LETTER: Province created non-COVID health crisis

Premier Ford, and by extension, our MPP, Tod Smith, have created a non-covid health crisis unique to Ontario that is almost three months old affecting around four million Ontario citizens.

Those of us in Prince Edward County, or indeed anywhere in the province, over 65 or under 19 have not had access to eye health care since September 1. Ontario’s Optometrists reluctantly were forced to withdraw eye examines for OHIP patients to encourage the Ford government to negotiate a more realistic OHIP fee structure. Optometrists in Ontario say they’re the lowest paid in Canada and that the province pays about $44 for an eye exam, which the group said only covers about half the cost.

The province did give optometrists $39 million and offered an 8.48 per cent raise, but the Ontario Association of Optometrists (OAO) said that doesn’t allow the profession to catch up from years of under funding. Ford has reached out to the OAO recently, the first time in 12 months, but three months is a long time without eye health care.

Several years ago during a routine yearly eye checkup at a Picton optometrist the doctor discovered a torn retina in one of my eyes.

I had experienced no symptoms prior to the examination. An untreated torn retina is serious business leading to loss of sight. By four in the afternoon I had travelled to Kingston where I received emergency laser surgery and so avoided further trouble.

I shudder to think what would happen right now under current conditions. Some patients say they’re willing to pay for their eye exams, but that’s not allowed in Ontario as patients can’t pay for a service that is covered by OHIP. The only option is to go out of province.

This has got to stop. I urge you to contact Tod Smith to express the need to settle this health care crisis now.

Mr Smith’s email address is Todd.Smithco@pc.ola.org.

Nigel Sivel