Over the course of the next nine years, 6.4 million Canadians will be diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. What’s more, one third of Canadians today already have diabetes or prediabetes and many don’t know it.
November is Diabetes Awareness Month and optometrists are encouraging everyone to have their eyes checked. You may be thinking to yourself, ‘What does diabetes have to do with my eyes?’, the Canadian Diabetes Association explains:
“Diabetes is a leading cause of blindness in Canada. People with diabetes are more likely to develop cataracts at a younger age and are twice as likely to develop glaucoma, but diabetes’ effect on the retina is the main threat to vision.” For more information go to the Canadian Diabetes Association.
A comprehensive eye exam conducted by an eye doctor can not only lead to early detection of diabetes (type 1 and 2), but it can also reveal the effects of poor diabetes management to existing diabetics, indicating a need for lifestyle and diet changes, better compliance with treatment, or medication modification.
One of the most common misconceptions about eye exams is that they’re only testing your sight- this isn’t the case. Here are the key differences between a sight or screening test and a comprehensive eye exam:
Sight test or screening test (performed by a non-doctor)- Only measures how well you can see and individual is not trained or licensed to test or diagnose the eyes.
Comprehensive eye exam (performed by optometrist or ophthalmologist) - Only an eye doctor can conduct a comprehensive eye exam. A high-powered microscope is used to examine the tiny structures inside of your eyes, including a close-up look at your blood vessels, optic nerves, and other complex eye structures, all of which may contain clues to conditions that could pose a serious risk to your health, such as diabetes.
Doctors of optometry can assist in identifying underlying health conditions that are often first detected through an eye exam, and then provide referrals to specialists and other health care professionals, such as family physicians. Annual eye exams from a local doctor of optometry are recommended for all ages, but most specifically for people with diabetes.
You'll be asked about your medical history and any vision problems you might be experiencing.
Your eye doctor measures your visual acuity to see if you need glasses or contact lenses to improve your vision.
You'll be given numbing drops in your eyes. Then your doctor measures your eye pressure.
Your eye doctor checks the health of your eyes, possibly using several lights to evaluate the front of the eye and inside of each eye. To make it easier for your doctor to examine the inside of your eye, he or she will likely dilate your eyes with eyedrops.
Your eye doctor discusses what he or she found during the exam and answers questions you have about your eyes.
Crescent Heights Optometry
At Crescent Heights Optometry our Calgary Optometrists offer full comprehensive eye exams. It's important to us that we take the time and care to ensure your eyes are well looked after. Please call us today to schedule an appointment for your next eye examination.