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Ontarians in the dark on eye care options

Main St Optometry Newmarket
Published by in Eye Health · 4 February 2019
Ontarians in the dark on eye care options

New study finds only four per cent of Ontarians would visit an optometrist first for common eye-related health issues

TORONTO, ON – According to a recent provincial survey, Ontarians are looking for eye care in the wrong place.

While 92 per cent of Ontarians trust optometrists to give them important  information on their eye health, most opt to see a family physician,  pharmacist or a walk-in clinic to address eye-related concerns.

“It’s eye-opening to know that Ontarians are sitting in their family  doctor’s wait rooms rather than coming directly to the source for eye  care,” says Dr. Joshua Smith, President, Ontario Association of  Optometrists (OAO). “Optometrists have the equipment and the skills to  properly diagnose and treat common eye conditions, such as eye  infections and red eyes.”

Optometrists can also help prevent vision threatening eye diseases.  Despite this, Ontarians aren’t ‘seeing’ the important role optometrists  play in maintaining eye health, and overall health and wellness. The  survey found that:

  • Only 36 per cent of Ontarians  strongly agree that optometrists play a role in diagnosing chronic  conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, or thyroid disease.
  • If they were aware that  optometrists could play a role in early detection, 41 per cent would  visit an optometrist more regularly; and
  • When it comes to speed of care,  most Ontarians think they can see a family doctor faster (43 per cent)  than their optometrist (23 per cent).

“In fact, more than 90 per cent of Ontario optometrists can provide same-day care,” says Dr. Smith.

Optometrists are Ontario’s most accessible resource for eye care with  over 2,000 optometrists in 200 communities across the province. They can  help correct vision and diagnose, treat, and even help prevent vision  loss resulting from chronic diseases like diabetes and glaucoma.

“Ontario’s optometrists are ready and willing to do our part in making  Ontario’s health system more effective,” says Dr. Smith. “It’s time our  government recognized our role so that we can improve Ontarians’ access  to the quality care they deserve.”

About the Ontario Association of Optometrist Survey
An online survey of 1506 Ontario residents was completed between October  19-24, 2018, using Leger’s online panel. The margin of error for the  study was +/-2.5%, 19 times out of 20.

About the Ontario Association of Optometrists

The Ontario Association of Optometrists (OAO) is the leading  professional organization, representing over 1,600 optometrists. We are  dedicated to helping our members provide the highest standard of eye  health and vision care for Ontarians while driving the profession of  optometry forward.  For more information, visit Learn more  about what optometrists can do for you here, or, find an optometrist  near you.
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