Rideau Centre

St. Laurent Centre


Learn More about Optometrists & More in Ottawa

Have you ever wondered what the different between an optician and an optometrist is, what the name of your eye condition is or whether eye exams are covered by OHIP? On this page, you will find resources that answer these questions and more! If you have any further questions or would like to learn more about our team, feel free to contact us.

Our helpful resources include:


The Three O's

Patients often ask us the difference between ophthalmologist, optometrist and optician. In Canada, you can find 3 primary types of eye care professionals:

  • Optometrists are doctors of optometry trained to diagnose, treat, manage, and prevent diseases and disorders of the eye and its related structures. Optometrists are also trained to provide, fit, and adjust glasses and contact lenses for patients who require them. Your optometrist will refer you to an ophthalmologist if needed.
  • Ophthalmologists are physicians who graduated from medical school with special training in diagnosing and treating diseases and disorders of the eye. They are able to diagnose and treat ocular diseases by medical and surgical means. 
  • Opticians are an important member of your eye care team who provide, fit, and adjust glasses and contact lenses. They are often found in a retail setting.

To schedule an appointment with the eye doctors at Rideau Optometric, please contact us.


Common Eye Conditions

Whether developing from heredity, aging or some other cause, there are many eye conditions that can affect you. The following is a list of common eye conditions and how they can affect your vison. If you or a loved one suffer from any of these conditions, or fear that you might, please contact us to schedule an appointment with our doctors.

  • Myopia: also called nearsightedness; people with myopia can see objects up close while distant objects are blurry. 
  • Hyperopia: also called farsightedness; people with hyperopia can see distant objects clearly but have trouble seeing things up close. 
  • Astigmatism: a type of refractive error in the eye, people with astigmatism have trouble focusing on light, causing multiple focus points and blurry vision. 
  • Presbyopia: the gradual loss of your eyes’ ability to focus on close objects. People tend to get presbyopia as they age because the lens of the eye is less flexible, causing focusing issues. 
  • Age related macular degeneration: progressive damage of the macula (the area of the retina responsible for our central vision), AMD is one of the leading causes of vision loss in patients over 65. 
  • Glaucoma: increasing eye pressure causes compression to the optic nerve, leading to loss of your peripheral vision and eventually your central vision. 
  • Cataracts: there is a clear lens in your eyes called cataracts, providing the power to help us focus. With age, this lens can become cloudy from UV absorption and environmental factors. Cataract issues lead to problems focusing. 
  • Dry eye syndrome: occurring when your tears cannot provide enough moisture for your eyes, dry eye syndrome causes great discomfort. 
  • Eye allergies: during allergy season, your eyes may be come itchy, red, and swollen. Eye allergies are caused by irritants such as dust and pollen. Allergy season can last from January to November depending on where you live. 
  • Retinal detachment: your retina is at the back of your eye. It contains cells sensitive to light that trigger nerve impulses to the brain, enabling us to see. Your retina can tear or detach, causing you to see sudden flashes of light or have blocked vision. Contact an optometrist immediately if you have these symptoms. 
  • Amblyopia: also called a lazy eye, amblyopia is a vision development problem in infants and young children. One eye cannot achieve normal visual acuity, even with prescription glasses or contact lenses. When detected early enough, lazy eyes can be treated. 
  • Strabismus: the failure of your eyes to maintain proper alignment, strabismus causes the inability of your eyes to work as a team. You will experience double vision, with your eyes looking in different directions at the same time. When caught early enough, strabismus can be corrected through therapy and the use of special glasses, but if left untreated your brain will ignore visual input from the misaligned eye. 
  • Vision therapy: a term used to describe several different exercises, vision therapy is used to help develop visual abilities or improve already existing visual skills. 
  • Colour blindness: a deficiency in the way you see colour, people with colour blindness have trouble telling the difference between certain colours such as red and green.
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Frequently Asked Questions

The following items are the three most commonly asked questions at Rideau Optometric. If your question isn’t answered below, feel free to contact us to learn more.

Question: How early should children get eye exams?
Answer: We recommend that children should have an eye exam as early as at 6 months of age, and yearly going forward. Your optometrist is a great resource for any of the times you suspect an eye problem or issue. The optometrist will perform a different eye exam for children than he performs on adults. Children do not need to know the alphabet or to provide verbal responses during their examinations.

Routine eye examinations for children are very important because early detection and treatment of many vision disorders will minimize learning issues and development of lazy eye (amblyopia).

Question: Are eye exams covered by OHIP?
Answer: Since November 1, 2004, routine eye examinations by an optometrist for patients between the ages of 20 to 64 are no longer covered through OHIP. However, patients under 19 and over 65 are still covered through OHIP for yearly routine eye examinations. In addition, OHIP will cover individuals between 20 and 64 if they have certain conditions such as diabetes, glaucoma, or cataracts.

Many private insurance plans include vision care benefits, so be sure to contact your insurance companies for further details.

Question: Is a comprehensive eye exam the same as a sight test?
Answer: No. A comprehensive eye examination is provided by an optometrist while a sight test is only the measurement for an eyeglass prescription performed by an optician, often using automated instruments. In the case of sight tests, eye health is not examined and many diseases such as retinal holes or tears, cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration are not being detected.

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