labrador

In this province, eye exams and eyewear are not covered by the provincial health plan, except for certain visual screenings for children and low-income residents. This means that residents of the province will likely have to cover the funds for their eye exams and eyewear on their own.

Coverage in Nova Scotia

The Nova Scotia Health Card takes care of the cost of eye care for children and seniors and some other medical services. However, adults who aren’t part of this programme will have to use personal finances to cover all the necessary costs.

Coverage in Manitoba

The Manitoba Health Care Insurance Plan does not cover the cost of routine eye exams, although it does help to cover costs for seniors, children and those with recurring medical conditions. In most cases, residents of Manitoba will need to pay for their eye exams without assistance from the government.

What Does a Comprehensive Eye Exam Include?

A detailed eye exam will test your vision and assess the health of your eyes. This usually includes a series of tests to evaluate your visual acuity and checks for common eye conditions such as glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration.

The specific tests included in a comprehensive eye exam can vary depending on your age, medical history and symptoms. Some of the most common procedures include:

  • Current vision evaluation and eye refraction test
  • Examination of your family’s eye history
  • Evaluation of your visual field and depth perception
  • Measures to evaluate your risk for developing age-related macular degeneration
  • Eye coordination and movement assessments
  • Retinal imaging and screening for signs of eye disease
  • Tonometry, or measurement of intraocular pressure

Additional Costs

Apart from the cost of your eye test, you may also need to cover some additional costs depending on your situation. You’ll be expected to pay for any extra examinations, treatments, or procedures your eye doctor recommends. On the list of potential added costs, you may find the following:

Lens Exam

This includes an evaluation of your eye’s ability to focus and accommodate to different visual aids. You may also need specialized lens testing if you are at a higher risk of developing cataracts or other eye diseases.

Prescription Glasses

Your prescription may change over time, and you will likely need to update your eyewear every few years.  If you choose to purchase designer frames or lenses with unique features, you can expect to pay more for your glasses.

Contacts

Like prescription glasses, you will need to replace your contacts regularly. Depending on the lenses you prefer, you may also need to pay for extra care and cleaning supplies. This allows you to maintain the health and comfort of your eyes in the long run.

Surgical Procedures

If you have a more serious eye condition, you may require surgery to address it. These procedures can be pretty costly, with some co-pays and deductibles increasing the total cost. However, they can be worth it in the long run if they help to preserve your vision or improve your quality of life.

What is the Cheapest Place to Get an Eye Exam?

When it comes to finding a budget-friendly place to get your eyes checked, you’ll be spoilt for choice throughout the country. For example, the Costco eye test averages at $70, which is on par with the retailer’s customer-oriented pricing policy.  

Similarly, the Walmart eye exam cost comes in at a reasonable $75 price tag, offering you a dependable and affordable alternative to the typical eye test providers. 

While you may not associate these companies with professional eye care, they do offer quick and convenient services that are tailored to the needs of busy consumers.

Here’s a comprehensive list of the most affordable retail eye clinics in Canada: 

Costco $70
Walmart $75
Sears Optical $80
Optometrists Clinic $90
Visions Express $100
LensCrafters $120

How Much Do Optometrists Make in Canada?

Optometrists in Canada can expect to earn a relatively high salary, depending on their location and experience. According to PayScale, the median annual income of an optometrist is around $100,000.

The highest-paying provinces for optometrists include British Columbia and Alberta, both of which offer average salaries above $120,000. In Ontario and Quebec, the median annual income is closer to $100,000.

