~ Annual eye examinations for Ontarians with diabetes continue to be
funded by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan ~
MISSISSAUGA, ON, Jan. 9, 2013 /CNW/ - The Ontario Association of
Optometrists (OAO) is reminding Ontarians that routine eye examinations
for people with diabetes continue to be covered by the Ontario Health
Insurance Plan (OHIP) regardless of their age, and that a referral for
this service is not required.
A recent study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal
(CMAJ) found that when routine eye examinations for healthy adults were
delisted from OHIP in 2004, there was an 8.7 per cent decrease in the
test for people living with diabetes, despite the fact that annual eye
examinations remained covered for this population.i
"For people living with diabetes, the consequences of neglecting eye
health can be especially severe. The OAO continues to work with the
provincial government and other partners to develop an integrated
approach that ensures patients with diabetes receive proper eye health
care as part of overall diabetes management," said Dr. Farooq A. Khan,
President, OAO. "The OAO urges people living with diabetes to call and
schedule eye examinations with a local Doctor of Optometry at least
once every year."
Eye Health Risks Associated with Diabetes
Diabetic retinopathy is the most damaging eye condition caused by
diabetes.ii Although vision loss due to the condition can be prevented,ii unfortunately, many people with diabetes do not know that they have
damage from retinopathy until it is too late. Diabetic retinopathy
causes the blood vessels of the retina (inner layer of the back of the
eye) to leak, swell or develop abnormally.ii It is the leading cause of blindness among Canadians between the ages
of 30 and 69, and will be developed by the majority of people with
diabetes within 20 years of having the condition.ii
Although prevention of this devastating condition is best accomplished
by maintaining normal blood glucose levels, blood pressure, and blood
lipid levels, receiving a comprehensive eye examination by a Doctor of
Optometry at least once a year is essential to catch retinal changes as
early as possible, and ultimately help preserve vision through a
variety of treatment options available.ii
Doctors of Optometry, widely available in local communities all across
Ontario, are the primary health care providers trained to diagnose and
manage damaging eye conditions caused by diabetes. To find an
optometrist in your community, please visit: http://www.optom.on.ca/find_an_optometrist.
About the Ontario Association of Optometrists (OAO)
The OAO, founded in 1909, is the voluntary professional organization
representing more than 1,500 optometrists in Ontario. The OAO is
dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding of the importance
of eye health, and helping Ontario's Doctors of Optometry provide the
highest standard of eye health and vision care.
i Kiran, T et al. Unintended consequences of delisting routine eye exams
on retinopathy screening for people with diabetes in Ontario, Canada. Canadian Medical Association Journal. 2013: 7. Available at: http://www.cmaj.ca/content/early/2013/01/07/cmaj.120862. Accessed January 8, 2013.
ii Ontario Association of Optometrists. Diabetes. Available at: http://www.optom.on.ca/for_patients/eye_diseases_and_conditions/diabetes. Accessed January 8, 2013.
SOURCE: Ontario Association of Optometrists
For further information: