Improved access to eye care for Saskatchewan diabetics
Monday, October 20 2014 | 00 h 00 min | Vision Science
In Saskatchewan, the government is now fully covering the cost of annual eye examinations for diabetic adults.
This measure is the result of an agreement between the government and the Saskatchewan Association of Optometrists (SAO). Up to now, eye exams were only covered by the government when provided by ophthalmologists. This was a financial barrier for some patients.
“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,” said Dr. Kevin Woodard, SAO president.
The Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA) says it is pleased to see the government’s decision. According to the CDA, approximately 90,000 people – that is, 8.2 per cent of the province’s population – have been diagnosed with diabetes, and that number is expected to rise to 10.9 per cent by 2024. A regular eye exam can help preserve vision for many of them. “By the time someone with diabetic retinopathy notices changes in their vision, the opportunity for prevention has been lost,” said Warren Wagner, CDA regional director.
The cost to the government of covering eye examinations between 2014 and 2016 is estimated at about $1.15 million.