Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Canadians don't believe their eyes: Study suggests glaucoma screenings are happening too late

Date:
September 29, 2011
Source:
Lawson Health Research Institute
Summary:
Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness worldwide. Although it can be treated, new research shows Canadians may not be doing enough to protect themselves. According to a new study, many Canadian glaucoma patients are not screened until the disease has reached moderate or advanced stages.

Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness worldwide. Although it can be treated, new research shows Canadians may not be doing enough to protect themselves. According to a new study by Lawson Health Research Institute's Dr. Cindy Hutnik, many Canadian glaucoma patients are not screened until the disease has reached moderate or advanced stages.

Glaucoma is known as the "silent thief of sight." It slowly and irreversibly destroys the optic nerve -- so slowly, in fact, that many people don't realize they have glaucoma until it reaches advanced stages. To maintain eye health, preventive screening is vital. Yet despite a spectrum of known risk factors, it appears many Canadians are not checking for them.

In a multi-centre study, Hutnik and her colleagues examined the risk factors shared by 404 newly diagnosed patients across 18 Canadian locations. Each was assessed for demographic information, medical history, and ocular family history, as well as a complete eye exam. Results were largely consistent with the international standards, confirming older age, structural abnormalities and deterioration, and high intraocular pressure as leading glaucoma risk factors. In a surprising twist, however, 48% of these new diagnoses -- nearly half -- were already at moderate to advanced stages.

It is not clear why Canadians are not screening for glaucoma earlier. Researchers suspect the slow disease progression may not project the same urgency as, for example, a broken limb. The additional cost of screening, which is not covered by OHIP, may also be a deterrent. Researchers have even suggested that available screening measures may not be sensitive enough to detect the complex spectrum of risk factors at early stages. While investigation continues, Dr. Hutnik urges Canadians to keep a close eye on the situation.

"Almost half to two-thirds of your optic nerve is dead before you even get a visual field defect," she explains. "If you're late getting your clinical screening test, the nerve has been dying for a long time and once it's dead, it's dead. You can only prevent it from getting worse."

Dr. Hutnik is an Associate Scientist at Lawson's Centre for Clinical Investigation and Therapeutics, and a Physician at the Ivey Eye Institute at St. Joseph's Health Care London. She is also a Professor in the Departments of Ophthalmology and Pathology at The University of Western Ontario, and an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry and the University of Windsor.

Funding for the study was provided by Pfizer Canada Inc.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Lawson Health Research Institute. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Yvonne M. Buys, Paul Harasymowycz, Rania Gaspo, Kenneth Kwok, Cindy M. L. Hutnik, Pierre Blondeau, Catherine M. Birt, Robert L. G. Piemontesi, Lisa F. Gould, Mark R. Lesk, Iqbal K. Ahmed. Comparison of Newly Diagnosed Ocular Hypertension and Open-Angle Glaucoma: Ocular Variables, Risk Factors, and Disease Severity. Journal of Ophthalmology, 2012; 2012: 1 DOI: 10.1155/2012/757106

Cite This Page:

Lawson Health Research Institute. "Canadians don't believe their eyes: Study suggests glaucoma screenings are happening too late." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 September 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110929103214.htm>.
Lawson Health Research Institute. (2011, September 29). Canadians don't believe their eyes: Study suggests glaucoma screenings are happening too late. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110929103214.htm
Lawson Health Research Institute. "Canadians don't believe their eyes: Study suggests glaucoma screenings are happening too late." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110929103214.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Microneedle Patch Promises Painless Pricks

Microneedle Patch Promises Painless Pricks

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 18, 2014) Researchers at The National University of Singapore have invented a new microneedle patch that could offer a faster and less painful delivery of drugs such as insulin and painkillers. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Nurse Nina Pham Arrives in Maryland

Raw: Nurse Nina Pham Arrives in Maryland

AP (Oct. 17, 2014) The first nurse to be diagnosed with Ebola at a Dallas hospital walked down the stairs of an executive jet into an ambulance at an airport in Frederick, Maryland, on Thursday. Pham will be treated at the National Institutes of Health. (Oct. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Cruise Ship Returns to US Over Ebola Fears

Raw: Cruise Ship Returns to US Over Ebola Fears

AP (Oct. 17, 2014) A Caribbean cruise ship carrying a Dallas health care worker who is being monitored for signs of the Ebola virus is heading back to Texas, US, after being refused permission to dock in Cozumel, Mexico. (Oct. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Spanish Govt: Four Suspected Ebola Cases in Spain Test Negative

Spanish Govt: Four Suspected Ebola Cases in Spain Test Negative

AFP (Oct. 17, 2014) All four suspected Ebola cases admitted to hospitals in Spain on Thursday have tested negative for the deadly virus in a first round of tests, the government said Friday. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins