Good vision is an integral part of life. One survey commissioned by a leading eye care company found that 70% of respondents would rather lose a limb than their eyesight. Despite this, eye health is often neglected, according to Claudia Rojas, a licensed refracting optician and director of the Opticians Association of Canada's BC Chapter.

"Although we're intuitively aware of the importance of eyesight as one of our major senses, few do enough to protect it and avoid eye conditions that could damage our quality of life or, in some cases, lead to blindness," she says. Vision care has become even more crucial with our aging population and increasing rates of myopia in children. The majority of visual impairments are preventable when caught and treated early.

Looking after your eyes has health benefits beyond just how well you can see. Regular eye checks can also spot tumors and signs of poor health, including high cholesterol, diabetes and increased risk of a stroke. This can help you reconsider habits such as smoking and make positive diet changes.

Eye care professionals, including opticians, optometrists, and ophthalmologists, work together as a vision care team to ensure Canadians see their very best.

Prioritize your pupils

"Opticians are at the forefront [of the discussion] as people often come into an optical store looking for answers to their eye care needs," explains Rojas. "Our role is to educate consumers and guide them in the right direction."

Opticians understand the dynamics of vision, optics, and optical devices. As a result, they can provide expert recommendations for corrective eyewear devices such as glasses and contact lenses, based on written prescriptions primarily from optometrists who specialize in the examination, diagnosis, and non-surgical treatment of eye disorders. Meanwhile, ophthalmologists provide a full spectrum of eye care, from surgery to treating underlying pathologies.

It's important to note that opticians' involvement spreads to various initiatives, from the Special Olympics to engagement with and empowerment of the blind and low vision community.

See an eye care professional regularly to ensure your future continues to look bright.