What kind of eye doctor to see in Ontario?
November 20, 2012 9:29 AM   Subscribe

My boyfriend has some eye issues and hasn't been to the eye doctor in at least 10 years. What kind of doctor do we make an appointment with in Ontario, Canada?

Said boyfriend was born with cataracts, had surgery in the seventies for them which did not work well. I'm not sure of the details. He also has noticeable astigmatism and bifocals. He's 45, if that makes any difference.

He is not looking forward to getting his eyes checked out for the first time in so long, but understands that it is necessary.

My question is, what kind of eye doctor should he make an appointment with considering these issues? Are there really different kinds of eye doctor? In addition, if anyone has an eye doctor they love in Brampton/Mississauga area, recommendations would be awesome as well!

Thanks in advance, MeFites.
posted by heavenstobetsy to Health & Fitness (11 answers total)
Best answer: First, you would just go to an optometrist (who deals with glasses and corrective lenses). He or she will do some standard tests (including for cataracts), and if something needs checking, you will get a referral to an ophthamologist (a surgeon/specialist).
posted by flibbertigibbet at 9:36 AM on November 20, 2012

Best answer: Yes, there are different kinds of eye doctors. If he's just looking for a basic eye exam, an optometrist will do the trick. If they spot any more serious issues, they may refer him to an ophthalmologist.

The issues with his cataracts surgery may mean that he's going to need to see an ophthalmologist regardless, but he'll likely need a referral for that since ophthalmologists are specialists.

This page does a good job of explaining the differences between optometrists and ophthalmologists.
posted by asnider at 9:40 AM on November 20, 2012

Best answer: Also: I strongly suggest NOT going to optometrists that are attached to Hakim Optical. I've only heard bad things.

Other eyeglass chains (not independents) will usually have an in-house optometrist, but if you'd like, you can also go to stand-alone optometrists (just google 'optometrists brampton').

Sorry, but I live in a different part of Ontario and cannot provide a recommendation for a specific doctor.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 9:40 AM on November 20, 2012

He really needs to see an opthamologist. He can get a referral from his GP.
posted by mce at 9:51 AM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

I would go to his GP and get a referral. Optometry might not be covered, but opthamology is. And it sounds like he needs an opthamologist.
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 9:54 AM on November 20, 2012

Ophthalmologist is an MD that specializes in eyes. You want that. Not sure the process in Canada, but don't waste your time with an Optometrist, and don't go to a chain place.
posted by radioamy at 9:59 AM on November 20, 2012

Best answer: For people having had cataracts, this should be covered by OHIP. Get a referral from your GP to an ophthalmologist.
posted by scruss at 10:08 AM on November 20, 2012

Best answer: I sound relatively similar to your boyfriend: I was born with cataracts and had cataract surgery in the seventies and I'm 38. I don't know what your definition of "went well" is, but I have about 20/30 corrected vision in the one eye (the eye they did surgery on first) and almost completely blind in the other eye (amblyopia / "lazy eye") which they operated on two weeks later, by which time my brain was completely ignoring it. I am aphakic (no lens replacements) which it sounds like your boyfriend is as well. My glasses are very thick bifocals, though I wear contacts almost 100% of the time.

He probably should get checked by an actual opthalmologist, and not just an optometrist. Cataract patients are at a slightly elevated risk of retinal problems and he really should get his pupils dilated and looked into, and get the glaucoma test (this used to be the air-puff on the eye test, but now they just numb the eye and press this soft gauge thing against the eye, it's really not as bad as it sounds and it's really quick).

I've found that a lot of places won't make glasses with the wonky prescriptions aphakic patients require and sometimes there's an extra charge for the higher power lens. Chain optometrists and online places seem particularly to not do prescriptions above +6.00 or so. But any decent eye doctor with an attached optometrist shop will likely be able to meet his needs. I used to recommend that patients like your boyfriend and me seek out older opthalmologists, since they were around when our surgeries were standard (cataract surgery is very different now than it was back then) and they're more likely to be familiar with aphakic patients, but the opthalmologist I'm currently seeing is probably less than ten years older than me and she's great.

So... an opthalmologist is what he needs, preferably one who is knowledgeable about aphakia and who has an attached optometrist shop.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 10:29 AM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

Ophthalmologist, definitely. What does "it did not go well" mean? Is he legally blind - 20/200 or less than 10 degree visual field with corrective lenses.

It sounds like his vision has gotten noticeably worse and he's afraid of finding out what this means functionally for him. Give him some support, go with him, encourage him to make the appointment. If something is wrong he needs to find out what can be done and sometimes time is of the essence.
posted by Sal and Richard at 10:38 AM on November 20, 2012

Start with your family doctor, who will give a referral to the right specialist (probably based at a hospital).
posted by wdenton at 2:06 PM on November 20, 2012

Ophthalmologist. They can do vision tests and also check for new and old medical issues. (If he goes to an optometrist, on the other hand, he'll want to see an ophthalmologist too. Why see two doctors if you can see one?)
posted by Kololo at 3:27 PM on November 20, 2012

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