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.
Again, please note - we will require a valid referral in order for you to to be seen in our clinic.
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. We do our best to process referrals within one week of their receipt.
Because we offer small and very specialized clinics, it is essential that referrals are evaluated carefully. Based on the referral we receive, we are able to determine whether you should be seeing a retina specialist in our clinic.
If your referral is not accepted, we will communicate with your referring provider as to why this is the case and suggest alternate clinics that may be able to better help you. To be clear, we sometimes 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.
If your referral is accepted, your referring provider will be given the details of your appointment as well as all appointment directions. We will make recommendations of what tests should be done based on this referral as well.
We will also contact you by telephone. During this phone call, you will be given all of the details of your appointment and specific instructions to prepare you for your visit.
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:
Bring a friend/or family member to bring you to and from appointment OR arrange other transportation ahead of time as your eyes will be dilated and you will not be able to drive a car on your own. (Unfortunately, we are not able to arrange transportation for you.)
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 list of questions you have prepared ahead of time to discuss with your doctor.
Ensure that your "new patient registration form" or "returning patient form" is submitted in the patient portal as explained by our patient services team. Your appointment will not be confirmed until this information is received.
Can/should I bring a friend or family member with me?
Yes, you should have someone drive you / accompany you to your appointment as your eyes will be dilated making it unsafe for your to drive a car once your appointment is done.
At this time, in order to ensure the safety of everyone in our clinic due to the COVID-19 pandemic, companions will not be allowed to enter the clinic. They will be asked to wait in their car or in another location of their choice.
Please be assured that we do have a protocol in place to ensure your companion is contacted when you are finished with your appointment. Upon your arrival to clinic, we will go over this with you in person.
If you would feel more comfortable having a family member attend your appointment alongside you to provide emotional support, please request a telephone consult. As a result of the pandemic, we can no longer allow non-patient visitors into our clinic. Please know this is for everyone's safety. We are happy to answer all of your questions and concerns.
In the interest of patient safety we reserve the right to convert appointments with your provider to a telephone consult.
English is not my first language. What do you advise?
If English is not your first language, we encourage you to request a telephone consult where your translator or family member is able to attend the appointment alongside you and convey any questions either of you may have during this time. As a result of the pandemic, we can no longer allow non-patient visitors into our clinic. Please know this is for everyone's safety. We are happy to answer all of your questions and concerns.
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. If you would feel more comfortable having a family member attend your appointment to translate or just provide emotional support to you, please request a telephone/virtual appointment.
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. Open doors, open communicaton - this is our desire. 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 telephone consult?
A telephone consult is a phone appointment with your retinal specialist, where you will 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. In some cases, because of language barriers and/or distance to our clinic a telephone consult may be helpful for you to have in order to ask the questions you may have.
In other cases, it may be that you went home and realized you forgot to ask some questions you meant to ask during your appointment. Though we do request especially that you prepare a question list ahead of time, we realize that it can happen. Please do call us, and we will set up a telephone consult to answer your questions.
Telephone consults allow you to chat with your doctor 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.
Please know that we have your safety and well being in mind.
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 (like us) or further evaluation and study with the hope that the problem may be correctly diagnosed and/or treated. Sometimes treatment is not warranted. When it is, your doctor will go over all options with you so you are able to make an informed decision as to what you would like to do next.
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 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 and understand.
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.
In some cases, diagnostic imaging is not covered by OHIP. Again, and to be clear, the imaging modalities that are recommended for you are specific and individualized to your referral, sent to us by your doctor to our retina specialists for consultation. These additional imaging modalities allow us to make a precise diagnosis, allowing us to better help you.
Please note: 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 decisions we make.
Please also note: 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 four years of medical school, further specializing in the field of Ophthalmology for an additional four years, and further undergoing an additional 2-3 year fellowship in the subspecialty of retinal disease.
How do I book my surgery here?
We do not make decisions as to whether prospective patients should have a certain procedure by email or phone.
Surgery and/or any medical procedure, is a serious matter and one must respect the process, taking time to meet a doctor who will carefully evaluate your medical condition and then explain and discuss the pros and cons of each option to you.
To be clear, we will not respond to messages asking to book procedures over the telephone or by email. Every individual has a unique situation that has to be carefully evaluated.
There is no "one size fits" all solution to your health concen. Sometimes, as much as you may not look forward to hearing it, watching and waiting may be what your doctor will recommend over having a procedure. Please know, we evaluate this case by case and treat the individual as an individual.
If you are not a patient here and are interested in discussing a certain procedure, please contact your primary eye provider and set up an appointment with them to ask them about your questions and concerns. They will be sure to guide you to the right place.