The Eyes Have It

lookin' at you

Eyes. You have them. I have them. And I want to keep mine in tip-top shape. But the provincial government, the one led by Doug Ford, the one so concerned with vaccines and shots, doesn’t seem to care about your sight.

On September 1 the optometrists in this province went on strike. Doug Ford and the current minister of health the Honorable Christine Elliott don’t want you to know it has a problem they may not be able to handle.

On Sept. 1, 2021 this happened.

Optometrists stopped giving eye exams to:

  • Children, toddlers, and children in school needing glasses
  • Adults with pre-existing conditions (near sighted, far sighted, etc.)
  • All seniors

Why Is This Happening? 

  • For more than 30 years the government has not formally negotiated with Ontario optometrists
  • There continues to be a growing gap between inflation and investment in eye care.
  • In 1989, the Ontario government paid $39.15 for an OHIP-insured eye exam. Today, they pay only $44.65 per exam leaving the optometrist to pay the remainder out of their own pockets.
  • That fee does not come anywhere close to covering office expenses such as staff, rent, utilities, equipment, and supplies required to provide an eye exam.

What’s the solution?

There is only one solution. We need the government to commit to a binding, formal negotiation process – the same way they do with other health care sectors like the Ontario Medical Association – to ensure quality eye care for everyone in Ontario, today and in the future. Optometrists are doctors. Remember when the Ford government wanted us to thank front line workers?They are trying to ignore optometrists, and not pay them a living wage.

I’m not a senior yet (that happens next month), but I can’t get an exam because I have a pre-existing eye condition. My wife is in the same situation. We don’t like being caught in the middle of this strike/job action. The last time I had an eye exam was in December of 2018. I picked up my “new” glasses in January of 2019. I’m already having trouble reading. Sometimes, I’m not sure if I read an “L” or a “B”. In 2022 there will be a provincial election, and Doug Ford as well as Christine Elliott will want to get re-elected. With a aging population, and a great many eye exams being postponed because of a narrow minded tight fisted government, it will be interesting to see, (pun not intended), if anybody will be able to read the ballot.

squinting (1)

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