Canadian Ophthalmological Society promotes global awareness of the leading cause of blindness during World Glaucoma Week

Tuesday March 9, 2021

Difficult-to-detect eye disease is known as the ‘silent thief of sight’

TORONTO, March 9, 2021 /CNW/ – A person with glaucoma can lose as much as 40 per cent of their sight without noticeable symptoms and it is the leading cause of irreversible blindness that affects 78 million people worldwide, including over 800,000 Canadians, half of whom don’t even know they have it, according to the Canadian Ophthalmological Society. Now, during World Glaucoma Week, they are sharing a new video about the importance of regular eye exams for detecting what is known as the ‘silent thief of sight.’

Video: Canadian Ophthalmological Society promotes global awareness during World Glaucoma Awareness Week
Video: Canadian Ophthalmological Society promotes global awareness during World Glaucoma Awareness Week

“We rely on our sight for everything we do, so the loss of vision has a far-reaching, negative impact on quality of life, particularly among Canada’s aging population for whom this eye disease disproportionately affects,” said Dr. Colin Mann, President of the Canadian Ophthalmological Society. “Raising awareness and encouraging regular testing to prevent vision loss from glaucoma is an important message that Canadians need so they can save their sight before it’s too late.”

Because there are no noticeable symptoms, ongoing monitoring is needed to watch for changes and ophthalmologists may use several tests during an evaluation for glaucoma, a disease that affects the optic nerve. This nerve is what transmits the images you see from the eye to the brain and it is made up of many nerve fibres. When these nerve fibres become damaged by pressure that builds up inside the eye, known as intraocular pressure (IOP), it can cause blind spots and vision loss.

While those older than 60 are six times more likely to get glaucoma, anyone can develop the disease and there are several different factors that can increase your risk, including ethnicity, family history, long-term steroid use, previous eye injuries and certain optic nerve conditions.

Detection & Treatment
By the time it is noticeable, the most common symptoms of glaucoma include the loss of peripheral vision, halos around lights, eye pain and/or redness, and blurred or decreased vision. While it is a chronic eye disease, it can be controlled with proper management.

Treatment options include eye drops or several different medications to decrease the amount of fluid in the eye, increase outflow of fluid from the eye, or reduce the production of fluid, and laser treatments to improve drainage of fluid from the eye. For cases in which eye drops and laser fail to stop the progression of glaucoma, conventional surgery may be recommended to create a new passage for aqueous fluid to leave the eye, including minimally invasive glaucoma surgeries (MIGS), a group of devices/procedures to improve movement of fluid through the eye or reduce fluid production.

Learn more about your risk for developing glaucoma or other serious eye diseases by taking the quiz at

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

SOURCE Canadian Ophthalmological Society

For further information: Elizabeth Glassen, [email protected], 647.309.0141, BlueSky Communications