Diabetic retinopathy, as the name suggests, is associated with diabetes . It is best described as damage to the retina that occurs because of defects in or leakage from fine blood vessels. The vast majority of those with early diabetic retinopathy are unaware of it. In advanced cases, it can result in vision blurriness and distortion.

Diabetics should ensure they see their Optometrist regularly. Type II Diabetics should be screened at the time of initial diagnosis and at a minimum of every two years in the absenceof DR and more frequently if recommended (high risk) or if DR is detected. Type I Diabetics should have yearly exams.

Basic Diabetic screening exams are covered annually by OHIP.  Additional tests such as Digital Retinal Imagining (DRI), not covered by OHIP, may be recommended to establish baselines and monitor blood vessel health over time.  DRI is often covered by third party health insurance plans.

Diabetic Retinopathy is a progressive disease with no early symptoms that the patient can see.  By the time a patient notices a problem with their vision because of DR, the damage is already advanced, usually affecting central vision. Without treatment DR can cause blindness over time. Your Optometrist can provide the invaluable advice and treatment diabetics require.

All content is provided for education and information, and is no substitute for the advice of your optometrist. This information is provided courtesy of the British Columbia Association of Optometrists (B.C.A.O.). The B.C.A.O. assumes no responsibility or liability arising from any errors or omissions or from the use of any information contained herein.