CNIB and CAO partner to take action on vision health

TORONTO, March 21, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - Today, CNIB announced that the Canadian Association of Optometrists (CAO) will be taking the role of CNIB's National Vision Health Month Partner for the third annual Vision Health Month happening this May.

The goal of Vision Health Month 2012 is to educate Canadians about the importance of caring for their eyes in order to eliminate avoidable sight loss in Canada.

Currently 45,000 Canadians lose their sight each year, many of them needlessly. CNIB's goal is to reduce this number by 50 per cent by the year 2020. That's 22,500 Canadians whose sight could be saved every year - the size of a typical town.

"Many Canadians lose their sight unnecessarily, simply because they don't know enough about their vision health and they don't visit their optometrist regularly," said John Rafferty, CNIB's President and CEO. "An eye exam is an excellent way to detect many serious eye diseases that can lead to vision loss. CNIB is thankful for CAO's support to help remind Canadians that their eyes need to last a lifetime."

Together during Vision Health Month, CNIB and CAO will encourage Canadians to take action for their vision health by getting a complete eye exam from their optometrist, and encouraging their friends and family to do the same.

"Regular, complete eye examinations by a doctor of optometry can help to detect eye disease early," said Dr. Lillian Linton, CAO's President. "CAO is happy to lend its support to CNIB during Vision Health Month to help reduce avoidable sight loss in Canada."

As part of the partnership, CNIB and CAO have also joined forces to empower optometrists to take action and spread that powerful message in their communities across the country. For every eye exam conducted by participating optometrists during the month of May, $2 will be donated to CNIB.

Funds raised during Vision Health Month will help CNIB reduce avoidable sight loss in Canada and provide community-based programs across the country to ensure no Canadian has to face the challenges of sight loss alone.

About CAO

The Canadian Association of Optometrists (CAO) is a professional association that represents 4,250 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.

About CNIB

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 or call the toll-free CNIB Helpline at 1-800-563-2642.

About vision loss:

...One in seven Canadians will develop a serious eye disease in their lifetime.
...Vision loss can happen to anyone, at any age, but many Canadians aren't aware that 75 per cent of vision loss can be prevented or treated.
...After age 40, the number of cases of blindness or partial sight doubles approximately every decade. At 75, it triples.