TORONTO, Oct. 10, 2013 /CNW/ - About 285 million people worldwide are
living with vision loss. However, 80 per cent of vision loss is
preventable or treatable - but we need the support of committed
Today is World Sight Day, an annual day of awareness to focus
international attention on vision loss. Vision 2020 would like to mark
the day by calling on governments to develop comprehensive strategies
to reduce avoidable vision loss across the globe.
"The evidence is clear in support of an urgently needed national vision
health strategy," says John M. Rafferty, chair of Vision 2020 and
President and CEO of CNIB. "Vision loss is a serious and costly issue
in Canada, costing billions of dollars in direct health system costs,
rehabilitation, and lost productivity."
Economically and socially, the effects of vision loss can be
devastating. In Canada, only 35 per cent of working-age adults with
blindness or partial sight are employed, and only 45 per cent have
graduated from high school. Canadians with vision loss experience two
to five times as much difficulty with daily tasks as sighted Canadians,
and three times as much clinical depression.
"Vision health is of the utmost importance for the overall health of
Canadians," said the Honorable Dr. Asha Seth. "The significance of
prevention and awareness efforts could not be overstated."
Many common eye conditions are age-related, and due to an aging
population, we expect to see the number of Canadians with blindness or
partial sight double in the next 25 years.
"I have been honoured to support Vision 2020. The very achievable goal
of eliminating preventable causes of blindness worldwide is one for
which I will continue to advocate and pursue," said Paul Calandra, M.P.
We need to see resources committed to prevention, treatment and
management efforts across the country. The development and
implementation of a national vision health strategy will be key to
controlling this epidemic and preventing the increase of avoidable
About Vision 2020
VISION 2020 is a global initiative for the elimination of avoidable
blindness, a joint program of the World Health Organization (WHO) and
the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) with an
international membership of NGOs, professional associations, eye care
institutions and corporations.
CNIB is a registered charity, passionately providing community-based
support, knowledge and a national voice to ensure Canadians who are
blind or partially sighted have the confidence, skills and
opportunities to fully participate in life. To learn more, visit cnib.ca or call the toll-free CNIB Helpline at 1-800-563-2642.
For further information:
Corporate Communications Specialist, CNIB
T: 416-486-2500 ext. 8355