Diabetes is a prevalent disease in which there are excessive levels of blood sugar in the body. This excess sugar causes damage to the blood vessels, which can have a significant impact on your entire body, including your eyes.

When diabetes starts to affect the eyes, it is called Diabetic Retinopathy. In the early stages, it may have no symptoms. However, as diabetic retinopathy progresses, it can lead to excessive bleeding and build-up of fluid in the retina – the thin film-like tissue lining the back of your eye. Depending on the severity, this can lead to a reduction or total loss of vision.

A diabetic eye exam involves a full assessment of eye function, sight testing and eye health using a dilated fundus evaluation. It is common for diabetic patients to develop cataracts at an earlier age, as well as more frequent changes in their glasses prescription.

The Canadian Diabetes Association recommends getting your eyes checked once a year if you are a diabetic. However your doctor may recommend more frequent assessment, depending on your individual needs. The diabetic eye exam is covered by OHIP once a year.