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 optom.on.ca. Learn more about what optometrists can do for you here, or, find an optometrist near you. 

For more information or to book an interview, please contact:
 
Megan Schumacher
Argyle PR
416.968.7311 x259
mschumacher@argylepr.com

Brittany Blow
Ontario Association of Optometrists
905.826.3522 x246
bblow@optom.on.ca