Does MSP Cover Eye Exams?

Does MSP Cover Eye Exams?

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If you’re a Canadian resident, your Medical Care Plan covers things like trips to the doctors, hospital treatment and maternity care. But does MSP cover eye exams?

The answer is that it depends on which province you live in. If you live in British Columbia, where Image Optometry has 19 stores, then your Medical Services Plan (‘MSP’ for short) will cover eye exams in certain situations.

Let us explain.

Enrolled optometrists 

In British Columbia, optometrists must choose whether they wish to enrol with the Medical Services Plan. It is not a legal requirement and optometrists may still practice without registering with MSP.

It’s important to know this, because if you visit an optometrist who is not enroled with MSP, you must always pay for the cost of your care. This applies even if you have your own MSP coverage, or are classified as a dependent on someone else’s policy.

If an optometry service does enrol, patients who have valid MSP coverage will not have to pay for certain services, or will only have to pay a surcharge. The matter of whether or not you will have to pay depends on:

  • Whether you are having a routine eye exam
  • Whether you are having a medically required eye exam
  • Your age

Routine eye exams 

If you are aged between 19 and 64, routine eye exams are not covered under your MSP. If you are under the age of 19 or over the age of 64, the rules are slightly different. See below for further information.

Routine eye exams are basically check-ups for your eyes. They differ to medically required eye exams, which is when a patient has a medical condition that may be affecting their eye health, and is referred to an optometrist for further tests.

You might be tempted to think that seeing as routine eye exams are not covered by your MSP, you won’t bother to have any. But it’s extremely important to have routine eye exams?


Firstly to ensure that any eye-related diseases are diagnosed and treated in the early stages. This can include glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, cataracts and diabetic retinopathy. These conditions all need to be treated as quickly as possible, or long-lasting damage can occur.

Secondly to ensure you are using the right kind of corrective eye wear. There comes a point in nearly everyone’s life when glasses or contact lenses are needed. Even if you enjoy perfect vision in your youth, it’s normal that the effects of aging will cause your vision to deteriorate to such an extent that you require reading glasses. Others may also suffer from refractive errors, such as short sightedness, long sightedness and astigmatism.

Without the right corrective eye wear, you are likely to experience poor vision, headaches and nausea – all of which are symptoms that can be resolved with prescription glasses.

We suggest that children under the age of 14 have an eye exam twice a year. Children between the ages of 15 and 18 should have their eyes tested once a year, as should adults over the age of 65. For everyone else, we recommend that you have your eyes tested once every two years.

If you want a routine eye exam and you are aged between 19 and 64, you’ll need to pay for the appointment. The cost will depend on how much the optometrist service charges, so it might be worth comparing the prices of different providers before booking an appointment.

At Image Optometry we want to make eye care accessible for everyone. Our eye exams are affordable, and our famous deal means you can get an eye exam and a pair of glasses for just $89.95! To benefit from our outstanding care, book an appointment with one of our eye doctors.

Routine eye exams if you are under 19 

If you are under the age of 19, your MSP will fund or subsidize the cost of one routine eye exam a year. Additionally MSP may cover all routine eye exams for children under the age of 19 in families who receive income or disability assistance.

However, there may be extra surcharge to pay. Currently a Medical Services Plan will cover the cost of routine eye exams up to $48.90, so if the eye exam costs more than this, you will need to pay the difference.

Routine eye exams if you are over 64 

If you are over the age of 64, your MSP will fund or subsidize the cost of one routine eye exam a year. Again, MSP will cover the cost of routine eye exams up to $48.90, so there may an additional cost to pay.

Additional health insurance 

If you are not eligible to receive free routine eye exams, you should consider whether you have a health insurance policy in place, as this may cover the cost of eye exams. This could be something you have taken out yourself, or it could be a perk that your employer offers staff.

You will need to check the terms of the policy to find out exactly what is included. You may be entitled to partially funded eye exams, or the policy may even cover the cost in full.

Medically required eye exams 

Medically required eye exams are a completely different ball game to routine eye exams.

Medically required eye exams are a MSP benefit, regardless of age. And what exactly is meant by ‘medically required?’

According to the Government of British Columbia, the criteria for medically required eye exams include:

  • Ocular disease, trauma or injury
  • Systemic diseases associated with significant ocular risk (e.g. diabetes)
  • Medications associated with significant ocular risk

The full list of conditions and diagnoses that warrant medically required eye exams is extensive, and ranges from retinal detachment to multiple sclerosis.

Typically a patient will be referred to an optometrist by another medical practitioner. It is the duty of the referring medical practitioner to determine if the eye exam is medically required.

If you need a medically required eye exam, you must ensure that you visit an optometrist who is MSP registered. does mcp cover eye exams?

MSP Optometrists 

If you’re wondering whether Image Optometry is enrolled with MSP, the answer is yes, we are! We provide routine eye exams and medically required eye exams, meaning our eye doctors are able to provide the care you need, whether it’s funded or not.

Our aim is to provide excellent eye health care at affordable prices. That’s because we want eye care to be accessible for everyone, even if the cost of the appointment is not covered by your Medical Services Plan.

Simply book an appointment with our MSP registered eye doctors to benefit from specialist eye care at affordable prices.


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