Canadians with 20/20 vision may still have serious eye disease

Eye exams the most critical step to prevent blindness, say CNIB and Doctors of Optometry Canada

TORONTO, May 1, 2013 /CNW/ - Think perfect eyesight means healthy eyes? Not necessarily, say CNIB and Doctors of Optometry Canada.

As Vision Health Month begins, the two organizations are reminding Canadians that vision health is about more than just seeing well, and urging them to do one simple thing to save their sight: get an eye examination from a Doctor of Optometry.

"20/20 vision and eye disease are not mutually exclusive," says Dr. Keith Gordon, vice president of research at CNIB. "Although a staggering one in seven Canadians will be diagnosed with an eye disease in their lifetime, it's not always as obvious as you'd think. Many eye diseases have no symptoms in the early stages, so it's possible to have one and still see perfectly well."

That's where a comprehensive eye examination from a Doctor of Optometry comes in. In addition to assessing a person's vision, the doctor conducts a series of specialized tests designed to diagnose eye diseases such as glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy.

"The earlier an eye disease is detected, the greater the chance of preventing or minimizing associated vision loss through treatment," says Dr. Lil Linton, president of the Canadian Association of Optometrists and a spokesperson for Doctors of Optometry Canada "That's why it's so critical to get your eyes examined regularly. By the time you notice a problem, it could be too late to save your sight."

But how often should you get your eyes examined? While these guidelines are not appropriate for all clinical situations, Doctors of Optometry Canada recommends that:

  • infants should have their first eye exam between six and nine months of age;
  • children should undergo at least one eye examination between the ages of two and five, and then yearly once they enter school;
  • adults between the ages of 19 and 64 should have an eye exam every two years; and
  • seniors should have an eye exam annually.

"Vision loss can happen to anyone, at any age, but many people don't realize that 75 per cent of vision loss can be prevented or treated if detected early," says Dr. Gordon. "Getting an eye exam is the single most important thing you can do to stay on the right side of that statistic."

About Vision Health Month
Vision Health Month is a nationwide awareness campaign designed to educate Canadians about their vision health and help eliminate avoidable sight loss across the country. Throughout the month of May, CNIB and Doctors of Optometry Canada are partnering to call on all Canadians to do one simple thing that could save their sight: get an eye exam from a Doctor of Optometry. For more information, visit eyesareforlife.ca.

About CNIB
CNIB is a registered charity that strives to ensure Canadians who are blind or partially sighted have the confidence, skills and opportunities to fully participate in life. To do so, we provide personalized rehabilitation support to help people of all ages see beyond vision loss, build their independence and lead the lives they want. Additionally, we work hand-in-hand with Canadians who are blind or partially sighted to advocate for a barrier-free society, and we strive to eliminate avoidable sight loss with world-class research and by promoting the importance of vision health through public education. To learn more, visit cnib.ca or call the toll-free CNIB Helpline at 1-800-563-2642.

About Doctors of Optometry Canada
Doctors of Optometry Canada (DOC) is the national public education campaign of the Canadian Association of Optometrists (CAO) and the provincial optometric associations. The goal of the campaign is to educate the public on the value of regular eye examinations performed by a Doctor of Optometry, a single source for all eye health and eyewear needs. For more information, visit DoctorsofOptometry.ca.

SOURCE CNIB

Image with caption: "Eye spy a serious eye disease? Not necessarily. Many eye diseases have no symptoms and can only be detected through a comprehensive eye exam from a Doctor of Optometry. (CNW Group/CNIB)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130501_C9947_PHOTO_EN_26153.jpg

Audio with caption: "Audio: Quote from Dr. Keith Gordon, Vice President, Research, CNIB ". Audio available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/media/2013/05/01/20130501_C9947_AUDIO_EN_26155.mp3

Audio with caption: "Audio: Quote from Dr. Lil Linton, president of the Canadian Association of Optometrists and a spokesperson for Doctors of Optometry Canada". Audio available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/media/2013/05/01/20130501_C9947_AUDIO_EN_26156.mp3



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