10/07/2014 12:22 EDT | Updated 12/06/2014 05:59 EST

Saskatchewan government to cover cost of annual eye exams for diabetics

REGINA - The Saskatchewan government is now picking up the bill for annual eye exams for anyone with diabetes.

The coverage came into effect Oct. 1 to reduce costs, improve access, and encourage early treatment for eye issues related to diabetes.

It comes as part of a new agreement between the Ministry of Health and the Saskatchewan Association of Optometrists.

Dr. Kevin Woodard of the Saskatchewan Association of Optometrists says as the population increases, they expect an increase in the incidence of diabetic eye disease.

The province already offers coverage for annual eye exams for all children under the age of 18.