Loading...

Tag: vision

An important message to all our OHIP-insured patients

As of September 1, we will stop providing OHIP insured eye care services. This will affect seniors, children and some adults with certain medical or eye conditions.

Why are optometrists doing this?

For over 30 years, successive Ontario governments have ignored optometrists. In 1989 the fee paid for an OHIP insured eye exam was $39.15. Today, over 32 years later, the fee paid is on average $44.65. This has not kept up with inflation and only covers approximately ½ of the cost (occupancy costs, staff, utilities, equipment, taxes, supplies, etc.) of providing the service. Every time we provide an OHIP insured eye exam, we do so at a loss. This is not sustainable. We are doing this because we are looking for a solution that will allow quality eye care to be available to all our patients in the future.

For those provinces which provide a similar publicly funded service, Ontario is by far the lowest for reimbursement.

The Government’s Offer

You may have read the government has offered us an 8.48% increase on our fees. For a senior’s exam that would raise our fee to about $51.00. While this may appear generous, it still leaves us about 30% below Manitoba’s reimbursement, the next lowest province, and would still be far from covering our costs.

How Does This Affect You?

If you are a senior (65+), a child (19 and under) or an adult with an OHIP insured condition such as diabetes, we will be unable to see you. Provincial law prevents you, or your third-party insurance from paying for an OHIP insured examination. For those who already have an appointment scheduled, we will be contacting you week by week to place your names on a priority booking list so that we can see you when this crisis is resolved.

If you are between the ages of 20 – 64 and do not have an OHIP insured condition (or have a non-OHIP insured need) we are still able to provide you with service. If you have an emergency eye situation, please do call our office so that we can help you get the appropriate care.

How can I help?

You can help us work toward finding a solution by visiting saveeyecare.ca to sign our online petition and writing or calling your MPP.

Monte McNaughton, MPP Minister of Labour

Email: monte.mcnaughtonco@pc.ola.org

81 Front Street West
Strathroy, Ontario N7G 1X6
Tel: (519) 245-8696

OHIP and Your Access to Vision Care

Recently, you may have seen news about optometrists in Ontario and wondered how this impacts you and your family. Teeple Optometry along with optometrists across Ontario are deeply concerned about future access to professional vision care services

What’s the problem?

For more than 30 years, the Ontario government has failed to adequately fund eye care. For more than 30 years, the Ontario government has refused to formally negotiate with optometrists.

In 1989, the Ontario government paid $39.15 for an eye exam.

Thirty-two years later, in 2021, the Ontario government pays on average $44.65 for an eye exam.

That fee does not come close to covering the office expenses such as staff, rent, utilities, equipment, and supplies required to provide an eye exam.

The level of funding for OHIP-insured eye exams is not sustainable.

How will this affect you?

Unfortunately, those who will be impacted the most are the groups OHIP is supposed to protect; our children, seniors and those with existing eye diseases. If the government continues to ignore this issue, Ontario optometrists will be left with no choice but to stop providing OHIP services starting September 1st, 2021.

This means that any person who is OHIP-insured for their eye exam will not be able to see an optometrist, including those 19 years of age and under, 65 years of age and over, and adults with eye diseases related to diabetes, glaucoma and cataracts.

Ontario law makes it illegal for optometrists to accept direct payment or alternate health insurance for OHIP-insured services. As a result, these patients will simply not be able to book an appointment starting September 1st.

After more than 30 years of neglect, the Ontario government can still fix this before September 1st. They only need to commit to a formal negotiation that will lead to a solution where optometrists no longer have to pay out of pocket to provide an eye exam to OHIP-insured patients.  We are pleading with the Ontario government to act responsibly and avoid any impact to our patients.

What’s our plan?

At Teeple Optometry we are advocating for your continued access to quality eye care. For those of you who may have existing appointments after September 1st, or for those with eye diseases who require frequent monitoring we understand this is a difficult situation. If the Ontario government allows service to be disrupted, we will contact you to discuss an individual plan to ensure your specific health needs will be taken care of appropriately. We plan to keep you updated on our efforts and we are available to answer any questions you may have.

How You Can Help

If you or your family uses OHIP-insured services, and you want to help us ensure access to your doctor is not at risk, we invite you to visit SaveEyeCare.ca to sign an electronic letter to tell our elected government officials that eye care matters to you!

Best wishes Dr. Mark Teeple!

