International Glaucoma Prevention Week: Keep an eye on your health!

International Glaucoma Prevention Week: Keep an eye on your health!

On the occasion of World Glaucoma Week, which takes place from March 6 to 12, 2022, the IRCM would like to remind everyone that research towards therapeutic avenues in this field is advancing rapidly, including in Quebec. Dr. Michel Cayouette, Director of the Vision Health Research Network, a group of more than 100 vision researchers based at the IRCM, reminds us that glaucoma affects many individuals and is an insidious and universal eye disease.

"When people are asked which of their five senses is most important to them, sight is by far the most common answer. Blindness caused by glaucoma and other degenerative retinal diseases is devastating for affected patients and creates a major economic burden for society, with a projected annual cost of more than $30 billion by 2032", said Dr. Michel Cayouette, Director of the Vision Health Research Network and Director of Research at IRCM.

  • In 2020, 80 million people worldwide will suffer from glaucoma
  • Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in North America
  • More than 400,000 Canadians have glaucoma today

Glaucoma is an eye disease that leads to the death of certain cells in the retina, which disrupts the proper functioning of the optic nerve responsible for transmitting the signals to the brain that allow us to see. The causes of glaucoma are not well understood, but increased pressure in the eye is one of the main risk factors. Several research projects, including those conducted at the IRCM by Dr. Cayouette's team, aim to develop approaches that could regenerate the cells lost in glaucoma and thus restore vision. Other researchers in the Vision Health Research Network are trying to understand the mechanisms that cause the loss of optic nerve cells in order to block these processes and slow down the progression of the disease.

Most of the time, the early stages of glaucoma are not accompanied by any symptoms. That's why it's important to have regular eye exams.

The Vision Health Research Network

Funded by the Fonds de recherche du Québec - Santé and the Antoine Turmel Foundation, the network brings together more than 100 researchers in the field of eye health. The network was created because vision problems will continue to increase as the population ages, while investments in research in this field remain insufficient. It allows researchers in the field of vision, both basic and clinical, to come together to present their results and to forge links to advance the knowledge and understanding of vision diseases. Michel Cayouette has led this network since September 2018.

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