To better illustrate how location affects earnings, let’s have a detailed look at the salary range across Canadian provinces: 

British Columbia $120,000 – $145,000
Alberta $115,000 – $130,000
Ontario $92,000 – $120,000
Quebec $85,000 – $95,000
Newfoundland and Labrador $75,000 – $85,000
Nova Scotia $85,000 – $95,000
New Brunswick $80,000 – $90,000
Prince Edward Island $75,000 – $85,000
Manitoba $75,000 – $85,000
Saskatchewan $70,000 – $80,500 

The difference in numbers across cities is also relatively significant, with Canadian optometrists in major areas such as Vancouver and Toronto earning nearly $100,000 more per year than those in smaller communities or rural areas. Some of the highest-paying cities for optometrists include: 

Toronto $92,000 – $120,000
Vancouver $115,000 – $130,000
Montreal $85,000 – $95,000
Ottawa $92,000 – $110,000
Winnipeg $75,000 – $85,000 
Halifax $85,000 – $95,000

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Can I Get a Free Eye Exam?

The short answer is yes, you can. Some clinics and organizations also offer free eye exams on a limited basis. For example, the Canadian Association of Optometrists (CAO) offers free eye exams for children aged 17 and under through its “Eye See…Eye Learn” program.

Certain Lions Clubs also provide a free eye test for those in need. This can include children, seniors, and the homeless or underprivileged. All you have to do is reach out to your local Lions Club and inquire about their free eye exam services.

Finishing Thoughts

At the end of the day, eye exams are important for maintaining your overall health and well-being. For most people, the cost of an eye exam is relatively small compared to the benefits it can provide. 

Whether you have insurance coverage or need to pay on your own, many options are available for getting an affordable eye exam in Canada. Ontario residents, in particular, have access to a wide range of programs and services that can help them get the care they need. 

With a little bit of research, you should be able to find an eye doctor and plan that fits both your needs and your budget.

FAQ

Is Costco doing eye exams?

Yes, Costco offers eye exams at select locations across Canada. Simply contact your nearest Costco location and speak to a customer service representative to book an appointment.

How much does an eye exam cost in Canada?

The cost of an eye exam in Canada can vary depending on several factors, including your location, the type of exam you need, and whether you have health insurance coverage. Generally speaking, prices range from $50 to $250 or more.

Are eye exams covered by OHIP in Ontario?

OHIP typically covers eye exams for children under the age of 17, as well as seniors over the age of 65. Other individuals may use their health insurance coverage or personal funds to cover the eye exam cost in Ontario.

What is the difference between an optician and an optometrist?

An optician is a professional who helps patients select and fit eyeglasses or contact lenses, based on a prescription from an optometrist or ophthalmologist. An optometrist is a primary care provider who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of vision problems and eye diseases.

How much is an eye exam at Walmart?

The Walmart eye exam cost in Canada averages at $75, although the numbers may vary based on the exact services required. Many Walmart locations offer walk-in appointments, which can be a convenient option for those who need an eye exam quickly or on a budget. 

 

How much does a family doctor make in Ontario?

On average, family doctors in Ontario earn $257,000 per year. However, this figure can vary depending on factors such as location, experience and type of practice

Is LensCrafters expensive?

The LensCrafters eye exam price is typically around $120, which is on the higher end when compared to other clinics and retailers. However, LensCrafters also offers a wide range of services and products, which can make it a convenient one-stop-shop for those in need of new glasses or contact lenses. 

How much is a Costco optical exam?

The average Costco Optical exam cost is $70, a fairly standard price in the industry. So, next time you’re wondering, ‘how much is an eye exam in Ontario?’, expect to find similar numbers across retailers.

Are optometrists in demand in Canada?

Nowadays, optometrists are in high demand in Canada, as the population continues to grow and more people seek out care for their vision problems. 

Who performs an eye exam?

An eye exam can be performed by either an optometrist or an ophthalmologist. Both of these medical professionals are qualified to assess vision problems, diagnose eye diseases, and recommend treatment options. 

ABOUT AUTHOR

Mila is an English literature student and a devoted animal's rights advocate. Despite her love for the written word, she's a keen observer of the everyday world and an excellent researcher with a bright and fresh perspective. When she's not doing research, you're most likely to find her out for a walk with her dog or binge-watching a TV show.

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