Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a referral to be seen at VRM Toronto?
We require referrals for all of our patients. We do not accept self-referred patients or walk-in appointments. You must seek the advise of your health care professional as to whether or not a referral is appropriate prior to contacting our clinic. Unfortunately, we cannot provide you with medical advise if you are not a patient in this clinic or give over the telephone/email opinions/comment on your specific condition or past medical experience. We encourage you to communicate with your current health care provider(s) to guide you in the right direction.
How long will I have to wait to get an appointment ?
At VRM we make every effort to reduce wait times in order to be seen by our doctors. Urgent referrals from health care providers are processed as such by a specialized patient services team that is sensitive to the urgency of patients wanting to be seen by a provider as soon as possible.
My doctor sent a referral. What happens next?
Our patient services team evaluates all referrals on a daily basis. We understand you may be feeling anxious and understandably so. Once your referral is evaluated and processed, we contact your referring provider with all appointment details. If your referring provider has given us your contact information, we will also contact you directly with this information and help better prepare you for your appointment. Referrals received are processed within one week of their receipt.
Because we offer small and very specialized clinics, it is essential that referrals are evaluated carefully. If it is determined that our clinic is not a good fit for you, we will communicate with your referring provider and suggest alternate clinics that may be able to better help you. Sometimes, we receive referrals that would be better directed to a different type of specialist. Because we want to be sure that you are directed to the right place, our team is trained to evaluate every referral we receive. We communicate with all referring providers to ensure we do our part in helping this process.
What should I bring with me to my appointment?
Our patient services team will go over this with you in detail upon receiving an appointment time, and will further communicate this with your referring provider (who is also asked to share this information with you.) Rest assured, we make every effort to ensure that all of our patients are very well informed of every step along the way.
We ask that patients:
Supply any previous medical history, images, and records where possible (ahead of appointment ideally)
Bring an updated list of medications being taken at each visit (if changes). You are encouraged to bring medications in their original containers.
Bring a pair of eye glasses (please do not wear contact lenses to your appointment!), and sunglasses (should you experience temporary light sensitivity after having your eyes dilated with eye drops.
Bring a friend/or family member to bring you to and from appointment OR arrange other transportation ahead of time (unfortunately, we are not able to arrange transportation for you!)
Bring a list of questions you have prepared ahead of time to discuss with your doctor.
**Please note, it is your responsibility to request your medical history from your provider. With your permission, we do make every effort to ask on your behalf, however request time and protocol for requests to be answered can vary from one institution to another. This response time is beyond our control. Essentially, the more prepared you are for your appointment, the better we are able to assist you.
Can/should I bring a friend or family member with me?
Absolutely. We encourage you to bring a friend or family member to your appointment as your eyes will likely be dilated at every visit. Because the medication we instill in your eye can have temporary side effects such as "blurry vision" and "light sensitivity", we advise all patients to abstain from driving and arrange to be accompanied by another individual. Please be assured that these are temporary side effects and necessary in order to view your retina clearly for your eye exam.
Please note that at this time, companions other than translator and essential caregivers will not be allowed to enter the clinic. We do have a protocol in place to ensure your companion is contacted when you are finished with your appoitnment.
English is not my first language. What do you advise?
If English is not your first language, please bring someone with you who can function as a translator for you during your appointment. We have found that patients who have language barriers face many struggles in participating in their healthcare, and we would like to help prevent this. We want to make sure you understand what is being explained or discussed during your appointment so you are on board and feel a sense of reassurance that we are working together. Our goal is to provide a detailed examination and discuss our findings with you as well as educate you as to what your options are. We want you to feel informed and empowered in this process.
What makes VRM Toronto unique?
We are passionate about fighting blindness. This is the heart of our practice and we have devoted our lives to studying and advancing our field.
We pride ourselves on offering a highly specialized clinical environment in a small boutique like setting while offering the most current advancements in retinal technology. All practices at VRM Toronto are designed to be centred around the patient experience. We believe that all patients should feel safe, empowered, and engaged as participants in their healthcare. We are your partners and on the same team.
