Diabetes is a chronic disease with many complications including vision change and vision loss. The eye related issues can include changes in prescription, premature loss of focus at near, cataracts, glaucoma, paralysis of the nerves that control eye muscles, decreased corneal sensation, double vision, loss of visual field, flashes of light and floaters. The most serious is diabetic retinopathy which can cause permanent vision loss.
The typical undilated comprehensive eye examination isn’t sufficient to detect diabetic retinopathy early enough to reduce the risk of vision loss from diabetes. A diabetic eye examination includes all aspects of the typical exam but also includes an in-depth medical history that focuses on which medications (oral or insulin) are being used, the frequency and usual results of blood glucose self-monitoring and discussion about HbA1c lab results. The exam always includes dilation of the eyes to better visualize all parts of the retina for earlier detection of retinopathy. Dr. Saari feels so committed to assisting diabetics understand their condition he includes retinal photos and specialized macular assessment using optical coherence tomography (OCT) for all patients at their initial assessment at no additional charge.
Managing diabetic patients requires a multi-disciplinary approach, where optometry can play a critical role in helping maintain a good quality of life. As part of this team, we will send a summary report of all ocular findings to your primary care physician and diabetic specialist after each comprehensive exam.
Provincial health insurance (OHIP) covers diabetic eye examination but does not cover additional tests like OCT or retinal photography. Dr. Saari will discuss any additional tests and their associated cost or referrals with patients that he feels would assist in reducing the chance for permanent vision loss.