Eye Exams | Diabetic Eye Care

blood sugar meter - check daily

blood sugar meter - check daily

If you or someone close to you has been diagnosed with Type-1 or Type-2 diabetes, then you already know about the importance of an annual dilated retinal exam by an optometrist.  Diabetes is one of the leading causes of vision loss in Canada, but it doesn't have to be. 

Both Type-1 and Type-2 diabetes
can affect your eyesight

Stonewire Optometry would like to help you manage your diabetes and reduce your risk of diabetic eye disease through routine eye health examinations and proper disease management with your diabetic specialist. We provide convenient appointment times (nights & weekends), offer the simplicity of online scheduling, and annual reminders (Email, Phone Calls & Letters).

Our optometrists are trained to detect the early signs of damage from diabetes, as we have the tools and instruments to examine the small blood vessels within your eyes. To better visualize the retina, your optometrist will perform a dilated retinal examination which may result in some light sensitivity and blurry vision which will last 2-4 hours. When required, we use high-resolution retinal photography and advanced OCT imaging to examine your ocular health thoroughly.

  • Alberta Health Care covers the cost of an annual diabetic retina exam for all Albertans who have been diagnosed with Type-1, Type-2 or gestational diabetes. So please use your Alberta Health Care card for prevention.

  • Diabetic retinal exams do not produce a prescription for eyeglasses or contact lenses but focus on uncovering diabetic eye disease.

  • You may combine your diabetic retinal exams with your annual eye exam if you're looking to update your glasses or contact lenses. 

Cost: Covered by Alberta Health Care*
Frequency: Every 12 Months - or as directed by your doctor

Diabetes - What your optometrist is looking for

Diabetes can increase your chance of developing many types of eye health conditions, some of which include:

normal eye vs diabetic retinopathy eye
  • Increased chance of developing glaucoma
  • Increased chance of developing cataracts
  • Non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy - bleeding within the eye 
  • Proliferative diabetic retinopathy - bleeding within the eye with new blood vessel growth
  • Papilledema (swelling) of the optic nerve head
  • Visual fluctuations 2nd to unstable blood sugar levels
  • Dry eye syndrome

When caught early, diabetic eye disease can be better managed and stabilized. Our office will ensure that all the appropriate referrals are made.

At your request, we will also provide an annual written report to your family physician to make sure they are up to date with your visual health and diabetic eye disease. 

Diabetes - Why you should take it seriously

Diabetes medical complication wheel chart

Diabetes is a systemic condition which means it can also increase your chance of developing other health problems, such as: 

  • Heart Disease
  • Kidney Disease
  • Erectile Dysfunction in Men
  • Nerve Damage
  • Amputation
  • Eye Disease

Please monitor your blood sugars closely and record your findings in an app on your cell phone, in a ledger book or on the blood sugar meter itself. It's also a good idea to know what your HgA1C reading (the 3 month average blood test done by your family physician) to see if your blood sugars levels are steady. Tight control of your blood sugars not only helps to prevent medical problems, but better helps you to understand this condition and how food, stress and physical activity affect your body chemistry.

Diabetes - What your should bring to your eye exam

  • Your Alberta Health Care card - this allows us to bill the government for the dilated retinal exam
  • Government Issued Photo-ID - Required with for Alberta Health Care visits.
  • Name of Your Family Doctor or Diabetic Specialist - We like to send them a letter at the conclusion of the eye exam, letting them know our findings.
  • A list of your current medications
  • Your last few blood sugar readings and if they're stable
  • Your last HgA1C reading and if they're stable or rising
  • If you've ever had any previous eye surgeries

Important Diabetic Eye Exam Information:

**Alberta Health Care covers all diabetic patients for an annual dilated retinal health evaluation. Patients must present a valid Alberta Health Care card, at the time of the appointment along with picture ID. Dilated retinal health examinations look only at the overall eye health, and will not produce a prescription for glasses or contact lenses. This program was introduced by the Alberta Government to help patients receive timely access to eye care, and minimize devastating vision loss from diabetes. Patients with diabetes no longer need a letter from their physician to see an optometrist.

To learn more about diabetes, please visit the Canadian Diabetes Association website.