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November is Diabetes & Diabetic Eye Diseases awareness month

Nov 03 2015

How is diabetes related with a person’s vision? What are the diabetic eye diseases that individuals should watch for? What kind of treatment is available for patients?


There are over 10 million Canadians living with diabetes and Type 2 is the most common form of the disease, accounting for 90% of cases. Researchers today are saying that the prevalence of Type 2 diabetes is increasing dramatically and cases could double by 2025. So how does diabetes affect a person’s eyes and their vision? The Canadian Association of Optometrists (CAO) states that:

“Diabetes can cause changes in nearsightedness, farsightedness and premature presbyopia (the inability to focus on close objects). It can result in cataracts, glaucoma, paralysis of the nerves that control the eye muscles or pupil, and decreased corneal sensitivity. Visual symptoms of diabetes include fluctuating or blurring of vision, occasional double vision, loss of visual field, and flashes and floaters within the eyes. Sometimes these early signs of diabetes are first detected in a thorough examination performed by a doctor of optometry. The most serious eye problem associated with diabetes is diabetic retinopathy.”


So what is Diabetic Retinopathy? The CAO explains that:

“Over time diabetes can cause changes in the retina. Diabetic retinopathy occurs when there is a weakening or swelling of the tiny blood vessels that feed the retina of your eye, resulting in blood leakage, the growth of new blood vessels and other changes. When retinopathy advances, the decreased circulation of the blood vessels deprives areas of the retina of oxygen. Blood vessels become blocked or closed, and parts of the retina die. New, abnormal, blood vessels grow to replace the old ones.  If diabetic retinopathy is left untreated, blindness can result.”

However, vision loss in patients diagnosed with diabetes can be controlled. Thus the importance in having routine eye exams performed by an optometrist and to have early detection for any signs of threatening vision changes. Physicians and optometrists alike also stress the importance of controlling your diabetes in order to minimize the risk of developing retinopathy.


Treatment for diabetic retinopathy involves the use of intraocular injections of anti-VEGF therapy (Lucentis, Avastin) or laser therapy (photocoagulation), where a bright beam of light is focused on the retina, causing a laser burn that seals off leaking blood vessels. Nevertheless, early detection of diabetic retinopathy is crucial, as treatment is much more likely to be successful at an early stage.


To summarize, it is important to control your diabetes symptoms, follow your physician’s instructions and to have frequent eye exams by your optometrist.

diabetic retinopathy image

Want to know if you are at risk of developing diabetes? Click on the link and take the CANRISK test!


Source: Types of Diabetes – Canadian Diabetes Association; Diabetes – Canadian Association of Optometrists; The Canadian Diabetes Risk Questionnaire – Canadian Diabetes Association

Tidbits of information about MEC – Seniors

Oct 23 2015

Are you interested about what the Mobile Eye Clinic (MEC) does in the community? Want to know how many clinics we have done since the start of the MEC? Curious about how many seniors have vision problems? Interested in having the MEC come to your community?


The CCB has created an initiative with local optometrists and the Lions Club District A4 to offer yearly OHIP covered comprehensive eye exams to seniors in their residences. The CCB and its partners along with the support of the community are funding the MEC program by covering the cost of the portable equipment and the administrative tasks associated with promoting and organizing the clinics.

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This program is a first of its kind in Ontario and has a research component to measure the impact of vision problems in seniors and the prevention of falls among them. Our optometrists use portable equipment to perform eye exams. Once the exam is done, we issue a letter with the exam’s results and give it to the seniors for their records/medical doctors. Also a prescription for glasses or a referral to a specialist for follow up is provided when required.


In reality, the Mobile Eye Clinic program offers a cost effective and efficient way of providing ocular support, prevention and treatment to communities and seniors that may otherwise go unvisited, undiagnosed and untreated. This initiative thus creates better vision for seniors, which in turn reduces isolation, falls, and injuries and therefore increases their overall quality of life.


Since May 2013, the MEC has seen a total of 633 seniors, with an average age of 80 years, and has visited a total of 28 seniors’ residences within the Ottawa Valley region. Of those patients, 39% of seniors have improved their vision with prescription glasses and 56% are living with an ocular disease or condition that is treatable.


The MEC is offering OHIP covered comprehensive eye exams to seniors 65 years and older (living in Ontario) whom have not had an eye exam within the past year. If you are interested in having the MEC visit your community/residence or want to have more information about the program, please contact Monica or Julie at 613-567-0311 or via email at or


Source: CCB MEC –seniors 2015-2016 ppt presentation; Seniors master list Eye clinics’ results ALL as of October 19, 2015-NEW DATA.

October is Children’s vision awareness month!

Oct 23 2015

Did you know that the month of October is Children’s vision awareness month in Canada? Do you know when children should have their first eye exam? Were you aware that there is a relation between children’s vision and learning?


The MEC has visited schools in the Ottawa region since 2014 to perform over 1,162 OHIP covered eye exams to children from Kindergarten to Grade 12. Thanks to the MEC, 18% of the children tested for eye exams had one or more vision problem, and 14% of these children required prescription glasses.


As cited on the Canadian Association of Optometrists’ (CAO) website:

“61 per cent of Canadian parents mistakenly believe they would know if their child was having difficulty with their eyesight. However, many serious eye conditions do not have obvious symptoms and some eye diseases only show symptoms when the condition is advanced and difficult to treat. Conditions such as amblyopia or a “lazy eye” need to addressed when a child is young. Comprehensive eye examinations would result in 51% more children receiving successful treatment for amblyopia by age 10.”


In Ontario, children under the age of 20 years are entitled to a comprehensive eye exam every year covered by the Ministry of Health (OHIP). As per the CAO’s position statement on the frequency of eye examinations, infants and toddlers should have their first eye exam, by an optometrist, between the ages of 6 to 9 months; preschool children should have at least one eye exam between the ages of 2 to 5 years; and school aged children (from 6 to 19 years) should continue having eye exams every year.


Research also indicates a relationship between children’s learning difficulties and their vision. Experts say that almost 80% of what a child learns in school is presented visually, so when children with undiagnosed vision loss have difficulty learning in school, parents and teachers believe they have a vision problem and require prescription glasses. However, nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism are not the only visual disorders that can make learning more difficult. Less obvious vision problems related to the way the eyes function and how the brain processes visual information also can limit your child’s ability to learn.


The best course of action a parent can do for their child is to have them see an optometrist for a comprehensive eye exam that is covered by OHIP. If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s vision, or you wish to invite the MEC to your child’s school, please contact Monica or Julie at 613-567-0311 or via email at: or

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Source: OAO – Schools – Mobile Eye Clinic Statistics – May 2015 – June 2015; CAO Policy and Advocacy position statement (dated July 31, 2013); Learning-Related vision problems

White Cane Magazine 2014

Oct 01 2015

white cane 2014

The white cane week 2014 Magazine has been released. You can view a copy by clicking here, download a copy by clicking here, download an audio copy by clicking here, or by contacting the CCB.



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