New survey reveals Canadians short sighted when it comes to their eye health

Tuesday August 3, 2021

Canadians hold misconceptions when it involves the health of their eyes, according to recent survey by the Canadian Ophthalmological Society

TORONTO, Aug. 3, 2021 /CNW/ – Canadians may have a blind spot when it comes to their eye health, according to a recent survey by the Canadian Ophthalmological Society (COS). The survey, which tested Canadians’ knowledge on eye care over a variety of topics, revealed that while three-quarters (76 per cent) of respondents 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. 

“The survey revealed that there is room to improve Canadians’ education on proper eye care and safety,” says Colin Mann, President of the Canadian Ophthalmological Society. “While the majority of Canadians are concerned with their eye health overall, some of the misconceptions they have could leave them more vulnerable to one of the four major eye diseases.”

Of the four leading eye diseases that affect vision, two thirds (64 per cent) of Canadians are familiar with cataracts and about half (48 per cent) are familiar with glaucoma. Far less are familiar with age-related macular degeneration (38 per cent), which affects over 1.4 million people in Canada, or diabetic retinopathy (20 per cent), which can damage the eyes even before a diagnosis of diabetes.

While these eye diseases are more common amongst those aged 60+, eye care and regular checkups are vital throughout all stages of life. Six in ten Canadians are unaware that many eye diseases, including glaucoma, won’t always present symptoms until they are at an advanced stage. One third (31 per cent) of respondents don’t know that eyesight can be impacted by different life stages affected by hormones, such as puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. And while the majority agree to the contrary, as many as 16 per cent believe it is not important to get your vision checked frequently when you’re younger.

“There are several risk factors for each of the major eye diseases, so it’s important to help promote early detection and treatment,” says Mann. “While advanced age can certainly lead to deteriorating eye health, other factors such as environment, lifestyle, or ethnicity also play a role in a person’s susceptibility to losing their vision to eye disease.”

In fact, nearly half of survey respondents (45 per cent) indicated they do not know whether ethnicity plays a role in eye health, making some more than others more likely to develop glaucoma or cataracts, while another quarter (22 per cent) incorrectly disagreed that ethnicity plays a role. 

Similarly, six in ten are unaware that 75 per cent of vision loss is reversible if caught and treated early and a similar proportion are unaware that many eye diseases won’t always present symptoms until the disease is advanced. 

Moreover, as Canadians bask in the heat of summer, the survey revealed that many may not be adequately protecting their eyes from harmful UV rays. While most (72 per cent) wear sunglasses “always” or “often” on a sunny day during the summer, only 42 per cent wear them as frequently all year long (such as the winter months when sunlight reflects off the snow) and fewer still wear them as often on a cloudy day (25 per cent), despite the fact that UV rays are still present. 

Some may feel they’re protecting their eyes with dark-lense sunglasses under the misconception that they offer better UV protection: one third incorrectly state that the darker the lens the better the UV protection, while a similar proportion (31 per cent) don’t know whether it is true or not.

Take the myths and facts quiz and learn more about the risk factors, diagnosis, and treatment of eye diseases at

About the Survey
These are some of the findings of a Leger survey conducted on behalf of the Canadian Ophthalmological Society, using Leger’s online panel of more than 400,000 members, between June 22 and July 4, 2021. For this survey, a sample of 2,000 Canadians aged 18+ was interviewed. Weighting has been employed to ensure that the sample composition accurately reflects the adult population of Canada, as per the latest Census Data.

No margin of error can be associated with a non-probability sample (i.e. a web panel in this case). For comparative purposes, though, a probability sample of 2000 respondents would have a margin of error of ±2.2%, 19 times out of 20.

About Leger 
Founded in 1986, Leger has gained an impressive knowledge base, which provides clients access to credible and reliable data and more than 30 years of experience. Leger possesses research capabilities spanning every dimension of the marketplace and opinion landscape conducting both quantitative and qualitative research on behalf of an extensive array of public and private sector clients on a local, national, and global scale.

Leger is Canada’s largest independent full-service research firm, with over 600 employees in Montreal, Quebec City, Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary, and Vancouver in Canada, and Philadelphia in the United States. The LEO (Leger Opinion) panel is the largest Canadian panel with over 400,000 representative panelists from all regions of Canada. LEO was created by Leger based on a representative Canadian sample of Canadian citizens with Internet access.

Leger is a founding member of CRIC and is actively involved in raising quality standards in the survey industry. President Jean-Marc Léger is a member of the CRIC’s Board of Directors and the Canadian representative of ESOMAR.

Leger is the polling firm that has presented the most accurate data, on average, over the last 10 years in Canada. During the last federal election in 2019, Leger was once again the most accurate firm in the country. This accuracy is attributed to the quality of the LEO panel and rigorous application of methodological rules by Leger’s employees.  

Poll aggregator gave Leger the highest rating among all polling firms in Canada for the accuracy of its studies. See

About the 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: Canadian Ophthalmological Society media contact: Dan O’Brien, [email protected], 416.301.2619, BlueSky Communications

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