Teeple Optometry wishes to congratulate Dr. Mark Teeple on his retirement from practice. Dr. Mark launched the Arkona practice in 1979 following graduation from the University of Waterloo School of Optometry. He relocated the clinic to its current location in 1985. Dr. Mark brought the values of clinical excellence and continued learning to the practice. He earned his Fellowship in the American Academy of Optometry and was a clinical supervisor and lecturer at the School of Optometry. He gave back to the profession by serving on various committees and the executive board of the College of Optometrists of Ontario where he went on to serve a term as president. He also served on the board of the Canadian Examiners in Optometry. From the beginning of his career, Dr. Mark placed a high value on the interests of the local community and his patients.

Mark’s brother, Dr. Ralph Teeple, joined Dr. Mark’s growing practice in 1988. Dr. Tina Morowat joined the practice in 2016 and recently became a practice owner in 2019.   Just this year, Dr. Liam Teeple has joined as an associate. Teeple Optometry’s vision is to continue to share Dr. Mark’s values of clinical excellence, education, community involvement and care for our patients.

Dr. Mark will be missed by his fellow doctors, the team and patients of Teeple Optometry. We wish him the very best as he transitions into this next stage of life!

Glaucoma – The Silent Thief

Imagine a thief stealing a little tiny bit of your vision every day, over the course of years, starting with your peripheral vision. Normally, we don’t pay much attention to our peripheral vision and we assume that how we are seeing is normal. A slow, progressive loss of peripheral vision sensitivity is the natural course of the most common type of glaucoma, primary open angle glaucoma, a disease affecting the optic nerve and it’s neurons. It is not until significant damage has occurred to the optic nerve and there is a profound loss of peripheral vision that a person will realize there might be a problem.

It is difficult to understand the value of our ability to perceive the world using our five senses until one of the senses is defective, as those who have lost vision or hearing will attest. Many types of vision loss can be restored using glasses, therapy,  medicine or surgery. Vision loss from glaucoma cannot be reversed, only prevented in the first place. Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the world. It is one of the reasons eye care professionals recommend regular eye examinations.

The optic nerve contains about 1 million neurons that transmit visual information from the eye to the brain. As we age, we naturally lose a few neurons year by year. When this destruction of healthy neurons is accelerated in a specific manner, it is called glaucoma. There are several types of glaucoma but I will discuss just two, primary open angle glaucoma and acute angle closure glaucoma.

The causes of primary open angle glaucoma are not yet completely understood. We know there are several risk factors for glaucoma such as elevated eye pressure, age, family history, ethnicity (such as African-American), corneal thickness, general health conditions, previous eye disease and use of certain eye medications. Glaucoma is not diagnosed with just one test and it can present quite differently between individuals. Elevated eye pressure is not always present and some people will develop glaucoma in spite of low eye pressures. Often glaucoma is diagnosed by observing changes in the eye and eye function over time. During a routine eye examination your optometrist will use special instruments to examine the optic nerve’s structure at the back of the eye for signs of glaucoma. The optometrist will also inquire about risk factors, screen for peripheral vision problems and measure the eye’s pressure. If there are risk factors or suspicious findings, the optometrist will do follow-up testing that might include detailed peripheral vision testing, pachymetry (measuring the corneal thickness), gonioscopy (using a special lens to examine an internal eye structure called the trabecular meshwork) and optical coherence tomography (measuring the thickness of the neuron layer around the optic nerve). Sometimes initial testing neither confirms nor rules out glaucoma and testing needs to be repeated over months and sometimes years to be certain of the diagnosis.

Treatment for primary open angle glaucoma is recommended following diagnosis or with a high level of suspicion or risk of vision loss. The goal of treatment is to prevent further vision loss by lowering the eye pressure to a level where damage to the optic nerve would be minimized. Treatment can involve  prescription eye drops, laser, surgery or a combination of these. Frequent follow-up is important to ensure the treatment is effective in halting damage to the optic nerve. Glaucoma is a chronic condition that requires monitoring, usually for the rest of one’s life.

Acute angle closure glaucoma is much less common and presents very differently. There is a fluid within the eye called aqueous humour that is constantly being produced and drained. The aqueous fluid pressure  “inflates” the eye giving it a normal structure. The aqueous is continually drained through the trabecular meshwork which is located in an angle where the iris and the cornea meet near the front of the eye. If the iris is too close to the cornea, for one of a few possible reasons,  the angle may close, blocking the trabecular meshwork “drain” and the eye pressure then builds up rapidly, sometimes within just a few hours. When this happens, it causes blurred vision and intense eye pain. This is an eye emergency and requires immediate attention by your optometrist, ophthalmologist or emergency department in order to preserve vision. Your optometrist can tell you if you are a higher risk for acute angle closure glaucoma during a routine eye examination.

Don’t allow the “silent thief” to steal one of your most precious senses. At Teeple Optometry, all the optometrists are trained to diagnose and treat glaucoma. Make sure to have regular eye examinations as recommended by your optometrist.

Top