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Canadian Council of the Blind "The Vision Care We Deserve"

Vision Care & Treatments Should Be Higher Priority for Healthcare

TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 11/25/13 --

Spokesperson: Louise Gillis, National President, Canadian Council of the Blind

Due to the recent misquote of Canadian Council of the Blind's National President, Louise Gillis, by the Nova Scotia Department of Health, please see the following clarification concerning CCB's position on medical treatment of eye diseases.

Most Canadians - 65 percent in a recent poll - say that if they lost their sight, they would expect that treatments and assistance would be made available through our public health plans.

The Council says vision care isn't the healthcare priority it should be for the governments, given that one in four elderly Canadians will experience vision problems. The Council's poll showed more than two-thirds of Canadians feel regular eye exams and vision care should be covered as part of provincial health plans.

Canadian Council of the Blind applauds provincial governments for adding Lucentis to their Drug Formularies for the treatment of Diabetic Macular Edema (DME) and Retinal Vein Occlusion (RVO). CCB does not approve the use of "off label" drugs in eye treatments. We support drugs approved by Health Canada for eye conditions.

We're pleased that Nova Scotia is now making the new treatment Lucentis available, but the plan also funds the cancer drug Avastin for off-label use to treat wet AMD, Diabetic Macular Edema (DME) and Retinal Vein Occlusion (RVO).

A new study has raised safety issues with this use so CCB is calling on the government to ensure patient safety is put before costs by only providing the treatment approved by Health Canada. This is an example of how vision care is often not given the priority or resources it should by our health system.

Canadian Council of the Blind is interested in protecting the vision of all Canadians and counts on public support to provide services in communities across the country. For more information, visit www.ccbnational.net.

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