OTTAWA, Oct. 9, 2013 /CNW/ - Approximately 285 million people worldwide
live with low vision and blindness. Of these, 39 million people are
blind and 246 million have moderate or severe visual impairment.1,2 World Sight Day (WSD) is an annual day of awareness to focus global
attention on blindness and vision impairment. It is led by the
International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) under the
VISION 2020 Global Initiative.
Worldwide 65% of all people who are visually impaired are aged 50 and
older. This age group comprises only 20% of the world's population. The
number of blind and visually impaired Canadians is projected to double
between 2006 and 2031,3 in part due to the aging demographic, but also to the public's lack of
awareness of eye health. Correcting refractive error and blindness
prevention strategies used early on, will lead to the best outcome.
Often vision loss is preventable.
"Eighty per cent of visual impairment is avoidable through treatment and
prevention according to the World Health Organization," says Dr. Paul
Geneau, President of The Canadian Association of Optometrists and a
volunteer for many charitable overseas optometry projects. "The very
first step is an eye examination for diagnosis. Most eye conditions can
be treated to preserve vision and quality of life."
In a call to action for World Sight Day, the Canadian Association of
Optometrists (CAO) urges Canadians to have routine eye examinations in
the month of October. Participating doctors of optometry support the
World Sight Day Challenge steered by Optometry Giving Sight, and will
either donate a portion of their eye examination fee or ask patients to
donate a small fee until the end of the month. As little as five
dollars can be enough to cover the cost of an eye exam and glasses in
some countries. Optometry Giving Sight is a global initiative of IAPB.
Last year, funds collected by the World Sight Day Challenge were used to
develop and implement curricula to enable the training of
degree-qualified optometrists at the Mzuzu University of Optometry
Academic Vision Centre in Malawi.
Let's work together to eliminate avoidable vision loss and promote
universal eye health this World Sight Day.
2013 is an important year, as it will mark the launch of a new World
Health Organization's Action Plan on the prevention of avoidable
blindness and visual impairment.
To learn more: www.IAPB.org
To donate visit: www.opto.ca and click on the World Sight Day Challenge button.
About the Canadian Association of Optometrists
The Canadian Association of Optometrists (CAO) is a professional
association that represents over 4,900 doctors of optometry in Canada.
CAO's mission is to enhance the quality, availability, and
accessibility of eye, vision and related health care; to enhance and
promote the independent and ethical decision making of its members; and
to assist optometrists in practicing successfully in accordance with
the highest standards of patient care.
SOURCE: Canadian Association of Optometrists
For further information:
Media contact: Leslie Laskarin, 613-235-7924, ext. 213, firstname.lastname@example.org