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Keeping an Eye on Diabetes

Keeping an eye on diabetes

The eye is a window to diabetes and other diseases within the body.  The prevalence of diabetes is rapidly increasing, and is the leading cause of blindness and vision in working people 25 – 65 years of age.

Diabetes damages the walls of the fine blood vessels within your retina, which is the nerve tissue at the back of your eye that senses light and translates it into vision.  The retina is approximately the thickness of your fingernail.  Blood sugar can readily enter the retina without needing insulin, so if blood sugar is too high, this is toxic to retinal tissue and can cause diabetic retinopathy (DR).  This damage will simultaneously occur in the fine blood vessels of kidneys and other parts of the body.

Many people with Diabetic Retinopathy have NO early symptoms.  One can have 20/20 vision and no pain, but still have DR. Often when a person notices vision loss from DR, the disease has reached an advanced stage and can be difficult to treat.   Diabetes can also increase risk of glaucoma and cataracts.

A thorough eye exam (that includes dilating the pupils for a complete retina exam) can detect these problems before they affect vision.  A diabetic can minimize the effects on the eyes by maintaining tight blood sugar control.  The good news is that when you take the right steps to manage diabetes, this also helps control high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Dr. Dianna Leong is on a national diabetes committee to promote awareness and better diabetes control.  She offers a free monthly diabetic clinic in which diabetics have an eye exam, a retinal photo, then and free personal consultation with a certified diabetic educator/ pharmacist, in which a specific plan is provided on taking control of your health.    Medicare covers the cost of the eye exam, as this is less tax payer dollars than attempting to repair the damage by surgery on eyes, or kidney dialysis and transplant.  If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with diabetes, take a moment to focus on your eyes!   No referral is needed to see your optometrist.

Thank you for trusting your eyecare with us over the years.  The Foresight Eyecare team follows the government mandate to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.  After December 2020 announcements made by the Alberta Government, our clinic is following the revised Infection Prevention and Control policy by the Alberta College of Optometrists.

Patients interested in obtaining eye exam services or eye care products can be seen by appointment only.  Please call ahead, and staff will arrange an appointment time and ask COVID-19 screening questions.  If you have any symptoms of cough, fever, runny nose or shortness of breath, we ask that you call or e-mail us and do not attend the clinic for your scheduled visit.   Within the clinic, please wear a mask and use the hand sanitizer at reception.  Our clinic complies with the City of Calgary bylaw requiring mask covering over the age of two years old.  For patients who are unable to wear a face covering due to medical reasons, the patient can be scheduled for an appointment at a time when minimal number of other patients are in the clinic such as at the beginning or end of the day to ensure appropriate physical distancing requirements.

We are using disposable disinfectant wipes on all surfaces and devices such as front desk counters, chairs, handles in exam rooms and waiting room.  All eyewear that have been touched by patients are continually being sanitized.   Any toys and magazines are stored at this time.  Examination areas are being sanitized with hospital grade disinfectant.  Debit and credit cards but NO CASH payments will be accepted.

COVID-19 symptoms are not always obvious.  We want to fend off this pandemic and minimize risk to our patients and the Foresight staff as front line health workers.   Contact that is closer than 2 m (6 feet) is to be avoided, with barriers in place when this cannot be avoided. We choose to continue to do our work and cautiously take care of our patients with compassion, humility, gentleness, and patience.   It is a challenging and new experience for many of us, so let‘s support each other and prevent virus spread!  Beyond 2020, our focus is on take care of you and keeping Clean Hands, Clear Heads and Open Hearts.   For more information, please refer to the following web pages or phone Health Link 811.

Drs. Dianna Leong, Anh Bui, Andrew Chan