REGINA, SK—(Oct. 6, 2014) – Today, the Government of Saskatchewan announced that annual eye examinations will now be fully covered for people living with diabetes in the province.
The Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA) is pleased to see the government’s decision to help preserve and prevent vision loss—a possible secondary complication for those living with diabetes.
As part of a new collaboration between the Ministry of Health and the Saskatchewan Association of Optometrists, eye exam coverage for people living with diabetes will come into effect on October 1, 2014.
“Receiving comprehensive annual eye examinations is essential to catching retinal changes as early as possible and ultimately, helping to preserve vision,” says Warren Wagner, regional direction for Saskatchewan, CDA. “By the time someone with diabetic retinopathy notices changes in their vision, the opportunity for prevention has been lost. However, if retinopathy is detected at an early stage, it can be effectively treated with laser therapy.”
People with diabetes are more likely to develop cataracts at a younger age and are twice as likely to develop glaucoma. However, diabetic retinopathy is the main threat to vision and the most common cause of new cases of impaired vision in Canada. In the early stages of diabetic retinopathy, there may not be any symptoms, which is why it is important for people with diabetes to have regular eye exams.
Currently, it is estimated that in Saskatchewan, there are nearly 90,000 people diagnosed with diabetes (8.2 per cent of the population), and this will rise to 126,000 (10.9 per cent of the population) by 2024. By leading the fight against diabetes, the CDA is working to meet the needs of people living with the disease in Saskatchewan and the increasing prevalence, burden and potentially life-threatening complications it imposes.