Dear valued patients,
At Eye Care For You we are proud to have been able to provide quality and accessible eye care to your families and our community in Orléans for over 35 years. Optometrists are the front-line workers of the vision care system, and their services are at the heart of screening and diagnostic services in Ontario.
But throughout our time in business - for more than 30 years - governments have failed to invest in eye care. As a result, OHIP now only covers a fraction of the cost of an eye exam – nowhere near enough to cover the cost of staff and overhead. Which means that our clinic, and optometrists across the province, have been paying the balance of an OHIP exam out our own pockets.
Before the pandemic, this situation was unfair and unsustainable. But today, with optometry practices beginning the process of gradually re-opening, our profession is facing a crisis.
To comply with physical distancing directives from the government and the College of Optometrists of Ontario, optometrists can only see half the number of patients they did before COVID-19. This will wipe out nearly two million comprehensive eye exams over the next 12 months. With statistics showing that 1 in 3 Ontarians will have some form of vision-threatening eye disease by the age of 65, finding a sustainable solution is ever more pressing.
Help us save eye care in Ontario. Visit www.SaveEyeCare.ca and tell the Ontario government to reform OHIP for a more sustainable eye care system.
Thank you for your understanding and we appreciate your support,
The team at Eye Care For You
Why is it so hard to get an appointment?
We’re committed to seeing all patients but due to physical distancing, the number of patients we can see in a day has greatly decreased by half. This means we have less available time slots to book appointments and may result in a longer delay for you to be seen. And due to government underfunding, Optometrists in Ontario are now referring out all requests for partial eye exams. We’re sorry for the inconvenience and thank you for your understanding.
What does this new ‘Save Eye Care’ job action mean for me?
Along with my colleagues across the province, we have made the difficult decision that, effective immediately, requests for partial eye exams (including urgent care) will be redirected to other health care professionals. If we can’t see you, we’ll refer you to get the help you need. Depending on the urgency, that could mean a referral to ophthalmologists, family doctors or the ER. We understand this situation may inconvenience many of you so we appreciate your understanding and support.
Are you threatening to stop seeing all OHIP patients?
We remain committed to seeing all patients for their comprehensive exam, as best as we can. But with OHIP covered exams making up 65-70% of our schedule, and no material increase in government funding in 30 years, we now cover half the cost of an eye exam. In a social-distancing world where we can only see half the patients we did before, an unsustainable situation has become a crisis, and we are forced to take action.
No one else will see me and I’m scared to go to the ER. Why won’t you help me?
We understand your frustration. We feel it as well. We chose this profession because we are committed to helping people. But we are in an emergency situation and we regret that we just can’t provide urgent care or minor assessments at this time. We’re ready and willing to adapt to the new post-COVID reality, but we need the government to work with us to ensure you get the accessible, quality eye care you deserve. We understand this situation is far from ideal, but with proper funding from our government, we can solve this over the long term.
How can you justify putting pressure on the government during a global pandemic?
OHIP has been underfunding eye care for over 30 years, covering only half the cost of delivering OHIP insured services. The pandemic has been devastating to many on many levels. We have had to close our doors for 3 months and are now re-opening with increased costs to ensure patient safety, and at lowered patient volume to respect social distancing. This is now about the survival of our livelihood. COVID-19 has ignited the crisis, but it’s been fueled by 30 years of failing to invest in eye care.
Why should I suffer if you are in a fight with the government?
I appreciate that this situation is unfair to you, our valued patients, but the government has left optometrists in Ontario with no alternative. Operating at a loss is not sustainable, and this pandemic has made the problem even more acute. We are fighting not just for our survival, but to find a permanent solution that protects patients and the public interest in the long term.
Why can’t you use telemedicine to assess my vision?
Optometrists have actually been quick to road-test this novel approach, and we can offer some consultations with virtual means. But we’re limited in what we can do virtually because most of our diagnostics are conducted with specialized equipment.
What can I do to help?
Click www.SaveEyeCare.ca to be directed to a website that is calling on the government to better fund eye care. It would be greatly appreciated if through this link, you could sign your name to a letter to your MPP, the Minister of Health and Premier. It will take no more than 5 minutes and can help save our practice and eye care in Ontario.