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Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences

Frequently asked questions

This page outlines some of the common questions our patients and families often ask us.  We hope you find this helpful.  Feel free to let us know if your question is not answered, via our Contact us page.

Q: How do I make an appointment?
All appointments in our department are made by referrals only. Only a physician or an optometrist can make a referral.  View the Referrals page for more. After approval, an appointment letter will be mailed to the child’s family. The referring doctor will be notified by fax. For urgent appointments the family will be contacted by phone. If you, the parent/caregiver, should have any questions or scheduling concerns regarding your child’s appointment please call 416-813-6525.  See SickKids map for clinic areas.

Q:  How do I prepare for my child’s clinic experience?
The first person you will see when you arrive at the eye clinic will be the Patient Information Clerk.  They will register your child and get the necessary paperwork ready for your appointment. Make sure you have your child’s health card and other information ready, such as phone numbers and addresses. Any changes to patient information should be updated here. See the Eye Clinic for more information. 

Q:  Who will we meet?
During your child’s appointment, you will meet other members of the health care team. There may be several stages to your appointment with a wait time of 30 minutes or longer in-between. Everyone works together to give your child the best possible care. Your child will always be under the responsibility of a staff ophthalmologist (eye doctor). Please make sure you come prepared for a stay of at least 2–3 hours.
Learn more about members of our team.

Q: What is the difference between a doctor, a fellow and a resident? 
Every doctor goes through years of medical training in order to specialize. The trainees here in the Eye Clinic are fully licensed doctors who have chosen Ophthalmology as their specialty and are dedicated to diagnostics, treatment and research under the supervision of our top-notch physician staff.
Fellows are fully licensed medical doctors who have already been trained as ophthalmologists. The term is used for both male and female doctors. They are here to gain more experience in the treatment of pediatric eye problems.
Residents are licensed doctors training to be ophthalmologists. During their intensive training, residents work at different hospitals associated with their university for a few months at a time.

Q:  What is an Ophthalmologist?
An ophthalmologist is a fully licensed medical doctor who specializes in medical and surgical eye problems. Each clinic is held under the supervision of a staff ophthalmologist. They will assess and explain your child’s eye condition and discuss a plan of care (i.e. follow-up, order testing, surgery, etc.). They can also determine if your community physician can see you.

Q:  What do Nurses do?
The nurses in the eye clinic are registered nurses, who have special skills and knowledge of pediatric ophthalmology. They provide care to your child during sedated procedures, assist the doctor with the examination and provide various types of teachings to parents. Staff nurses also deliver support or can refer you to the appropriate person or agency that can get you the support you may need.

Q:   What is an Orthoptist?
Orthoptists are eye care professionals who specialize in the non-surgical treatment of visual disorders. They assess, evaluate and identify disorders particularly in the areas of strabismus and amblyopia. They work with the eye doctor responsible for your child’s care. Not all children need an orthoptic assessment.

Q:   What is an Ocular Genetic Counsellor?
An ocular genetic counsellor (OGC) has specialized knowledge of eye genetics. OGCs meet with families who have one or more family members affected with a genetic eye condition. OGCs provide information and will discuss topics appropriate to your child’s diagnosis. This information includes the cause, inheritance pattern, risks, reproductive options, genetic testing, research opportunities, vision aids and support groups. Psychosocial matters related to vision loss can also be discussed. This process helps the family to make informed decisions and better understand the eye condition in their family.

Q: How do I prepare for Surgery?
Learn more on our Coming for Surgery page.