We are engaged in mentorship with students because we believe that it is our responsibility to participate in the education and training of those aspiring to be in health professions. Instilling the importance of intellectual aptitude, research, as well as compassion, sensitivity, and good communication skills are essential to being in healthcare. We understand delivering excellent healthcare requires an excellent and close-knit team where every role is valued and essential.
We also strongly believe in collaborating with our fellow health professionals around the world because together, we move our field forward to help patients.
Why is it important that my doctor is actively engaged in research?
The field of retinal ophthalmology has rapidly changed in the past decade with the advent of new technologies and treatment modalities. We believe that it is our responsibility to keep up with these changes and have a part in shaping the future of the way retina care is delivered.
As we learn more, we must evolve in order to provide the best care we can to our patients. As such, we are proud to participate in many of the latest clinical trials in retinal medicine and believe our patients should have access to innovative treatment options. All treatments and options are not a good fit for all patients, therefore it is essential through examination that we evaluate your eye and present what options would be best suited to your individual needs.
What is the significance of "FRCSC" at the end of my doctor's name?
FRCS(C) stands for "Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Canada which is a distinction earned nationally for establishing specialist medical expertise in an area of study. Specific to ophthalmology, when your doctor is fellowship certified (has the FRCSC), you can be confident that they passed a set of rigorous examinations in order to practice ophthalmology. We encourage you to visit the Royal College website here.
What is the significance of "DABO" at the end of my doctor's name?
DABO stands for "Diplomat of the American Board of Ophthalmology. Certification by the American Board of Ophthalmology is a voluntary process that involves a written and an oral examination. A candidate who passes both the written qualifying and oral examinations becomes a Board Certified Diplomat of the American Board of Ophthalmology. We encourage you to visit the American Board of Ophthalmology website here.
What is a virtual visit?
A virtual visit is a scheduled online (over the internet) meeting with your doctor to review your condition and testing as well as answer any questions you may have. You are welcome to have a caregiver or family member with you for this meeting.
Virtual appointments allow us to see you in the comfort and safety of your home. We will answer your questions as best as we can, and should it be necessary, we will ask you to come in for further evaluation. The idea being that if we can save you a trip here, we will.
All patients are not candidates for virtual visits, and as such you may be asked to come in, in order for us to help you in your individual situation. This is evaluated carefully on a case by case basis to your ensure safety and well being!
We do care about our patients and want to help you see better!
I had imaging done at my other eye care provider's office. Is it possible that I have to get additional or repeat imaging at your office?
Retina Specialists work together with other eye care providers (such as optometrists and general ophthalmologists) to care for your eyes. Often, during a general eye exam, a provider may notice something that is not "normal" in your retina and this may flag their attention to send a referral to a retina specialist for further evaluation and study - so that the problem may be correctly diagnosed and/or treated. Sometimes treatment is not warranted.
At VRM Toronto, we offer our patients access to different imaging modalities to help diagnose underlying pathologies they may have in their eye(s). Like to MRI's and CT scans, certain technologies are more helpful in visualizing the area of concern and helping to arrive at a diagnosis to help treat our patients. You may think of them as highly specialized photographs that take a good deal of technical training to take and years of study to interpret.
We recommend that you read about some of these imaging modalities in the Our Services section of this website. Please know that all tests are not appropriate or warranted for every patient. If we recommend something, it is because we feel it will be helpful to you.
In some cases, diagnostic imaging is not covered by OHIP.
You have the right to decline non-OHIP/uninsured imaging, however we will not make clinical decisions based on images taken at another office/clinic as we are medically liable/responsible for decions we make.
Any relevant imaging that is covered by OHIP will still also need to be repeated as we cannot be medically liable for images taken at other facilities.
What is a Retina Specialist?
A retina specialist is a medical doctor that has completed medical school, further specializing in the field of Ophthalmology, and further undergoing an additional 2-3 year fellowship in the subspecialty of retinal disease.