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Why All Diabetics Should Have Yearly Eye Exams

Did you know that individuals with diabetes are covered for a free eye exam once a year, regardless of their age? Did you know that diabetes can have a profound impact on your vision, as well as your overall health? Did you know that the longer you have diabetes, the higher the chance for complications with your vision?

Diabetes is a condition in which your body is not able to adapt to your intake of sugar, resulting in increased levels of sugar within the body. Diabetes can be treated with diet or medications, or both. In type 1 diabetes the body is not able to produce any functional insulin, the molecule that allows our cells to metabolize sugar. In type 2 diabetes the body is unable to use insulin efficiently. Type 2 diabetes is much more common, and generally sets in later in life.

High sugar levels have multiple effects on the body. Primarily, within the eye the sugar levels affect the blood vessels that provide the eye with oxygen and nutrients. The sugar causes the blood vessels to balloon and eventually leak. Leakage in the macula, the part of the eye that provides us with our crisp central vision, can lead to permanent vision loss if not caught and treated early. Many complications can come from changes in the blood vessel structure, which can lead to detachment of the tissue at the back of the eye or even glaucoma.

Other changes that can occur with diabetes is fluctuations in vision and prescription throughout the day. Fluctuating sugar levels can cause changes to the lens inside of our eye causing large changes in our prescription. These can change even day to day. Over time increased sugar levels can lead to cataract formation, a condition in which the lens inside of the eye becomes cloudy. As the cataract becomes more dense it will need to be surgically removed and replaced with a clear implanted lens.

It is critical that any individual with diabetes has a comprehensive eye exam with a Doctor of Optometry at least once a year. Individuals with diabetes are covered by OHIP for one comprehensive eye exam a year. Your eye exam should include a dilated examination. In a dilated examination the Doctor of Optometry will place a drop inside of the eyes that makes the pupils large so they can get a clear view of the retina at the back of the eye.

We are happy to provide you and your family with a comprehensive eye exam. For your convenience we have online booking to allow you to book your appointment at any time of the day. We look forward to seeing you soon.

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