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March 12 is World Glaucoma Day

12.03.2009
Ophthalmologists at St. Mary's Hospital, the largest cataract surgery center in Quebec, share their vision on eye health for Glaucoma Day

Glaucoma is one of the most common causes of vision loss in North America. It affects 250,000 Canadians – but only half of them know that they have it. There are usually no warning signs therefore it can go undetected unless people are screened yearly after a certain age: 55 years old with no family history and 45 years old or earlier with a family history.

At St. Mary's Hospital Center, about 10,000 patients are treated per year in the eye clinic and approximately 10% have glaucoma. Risk factors associated with glaucoma include: age, diabetes, family history of glaucoma, thick glasses (hyperopia), previous trauma or surgery.

“Regular annual eye exams by a qualified optometrist are necessary as they can help to detect various health problems such as glaucoma and cataracts, explains Dr. Conrad Kavalec, MD, FRCS(C), Chief of the department of ophthalmology at St Mary's and assistant professor at McGill University. If a problem is detected, the patient is referred to an ophthalmologist”.

While St. Mary's is well known as the largest cataract surgery center in Quebec, Dr. Kavalec emphasizes that “Many of our surgeons are not just cataract surgeons but are sub-specialists in ophthalmology with expertise in glaucoma, cornea, oculoplastic, pediatric ophthalmology, retina, neuro-ophthalmology and ocular oncology.”

About Ophthalmology at St. Mary’s
In 2002 St. Mary’s hospital Center was designated a cataract center by l'Agence de Montreal. “St. Mary's is the largest cataract surgery center in Quebec. We are one of the most modern cataract centers in the province with 17 operating surgeons, three fully equipped modern operating theatres and are capable of performing forty or more cases per day, or 5400 cases per year,“ says Dr. Kavalec.

If you would like to talk to our vision experts for more information about glaucoma or issues related to vision / eye health, please contact Alex Fretier or Seeta Ramdass at St. Mary's Hospital Center, Department of Communications and Public Relations at (514) 734-2665.

About St. Mary's Hospital Center (SMHC)
St. Mary's Hospital Center (SMHC) is a university affiliated community hospital which serves a multicultural population. It seeks to provide the highest level of safe patient and family focused care. St. Mary's is an integral part of the Réseau universitaire intégré de santé (RUIS) McGill.

Alex Fretier | St. Mary’s Hospital Center
Further information:
http://www.gouv.qc.ca

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