Is your family's vision health at risk? - KCTV5

Is your family's vision health at risk?

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TORONTO, April 30, 2014 /CNW/ - Most of us are aware of the things we need to do to protect our overall health - from going for regular checkups to exercising and eating healthy. But many people don't know that the same is true for the health of our eyes.

A recent CNIB study reported that among Canadians who hadn't had an eye exam in the past two years, more than half said the reason was they believed they have good vision. But many serious eye diseases that can cause vision loss have no symptoms and can only be detected through a comprehensive eye exam.

That's why it's so important to be in the know about your family's vision health. May is Vision Health Month, and CNIB and Doctors of Optometry Canada are calling on Canadians to protect their families' vision by getting an eye exam from a Doctor of Optometry.

"The fact that more than a quarter of Canadians don't believe that regular eye exams have a major impact on reducing the risk of vision loss is shocking," said John M. Rafferty, President and CEO, CNIB. "It's critical we do everything we can to protect our sight and that of our loved ones, and that starts with an eye exam."

Healthy eyes and good vision are important for every member of your family, and especially important for children. Eighty per cent of early learning is visual, and poor vision can significantly affect a child's ability to perform in school and develop to their full potential. A recent survey, however, showed that only 14 per cent of children under the age of six have had an eye exam.

"A child doesn't need to be able to read to have an eye exam," says Dr. Paul Geneau, Doctor of Optometry and president of the Canadian Association of Optometrists. "We recommend a child have their first eye exam between six and nine months of age, again at 3 years, prior to entering kindergarten, and yearly after that. Some vision problems in children can only be corrected if caught early."

It's also important that busy parents don't neglect their own eye health. One in seven Canadians will develop a serious eye disease in their lifetime, and early detection can significantly lower your risk of vision loss. In fact, 75 per cent of vision loss is preventable or treatable.

As we age, the risk of developing eye diseases increases. After age 40, the number of cases of blindness or partial sight in Canada doubles. At 75, it triples. Seniors over 65 years old should have annual eye exams and be on the lookout for signs of vision problems.

Test your vision health habits and see what you can do to protect your sight by taking CNIB's Healthy Vision Checklist. To book an appointment with a Doctor of Optometry near you, visit doctorsofoptometry.ca.

About Vision Health Month
Vision Health Month is a nationwide awareness campaign designed to educate Canadians about their vision health and eliminate avoidable sight loss across the country. Throughout the month of May, CNIB and Doctors of Optometry Canada are calling on all Canadians to protect their families' vision and get an eye exam from a Doctor of Optometry.

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.  For more information, visit www.cnib.ca.

About Doctors of Optometry Canada
Doctors of Optometry Canada is the national public education campaign of the Canadian Association of Optometrists and the 10 provincial optometric associations. Doctors of Optometry are a primary source for vision, eye-health and eyewear needs. They treat and help prevent diseases and disorders affecting the eyes and the visual system, and assist in identifying general health conditions that are often first detected through an eye exam. The national and provincial optometric associations represent the profession of optometry by enhancing the quality, availability and accessibility of eye, vision and related health care and assist Doctors of Optometry in practicing successfully in accordance with the highest standards of patient care. For more information and to find a Doctor of Optometry, go to www.doctorsofoptometry.ca.

SOURCE CNIB

Image with caption: "May is Vision Health Month. (CNW Group/CNIB)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140430_C5781_PHOTO_EN_39781.jpg

Audio with caption: "John M. Rafferty, President and CEO, CNIB. ". Audio available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/media/2014/04/30/20140430_C5781_AUDIO_EN_39789.mp3

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