Canadians Are More Afraid of Losing Their Eyesight Than a Limb, But Aren’t Getting Their Eyes Tested

This World Sight Day, the Canadian Ophthalmological Society Is Urging People to be Proactive About Their Eye Health


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Toronto, September 10, 2020 – When asked to rate their most feared disability, Canadians over-whelmingly agree that they’d rather lose their hearing—or even a limb—over their vision.1 On a global scale, 70% of people would rather give up 10 years of their life or sacrifice a limb, than lose their eyesight. While healthy eyesight is something everyone obviously values, fewer than half of Canadians experiencing symptoms of serious eye disease get their eyes tested by an ophthalmologist. It’s time to do something about it. October 8 is World Sight Day and the Canadian Ophthalmological Society (COS), wants to help Canadians prioritize their vision when it comes to their overall health.

COS explains that the risk of developing one of the four most common eye diseases including cataracts, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy, is higher than most people think. In fact, more than 5.5 million Canadians (that’s nearly one in every six people!), are living with one of the four major eye diseases and are at serious risk of losing their vision. In honour of World Sight Day, COS is educating the public on the symptoms of eye disease through the newly-launched redesign of their website, featuring online vision tests for visual acuity and AMD. has already received well over a million views on its various videos and offers a wealth of information including how to determine your risk.

“We want to address Canadians more directly when it comes to their eye health,” explains Dr. Phil Hooper, Chair of the council on advocacy for the Canadian Ophthalmological Society. “As hard as it might be to imagine, each year, more Canadians are diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration than the number of Canadians with breast cancer, prostate cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s, combined.”2

More than 285 million people worldwide live with low vision and blindness. But despite the staggering statistics, there is good news. “Vision loss can be treated or even prevented in 75% of cases of serious eye disease,” explains Hooper. In fact, eye surgery is the most frequently performed type of surgery in Canada and throughout the world. In Ontario alone, over 10,000 eye surgeries are performed every month by ophthalmologists. The key is early detection: healthy adults experiencing normal vision should have their eyes tested at least every 10 years between the ages of 19 – 40; every five years from 41 – 55; every three years from 56 – 65; and adults over the age of 65 should have an eye exam every two years.

In addition to routine eye exams, COS encourages Canadians to educate themselves on both the risk factors for serious eye disease and on what to look for when it comes to symptoms. See an ophthalmologist if you experience loss of vision, changes in vision such as blurriness, anomalies like black spots in your field of vision, physical changes in the eye, or changes in colour vision. Visit for more detailed information.

See the possibilities, know the risks

For World Sight Day, COS is inviting Canadians to find out their risk for developing one of the four serious eye diseases by taking a quick and simple assessment on the new COS website at Rest assured, taking the test comes with reward! When you complete the questionnaire, you are automatically entered to win one of fifty gift certificates of $250 each from BonLook, a Montreal-based eyewear  brand specializing in trendy, affordable  prescription eyewear



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 affi liates 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 affi liate of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA).

1. Leger’s online panel: survey of 1514 Canadians was completed between March 6-9, 2020. The margin of error for this study was +/-2.5%, 19 times out of 20.
2. Approx. 200,000 new cases of AMD are diagnosed each year. This is more than the following combined: Breast Cancer 27,400; Prostate Cancer 23,300; Parkinson’s approx. 10,000 and dementia (including Alzheimer’s) 76,000.

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For more information, press images, or to schedule an interview with a COS eye health expert, please contact The PR Department: 416 535-3939; [email protected]