By Dr. Harry Bohnsack,
President of the Canadian Association of Optometrists
The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness was established in 1975 and is dedicated to raising awareness about the problem of global blindness.
The IAPB started World Sight Day, which is Oct. 14, as a way to bring the international community together for one day to acknowledge the importance of vision in daily life.
Optometrists in Canada support the efforts of the IAPB because we know that Canada is not immune from the very real problems of sight loss.
In fact, the most recent data on the issue of vision loss in Canada indicates that eight million Canadians have vision-threatening eye conditions and 1.2 million are living with vision loss.
The reality is that all Canadians will likely experience an eye health issue at some point in their life; the aging process makes that inevitable.
What is not inevitable is equitable access to that care, but that is an issue for a different day.
Canadian optometrists have contributed millions of dollars over the years to raise awareness about eye health.
We are supporters of the current “Think About Your Eyes” campaign, because at the very heart
of this awareness is the principle that all Canadians should have their eyes examined regularly.
The examination is a critical component of eye health and vision care because we know that vision loss can be prevented or treated in 75 or cent of cases.
Not only that, but eyes also provide information about overall health, as some health conditions are visible in the eyes before other symptoms manifest.
The importance of eye exams begins in infancy and through to our golden years. This fact led the
Canadian Association of Optometrists to develop an evidence-based guideline for those examinations: one between six and nine months; one before starting school, one annually from six to 19 years of age, every two years from 20-64 and annually thereafter.
This year’s IAPB campaign for World Sight Day is #LoveYourEyes, which encourages individuals to be aware of their own health and get an eye exam and encourage others to do the same.
It amplifies the message Canadian optometrists share in communities across the country to a global audience.
As we approach World Sight Day, whether you #thinkaboutyoureyes or #LoveYourEyes, please do consider getting an eye exam.