A full eye exam by one of our eye doctors is much more than just checking the strength of your eyes to see if you need glasses or an update to your prescription. Comprehensive eye exams can detect eye diseases and disorders such as glaucoma, cataracts, retinal detachments and macular degeneration, as well as other systemic health problems such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

Your Comprehensive Eye Exam Will Include the Following:

  • A case history including past and present vision and medical issues, as well as a detailed family history.
  • An analysis of your visual needs at home, work, school and play. In some instances, this may necessitate questions about your work or school environment and recreational activities in order to accurately determine your visual demands.
  • Measurement of the visual acuity of each eye, individually and together, both with and without corrective lenses at distance and near.
  • Detailed determination of the glasses and/or contact lens prescription based on a combination of objective (measurements) and subjective (responses to questions) techniques.
  • Binocular vision assessment (ability to see using both eyes together), as it relates to eye coordination, depth perception, and eye movements, or in some cases, eye-hand coordination.
  • Colour vision evaluation.
  • Assessment of the health of the eye itself both inside and outside using a biomicroscope, ophthalmoscope and a dilated eye examination when indicated.
  • A neurological assessment of the visual system including a review of the pupil reactions, ocular motility, and an assessment of the peripheral vision.
  • Screening for glaucoma, including testing pressure inside the eye, looking inside the eye at the retina and optic nerve, as well as performing peripheral vision tests.
  • Additional testing may be needed based on the results of the previous tests to confirm or rule out possible problems, to clarify uncertain findings, or to provide a more in-depth assessment. These can include, but are not limited to, tests such as retinal photography, gonioscopy, corneal pachymetry, optic nerve or macular scans (OCT), corneal topography, and automated visual field testing.
  • All of the test results are used in the final analysis to determine the appropriate prescription lenses to treat refractive and visual problems, to develop a program of eye training exercises, or to recommend medical or surgical treatment.
  • Recommendations for future eye care or treatment for current eye disease can be made based on the history of eye health and the results of the examination.


All children should have their first eye exam at 6 months of age and sooner if a problem is detected by parents. Comprehensive eye exams with an optometrist are the only way to tell if your child’s eyes are developing properly. Many eye health problems can be treated if they are caught early. For example, a lazy eye can be completely corrected if it is detected and treated early.

Eye exams also make sure your child is able to learn. Children who cannot see the board, focus on a picture or follow words in a book may struggle to achieve their full learning potential. Vision problems can also impact their hand-eye coordination for physical activities and even impact their social development. Almost three-quarters of Ontario’s parents are unaware that vision problems can cause speech difficulties, nearly two-third are unaware that they can lead to developmental delays and half of parents do not realize that a vision problem may be the cause of short attention spans in children.

Undetected and untreated vision problems often cause reading difficulties, and can cause the same signs and symptoms that are commonly attributed to issues such as ADHD, dyslexia and speech problems.

Our eye doctors have special training and enjoy seeing children for eye exams. We keep it fun!  The experience is not scary, and children will often leave with smiles on their faces after “playing eye vision games” with the doctor. We also have special tests for children that keep the exam interesting and give us accurate results. Your child does not need to know the alphabet or even be able to speak in order for us to check their eyes.

Comprehensive Exams for Children vs. School Vision Screenings

Vision screenings are not a substitute for a comprehensive eye health exam. A vision screening does not assess the entire visual system, including the health of a child’s eyes, so many vision problems can be missed.

Many children participate in vision screening or sight test programs at school, which some parents confuse with a comprehensive eye exam. These tests are limited and cannot be used to diagnose a vision or eye health problem. Studies have shown that vision screening tests have high error rates. Forty-three per cent of children with an eye health problem are able to pass a vision screening.

Eye exams performed by optometrists look at the structural development of the eye and identify any underlying health conditions. Retinoblastoma is the most common type of eye cancer in children, accounting for approximately three per cent of all cancers that occur in children younger than 15 years of age. The disease may show signs as early as six to nine months old. Optometrists also play a role in monitoring children with diabetes, one of the most common chronic diseases among children and youth in Canada. Optometrists look for telltale signs of diabetic retinopathy, which damages the small blood vessels in the retina.


OHIP covers eye exams for children aged 19 and under as well as adults aged 65 and older. Partial eye exams to assess eye infections or other vision concerns are also always covered.

Adults aged 20-64 are not covered under OHIP unless they have a serious eye concern such as cataract, glaucoma, lazy eye or diabetes. This age group may be covered by employer’s work insurance for routine eye exams.