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Annual Eye Exams for Diabetic Patients Now Covered by the Province

Released on October 6, 2014

People living with diabetes in Saskatchewan will benefit from improved access to vision care.  The province now provides coverage for annual eye examinations for diabetic patients, effective October 1, 2014. 

“Maintaining good eye health is an important aspect of diabetes management,” Health Minister Dustin Duncan said.  “This new service will remove financial barriers and ensure timely access to vision care for people living with diabetes in our province.”

Clinical practice guidelines for the management of residents with diabetes recommend annual eye exams to ensure optimal monitoring and care.  The newly introduced coverage will reduce out-of-pocket costs, improve access to an eye examination, and facilitate early treatment of eye issues related to diabetes.

The eye exam coverage for diabetics is part of a new agreement between the Ministry of Health and the Saskatchewan Association of Optometrists.

“As our population ages, we can expect an increase in the incidence of diabetic eye disease; therefore, the demand for optometric services will significantly increase,” Saskatchewan Association of Optometrists President Dr. Kevin Woodard said.  “We applaud the Minister of Health and the Saskatchewan government for their foresight in managing the future needs of the people of Saskatchewan.  Doctors of Optometry will continue to collaborate and communicate with ophthalmologists, family physicians and other health care providers to ensure the best possible patient outcomes for the eye health of our patients.”

“We are pleased to see the Government of Saskatchewan’s decision to help preserve and prevent vision loss - a possible secondary complication for those living with diabetes,” Canadian Diabetes Association Regional Director for Saskatchewan Warren Wagner said.  “Receiving comprehensive annual eye examinations is essential to catch retinal changes as early as possible and ultimately help preserve vision for the more than 90,000 people living with diabetes in the province.”

Annual eye examinations are currently covered by the province for all children under the age of 18.  

“Expanding the coverage to include adults with diabetes is part of our commitment to provide better access to primary health services and patient-centred health care for our residents,” Duncan said. 

Saskatchewan has also proclaimed October as Children’s Vision Month.  Children’s Vision Month is marked across Canada, and is dedicated to raising awareness of the impact undiagnosed vision problems can have on children’s learning and development.

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For more information, contact:

Tyler McMurchy
Health 
Regina 
Phone: 306-787-4083
Email: tmcmurchy@health.gov.sk.ca

Sheila Spence
Saskatchewan Association of Optometrists
Sasatoon
Phone: 306-652-2069

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