Ontario reaches funding deal with optometrists; changes seniors' eye exam eligibility

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TORONTO — Ontario has reached a funding agreement with optometrists that increases some payments to them and changes eligibility for some assessments, including less frequent general eye exams for seniors.

Optometrists withdrew from performing provincially insured eye services from September to November 2021 amid a dispute over the amount they were being reimbursed.

The province's health plan covers annual eye exams for residents aged 19 and under, 65 and older and people with specific health conditions.

Optometrists said the province had been underfunding the OHIP-covered services, leaving them paying around 45 per cent out of pocket.

A statement today from Health Minister Sylvia Jones says optometrists have ratified a four-year funding agreement that includes an increase to payments for some OHIP-insured services and eye exams for social assistance recipients, but it doesn't detail amounts.

The statement also lists a number of eligibility changes under the agreement, including people aged 65 and older being covered for one eye exam every 18 months, instead of one a year, unless they have a condition affecting their eyes such as macular degeneration, glaucoma or diabetes.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 24, 2023.

The Canadian Press