Post date: March 22, 2018

The Eyes of March – and the Rest of the Year

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March is Save Your Vision Month and Workplace Eye Wellness Month. But at Health Plan of San Joaquin, every month is members’ eye health month. Following is good advice for our members, as well as our community.

Eyes aren’t just the windows to the soul.

  • For adults and children with diabetes – the eyes are a danger zone in need of special care. Annual eye exams, including testing for diabetic retinopathy, are a door to ongoing health and well-being for diabetic patients and they are an HPSJ member benefit.
  • For children – healthy vision is one of the portals toward early learning and a better chance at lifelong personal and work success. Regular eye exams are part of their regular medical exams. For HPSJ kids – 158,818 out of almost 350,000 members are under 19 years old – annual Well Child visits to their HPSJ network doctor include vision screening, which may lead to an eye specialist visit – which also are covered as part of their member benefit.

To Adults and Children Living with Diabetes

“If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, taking good care of yourself and watching out for high blood sugar can help you feel better. It may help you live healthier, avoiding problems caused by high blood sugar, including eye problems that can lead to trouble seeing or going blind in one or both eyes. To preserve your sight, it is essential that you get an eye exam to check for problems.”HPSJ Nurse Jennifer Norris

Those with diabetes can develop a disease called diabetic retinopathy where high blood sugar levels damage blood vessels in the retina, leading to vision loss. Often no early signs of damage are obvious; vision can seem normal – until the disease becomes critical. By that time it may be too late to save your sight. Testing for diabetic retinopathy can help discover early signs of trouble, leading to options that can be discussed with your doctor.

Health Plan of San Joaquin patients are seen by eye care specialists in the local VSP network. During an annual eye exam, an ophthalmologist or optometrist dilates the eye with drops and examines the inside of your eye to check for damage to the retina.  These exams are part of HPSJ’s Disease Management Program to support our members.

To parents, for their children

Regular medical exams for kids’ eye care include:

  • Newborn babies should be checked for general eye health in the hospital nursery by a pediatrician.
  • In the first year of life, all infants should be regularly screened for eye health during checkups with their pediatrician.
  • Around age 3-1/2, kids should have eye health screenings and visual acuity tests with their pediatrician, to measure sharpness of vision.
  • Around age 5, kids should have their vision and eye alignment checked by their pediatrician. Those who fail either test should see an eye doctor.
  • After age 5, regular eye screenings should be done at school and the pediatrician’s office.

“HPSJ also encourages parents of school age children to get in the yearly habit of scheduling appointments with their pediatrician well before the academic year starts. Summer is a perfect time for a Well Child visit for School Readiness and Eye Health screening.”HPSJ Chief Medical Officer Lakshmi Dhanvanthari, MD

Here are some good resources for more information,