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Does OHIP Cover Eyeglasses for Seniors?

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A happy older adult trying on a pair of glasses with his wife.

For many seniors, eyeglasses are a necessity. The simple fact is that our vision tends to worsen as we age, and with that changing reality many people wonder what sort of assistance they can expect. 

OHIP does not cover eyeglasses for seniors, though other insurance plans might. Clear sight is not something you want to skimp on, so getting quality eyeglasses is essential. One of the best ways to find quality frames and lenses is by purchasing directly through your local optometrist.

OHIP’s Vision Coverage

The Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) is meant to help cover essential health services. It includes support for vision care, which is especially important for seniors who often face changes in their vision. For example, presbyopia is a natural hardening of the eye’s lens that begins around age 40. This makes the lens less flexible which, in turn, makes it more difficult to focus on objects close up, potentially requiring reading glasses.

For Ontario residents 65 and older without an eligible medical condition, OHIP will cover 1 eye exam every 18 months plus 2 follow-up assessments. It does not cover the cost of eyeglasses, however. This means retirees typically have to pay for their own glasses unless they have extra insurance that helps with the cost.

The Importance of Quality Frames

It’s not just about seeing; it’s about seeing well. High-quality eyeglasses are crucial for vision health, especially for older adults. They are not just for looks—they help seniors see clearly and comfortably in their daily activities.

While there are many options these days to purchase glasses through big online retailers, that convenience comes with a cost. Optometrists can help you choose eyeglasses that fit both your vision needs and lifestyle. The right frame can make wearing glasses more comfortable and improve vision correction.

The Benefits of Purchasing Lenses From Your Optometrist

Expert Fitting

A happy older adult trying on a pair of glasses with the assistance of his eye doctor.

A proper fit is crucial when it comes to glasses. The frames must sit comfortably on the face, without squeezing the nose or the temples, while the lenses need to align with the eye. You never truly know if online glasses’ measurements are accurate, as you can’t try them on.

An optometrist or optician can physically measure your face. We can determine the distance between your pupil, your nose bridge’s width, and even take the shape of your face into account to determine the ideal fit.

Your optometrist is also the one who checks your prescription, which can change over time. This means you don’t have to worry about ordering glasses only to discover they are the wrong prescription.

You Can Determine Quality

Many people have experienced the disappointment of ordering something online, only for it to arrive and discover it is much flimsier than it appeared online. Pixels do not give a good indication of a pair of glasses’ quality.

With your optometrist, you can examine the frames and lenses directly. You can quality-check them yourself and ask about frame materials or lens coatings. You can hold the frames in your hand to test the construction and feel confident they will last against the daily rigours you put them through.

Tailored Recommendations

Optometrists and opticians possess a wealth of knowledge about eyewear. Since everyone has their own specific needs and preferences, we can put that knowledge to use with personalized recommendations.

If you have a high prescription, we can find you thicker frames to accommodate those heftier lenses. We can even be a style consultant, finding the frames that compliment your natural features. Online shopping can make generic recommendations based on face shape, but your cheekbones, jawline, and forehead are all uniquely yours—so your glasses should be as well.

Test Drive Your Glasses

This may go without saying, but digital stores will always be digital. Even with “virtual try-ons,” you are not truly getting an honest look at how certain frames look on you. By trying on frames in person, you can feel them on your face and see how they look. This all comes together so you can make an informed decision about your purchase.

We Can Make Adjustments

Sometimes your glasses need little adjustments to help them fit perfectly. Poorly fitted glasses can cause eye strain and headaches, so ensuring your glasses sit where they should is crucial.

Unlike online purchases, which may require you to send your glasses back for adjustments—often at additional cost and time—optometrists can make these adjustments quickly and efficiently in their office. 

You Are Supporting Your Community

Buying glasses from your optometrist provides an opportunity to develop lasting relationships with healthcare providers who truly understand and care about the well-being of their patients. We don’t simply see your family as customers, but as neighbours, and we’re invested in supporting the health and happiness of the community we serve.

By choosing local optometry services, you are doing the same. You are investing in more than your vision; you are helping to enrich your community, making it a more connected place for everyone.

Your Vision is Our Passion

Eyeglasses are an essential tool and accessory for many people in our community. OHIP does not cover eyeglasses for seniors, which makes spending your money wisely all that more important. You can either go to an optometrist for quality glasses or buy from an online store for convenience, but your choices have their consequences.

At Alcona Eye Care Centre, we are here to help you value your eyesight. Visit us to browse our eyewear selection or update your prescription today!

Written by Alex Nwadozi

Dr. Alexander Nwadozi holds a medical and specialist degree in Ophthalmology from the University of Havana, Cuba. He went on to work as a consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon at the Anguilla Vision Centre in Anguilla, British West Indies.

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