World Sight Day 2008 - 80% of the World's Blind are Now Over Age 50



    TORONTO, Oct. 8 /CNW/ - "Eighty per cent of the world's 45 million blind
people are now over 50," says cbm Canada's Executive Director, Dave
McComiskey.
    "Every five seconds one person needlessly goes blind in our world," says
McComiskey. "It doesn't have to be this way. 75% of blindness is avoidable
through treatment and prevention."
    In celebration of World Sight Day on October 9th, McComiskey is calling
on government officials to lend their voices in support of eradicating
preventable global blindness.
    World Sight Day (WSD08), an international day of awareness is held
annually by "Vision 2020: The Right to Sight", a global initiative for the
elimination and prevention of avoidable blindness.
    The theme of WSD08 is the ageing eye. Vision loss can make it more
difficult for older people to contribute to their families and communities to
their full potential.
    Although 90% of blind people live in low-income countries, cbm can
provide a life saving, life changing cataract operation for only $33.
    A founding member of "VISION 2020: The Right to Sight", cbm is a world
leader in preventing and curing blindness. To date, cbm has performed over 10
million cataract operations in low-income countries, with the financial
assistance of many Canadians.
    In Canada one in nine people will develop irreversible vision loss by age
65: by age 75 the number is one in four. Compared to sighted people of the
same age - those with vision loss enter nursing homes three years earlier,
have twice the number of falls, are four times as likely to suffer depression
and two times more likely to die.
    Imagine how difficult it is for people who live in developing countries
without access to basic medical care. Many are trapped in poverty by
blindness.
    Governments have an opportunity to play a vital role in fighting vision
impairments later in life -- both here in Canada and around the world. cbm
Canada calls upon government officials across Canada to work collaboratively
to play a leadership role in the eradication of avoidable blindness throughout
the world.
    cbm Canada's Talking Book Library provides audio books free of charge for
hundreds of visually impaired throughout Canada.





For further information:

For further information: Lindsay O'Connor, cbm Canada, National Media &
Public Relations Manager, Toll Free: 1-800-567-2264 or (905) 640-6464 x 289,
loconnor@cbmcanada.org

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