Research Article - Journal of Clinical Ophthalmology (2021) Volume 5, Issue 1
Low vision device coverage across Canada
Purpose: Low vision devices can play a significant role in improving the quality of life of the visually impaired. Because each Canadian province and territory is responsible for how health care is delivered, government coverage for devices varies between jurisdictions. This article provides a concise summary of the different provincial and territorial low vision device subsidies available to visually impaired adults in Canada.
Methods: Information gathered for this article was obtained from organizations such as Vision Loss Rehabilitation Canada, health care professionals (including ophthalmologists and optometrists) across Canada and from government agencies providing low vision services. Details regarding government assistance for low vision devices include the program name, administering organization, eligibility, types of devices that are subsidized and how the assistance is administered in each province and territory. Links to government websites for device coverages are provided in the article where applicable.
Results: Within the 10 provinces and 3 territories of Canada, there is some form of financial assistance for low vision devices available to the adult population in 54% (7/13) of the jurisdictions. At present, subsidization is quite variable between jurisdictions, ranging from full coverage to no provincial/ territorial coverage whatsoever. Furthermore, while there is some coverage in Manitoba and New Brunswick, it is limited to post-secondary education and work-related needs.
Conclusion: Adults with low vision in Canada cannot always rely on public support to obtain low vision devices. Further legislation and development of coverages is needed to provide more unified and equitable access to devices for all Canadians.Author(s): Andrew Swift, Yejun Hong, Amit Sahni, Micah Luong, Samuel N Markowitz