Study reveals many Canadians unnecessarily living with vision loss
TORONTO, May 8, 2012 /CNW/ – A study released today by CNIB and the
University of Waterloo’s School of Optometry as part of Vision Health
Month indicates that one in seven Canadian adults may be living with
some form of vision loss, much of which could be corrected. Meanwhile,
other results from the study indicate that more than one-third of
Canadians over age 40 could actually have eye disease, despite having
“The results are concerning,” warned Dr. Barbara Robinson, an
optometrist and epidemiologist at the University of Waterloo’s School
of Optometry and the study’s principal investigator. “Firstly, many
people aren’t seeing as well as they could be due to uncorrected
refractive error. In fact, 70 per cent of study participants who had
reduced vision could correct the problem by simply wearing the right
glasses or contact lenses.”
Refractive error is a condition that occurs when the eye’s focusing
system isn’t working properly, resulting in blurry vision. Refractive
errors are usually correctible with glasses or contact lenses.
Dr. Robinson added: “More worrisome, however, is the fact that many
serious eye diseases – for example, glaucoma – have no symptoms in the
early stages. So if people aren’t getting their eyes examined, they
probably aren’t getting early treatment that could potentially save
“Vision loss can seriously affect quality of life,” commented Dr. Keith
Gordon, Vice-President, Research, CNIB. “People with vision loss are
more likely to fall, have a higher risk of fractures and other injuries
and they may be more likely to limit or stop driving. Vision loss is
also an independent risk factor for increased mortality in older
The Canadian Uncorrected Refractive Error Study (CURES) is the first
population-based estimate of the prevalence of vision loss and
blindness in Canada. A group of 768 Brantford, Ontario residents
between the ages of 39 and 94 attended a vision screening by an eye
doctor at the local CNIB office. The study found that participants who
had a longer time lapse since their last eye exam were more likely to
have vision loss.
“This study really drives home the importance of getting regular eye
exams,” said Dr. Lillian Linton, President of the Canadian Association
of Optometrists. “We know that 75 per cent of vision loss can be
prevented or treated. A complete eye exam from a doctor of optometry
can detect both sight loss due to uncorrected refractive error and eye
diseases that can lead to permanent blindness.”
Funding for the CURES pilot study was provided by CNIB, Essilor Canada,
Canadian Association of Optometrists and the Canadian Optometric
Education Trust Fund, New Brunswick Association of Optometrists, Quebec
Association of Optometrists (Fondation Quebecoise pour la sante
visuelle), Alberta Association of Optometrists and the Saskatchewan
Association of Optometrists.
CNIB is grateful for the support of its Vision Health Month partners who
are making a real difference when it comes to educating Canadians about
vision health. CNIB would especially like to thank the Canadian
Association of Optometrists (CAO) as National Vision Health Month
Partner, Bayer and Loblaw Optical/Joe Fresh(® )as Proud Supporters and The Weather Network, Postmedia and Accessible
Media Inc. as National Media Partners.
CNIB is a registered charity, passionately providing community-based
support, knowledge and a national voice to ensure Canadians who are
blind or partially sighted have the confidence, skills and
opportunities to fully participate in life. To learn more, visit cnib.ca or call the toll-free CNIB Helpline at 1-800-563-2642.
To view or download CNIB PSAs, click here.
To experience what it may be like to see the world with one of the most
common eye diseases, download CNIB’s iSimulator app here.
To view “CURES background and facts”, please click here.