World Sight Day: 75% of vision loss is preventable and treatable

Dr. Jasjit Gandham, OD, reviews an OCT scan with a patient.

75% of vision loss is preventable and treatable, but half of Canadians don’t know it 

To mark World Sight Day, the Canadian Council of the Blind and Specsavers published a national survey¹ (Survey), conducted by Leger, to unveil insights and behaviours that put vision at risk.  

 According to the Survey, half of Canadians don’t know that 75 per cent of vision loss is preventable and treatable² and 51 per cent are unaware or unsure of how often they should get an eye exam. Adults without pre-existing conditions should have an eye exam at least every two years, and every year for Canadians under 18 and over 65.  

 “The survey showed that most Canadians are unaware that most vision loss is preventable and treatable. This is concerning because if you believe vision loss is unavoidable, you may not take preventative measures for yourself or your family such as getting regular comprehensive eye exams,” said Naomi Barber, Clinical Services Director at Specsavers.  

The Survey showed over one-third of Canadians (35 per cent) would only book an eye exam if they experienced vision issues. Catching eye diseases early through a comprehensive eye exam allows for preventative measures to maintain as much vision as possible. What many don’t know is that often eye diseases, such as glaucoma, progress without symptoms in the early stages.  

“This World Sight Day, we are encouraging Canadians who are overdue for an eye exam to book an appointment with their local optometrist,” said Jim Tokos, National President, The Canadian Council of the Blind. “There is a common myth that if your vision is good then your eyes are healthy. Unfortunately, that is not always true. More than 8 million Canadians are living with an eye disease that may lead to blindness.³ The goal is always to catch eye diseases before eyes start to show symptoms.” 

Eye health may change without a person experiencing any kind of difference in their vision. Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) is a 3D eye scan that helps optometrists see what is going on beneath the surface of the eye and can detect sight-threatening conditions such as diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration in its earliest stages. All Specsavers locations include OCT as part of a standard eye exam at no additional cost to the patient or with the OCT costs covered by provincial healthcare where eligible.4

“Specsavers has operated OCT for many years in different countries and has proven it is instrumental in preventative detection and management of glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy,” said Barber. “Providing this technology as a part of every standard eye exam is the foundation of Specsavers’ journey to help end preventable blindness.”   


Specsavers Canadian Eye Exam Frequency Survey, September 2023 

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