Effects of vision loss important in B.C.

Donna Barnett’s MLA report

This year White Cane Week coincides with the 75th anniversary of the Canadian Institute for the Blind.

Running from Feb. 3 to 9, White Cane Week is an event designed to educate people about sight loss.

It’s important to observe because everybody is susceptible to sight loss regardless of their age.

Some are born without sight, some are partially sighted, while others can lose their vision due to illness or simply because we are living longer.

B.C. does, in fact, have the largest ageing population in the country, making it that much more important to be better informed about the effects of vision loss and work towards creating more supportive and inclusive communities.

The Canadian Council for the Blind also wants to raise public awareness about the challenges of Canadians living with sight loss.

Most people with sight loss can tell you how isolating the condition can be, both in a social context and an economic one too.

We don’t live in a world made for people with disabilities, making simple everyday tasks – like reading this column or even buying groceries – either impossible or extremely difficult.

Our society tends to minimize the talents and capabilities of the blind. Often all we see is someone with a disability rather than someone who is quite capable of performing in a variety of occupations.

There are famous musicians, actors, teachers, psychologists and many elected officials who have become exceptionally successful in their fields by not listening to widely held misgivings and outright prejudice against those with sight loss.

Despite the danger posed by progressive degeneration through age, many of us fail to protect one of our most important sense by failing to go in for an annual vision exam.

It doesn’t hurt and could make all the difference in the world.

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