CNIB offers help to Veterans

In 1918, CNIB was founded by a group of men – several of whom had served in the military – who recognized the need to support returning veterans who had lost their sight.
Just like the soldiers who turned to CNIB for support back then, today veterans are looking to make the most of their remaining vision.
Some have received eye injuries while serving in Bosnia or Afghanistan, while others have developed one of the four main causes of vision loss: age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy glaucoma, and cataracts.
"One of the main reasons CNIB was started was to support blinded soldiers returning from WWI, and we'd like to continue to honour that founding principle today by reaching out to Canadian Forces veterans who could benefit from our programs and services," says Dr. Keith Gordon, Vice President of Research and Service Quality at CNIB.
Whether their vision loss is complete or partial, combat-related or simply a factor of aging, veterans of all ages are taking advantage of free practical and emotional support services tailored to their unique needs, and delivered at home or in community settings.
Jake Beer, a veteran who served for 36 years in Canada's regular force artillery first came to CNIB eight years ago. Beer has degenerative vision loss due to a combination of cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, and glaucoma. "I can't speak more highly than giving them 100 per cent," Beer says about the service he has received from CNIB. CNIB has provided him with adaptive equipment that helps him to enjoy his life the way that he did before he began losing his vision. He has a portable machine that plays his much loved audio books, and he uses a closed circuit television (CCTV) to help magnify what he reads and writes. "Writing cheques, paying bills, Christmas cards ... without it I just wouldn't be able to handle those things," he says.
CNIB also offers a host of specially designed products such as magnifiers, talking watches and software that enables people with vision loss to use computers and access the internet. For veterans, the costs of many of these products are covered by Veterans Affairs Canada.
The CNIB Library offers access to thousands of talking books – on CD or through the online digital library – newspapers, magazines, descriptive videos and more – delivered free to clients homes.
Other programs offer training for safe and independent travel, as well as adaptive techniques for everyday activities such as preparing meals, identifying money and using the phone.
CNIB is a registered charity which receives the majority of its funding through private donations. This enables them to serve the 1 in 38 Canadians living with blindness or partial sight at no cost. Clients like Jake Beer know the value of this service first-hand. "For me personally, I am very very happy with CNIB," he says. "And, for that reason I've been making a donation every year."
For more information, visit www.cnib.ca or call 1-800-563-2642.