Every second Thursday in October is World Sight Day

Perfect timing to talk about one of our most important and hardworking organs – our eyes. Through our eyes, we learn, avoid danger, and enjoy independence. They certainly deserve care and protection. That is why IRIS eye care professionals strongly recommend yearly eye exams to ensure that your eyes are healthy. Your eye doctor can determine, through a comprehensive eye exam, common refractive types of vision problems as well as conditions and diseases that may be asymptomatic.

Refractive issues are usually due to a simple flaw of nature - many of us have eyes that are not quite the right shape to refract light perfectly from the pupil to the back of the eye. There are four different types of refractive vision problems.

With the help of your eye doctor, these vision errors can be corrected through prescription glasses, contact lenses and, for eligible candidates, laser eye surgery.

Other relatively common conditions and diseases that can develop as we age and can be detected by the Optometrist during an eye exam include cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma and diabetic Retinopathy.

  • Cataracts develop when the eye's lens becomes cloudy due to either ageing, injury, genetics or overexposure to the sun's UV rays. It causes blurred and clouded vision, sensitivity to light and glare, reduced night vision, double vision and other symptoms that may affect your daily activities. Treating cataracts requires surgery.
  • Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) occurs as we get older. Our eyes begin to deteriorate, which causes vision problems like a dimmer or distorted vision, blind spots, and it may even cause permanent vision loss. Hence the importance of yearly eye exams. Early detection can help slow the progression of this disease.
  • Glaucoma is known as the silent thief of sight. It is the leading cause of preventable blindness. There are no symptoms; therefore, early detection is critical with glaucoma! Your eye doctor can then prescribe the best treatment to prevent its progression, like medicated eye drops or even surgery.
  • Diabetic Retinopathy is caused by damaged vessels in the retina due to diabetes. All the damages caused by this disease are unfortunately irreversible. A prompt diagnosis is essential! If you have diabetes, it is recommended to advise your eye doctor of the disease to be monitored appropriately.

So, imagine living without your glasses, seeing your children struggle, losing your sight to treatable ailments. Imagine walking for a week to receive the care of an eye doctor.

A Senegalese woman is holding her baby in her arms and she is wearing the glasses that were given to her by IRIS Mundial

As Canadians, we are fortunate to have access to eye doctors, but eye care is scarce in countries such as Haiti, Peru, and Senegal. This is why IRIS is actively involved with IRIS Mundial.

IRIS Mundial is a non-profit organization with a mission to improve the vision and ocular health of disadvantaged people in underdeveloped countries by giving them access to preventative and curative eye care.

This amazing organization brings together teams of volunteer professionals. This team consists of ophthalmologists, optometrists, opticians, nurses and support staff who "parachute" into an area and set up a temporary center where thousands of underserved people receive eye exams, glasses, treatment for common eye health issues and surgery at no cost. Operating since 2001, IRIS Mundial has also built and supported the development of several permanent facilities.

In our eyes, IRIS Mundial is essential to help the world experience better vision!

Visit an IRIS store near you to find out how you can help by simply donating your old glasses.

A team of IRIS Mundial volounteers is in Senegal