Canadian Ophthalmological Society celebrates World Sight Day 2021 and encourages Canadians to get an eye exam
Tuesday October 5, 2021
Spread awareness on the global issue of eye health and #LoveYourEyes
Toronto, ON – October 5, 2021 – Thursday, October 14, 2021 is World Sight Day, an annual and internationally recognized day of awareness that focuses attention on the global issue of eye health. As an advocate for optimal eye care for all Canadians, the Canadian Ophthalmological Society is proud to recognize World Sight Day and help spread awareness on this year’s theme, #LoveYourEyes, which aims to increase people’s awareness of their own eye health and the importance of comprehensive eye exams. Vision loss happens gradually and many eye diseases won’t always present symptoms until the disease is advanced, but 75 per cent of vision loss is reversible if caught and treated early.
“World Sight Day reminds everyone how important our eye health is, while educating and spreading awareness of the four major eye diseases and its risk factors,” says Dr. Colin Mann, President of the Canadian Ophthalmological Society. “Now more than ever, it’s important to monitor and maintain good eye health, especially following a year of remote work and learning. Due to the pandemic, some Canadians were hesitant to go for their annual/bi-annual check-ups, and as a result we’ve seen an increase in eye health issues and that prolonged screen time is a key factor in the increase of conditions such as myopia (nearsightedness).”
Everyone can be affected by one of the four major eye diseases, which contribute to the leading causes of vision loss including: cataracts, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy (DR). A survey by the Canadian Ophthalmological Society found that while three-quarters (76 per cent) of Canadians are concerned about their eye care and are fairly knowledgeable overall, many are unfamiliar with an array of factors relating to the health of their eyes. While age is a big risk factor, sex, race, genetics, and environmental factors also come into play.
Canadians who have not seen an eye care professional in the past year say it’s because they think their vision is fine (41 per cent), they can’t afford it (25 per cent), or they have concerns about COVID-19 (24 per cent). Beyond your primary doctor, there are ‘The Three Os’ of an eye care team, and each plays a critical role in delivering quality eye care. Here’s how to know which one to go to:
- An Optician is a licensed health care professional specially trained to design, fit, and dispense eyeglasses, contact lenses, low vision aids, and prosthetic ocular devices.
- An Optometrist is a licensed health care professional who can perform eye exams, write prescriptions for glasses, contact lenses, and some medications, and diagnose and treat some eye diseases.
- An Ophthalmologist, also called an eye MD, is a medical doctor and surgeon who has had specialized training in the management of eye diseases. Ophthalmologists can diagnose, treat and prevent serious eye diseases like glaucoma, cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
World Sight Day is organized by the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), and this year their goal is to have a million people get their eyes tested. Due to COVID-19, almost 25 per cent of Canadians have not seen an optometrist in more than two years. Help reach their target by pledging to have an eye exam or prioritize your eye health. Visit seethepossibilities.ca to learn more about eye health and test your vision by taking a quick online test.
About Canadian Ophthalmological Society
The Canadian Ophthalmological Society (COS) is the national, recognized authority on eye and vision care in Canada. As eye physicians and surgeons, we are committed to assuring the provision of optimal medical and surgical eye care for all Canadians by promoting excellence in ophthalmology and by providing services to support our members in practice. Our membership includes over 900 ophthalmologists and 200 ophthalmology residents. We work collaboratively with government, other national and international specialty societies, our academic communities (ACUPO), our provincial partners and affiliates and other eye care professionals and patient groups to advocate for health policy in Canada in the area of eye and vision health. COS is an accredited, award-winning provider of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) through the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) and is an affiliate of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA). For more information, visit cos-sco.ca.
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