Fast Facts

About CNIB

  • Each year, Canadians who are blind or partially sighted receive more than 500,000 hours of direct support from CNIB, helping them build their independence and fully participate in life.
  • Every minute, three Canadians turn to CNIB, enquiring about information and support to overcome the challenges of vision loss.
  • Every year, CNIB helps more than 10,000 children and youth build their daily living skills, improve their confidence and overcome the challenges of growing up without vision.
  • CNIB is Canada's largest producer of alternative format materials and is a certifying body for braille transcription.
  • CNIB was founded in 1918 to serve veterans returning home blind from World War I.
  • CNIB employs more than 700 professionals across Canada, working in the fields of rehabilitation services and support, library services, research, advocacy, public education, accessible design consulting, fundraising and administration.
  • These dedicated individuals are supported by thousands of Canadians working in all regions of the country.
  • CNIB is governed by a volunteer board of directors selected from across Canada, including representatives from the corporate, medical and government sectors, as well as individuals who are blind or partially sighted.

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About sight loss

  • The four most common eye diseases causing sight loss in Canada are age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and cataracts.
  • More than 5.5 million Canadians have one of the four major eye diseases (glaucoma, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy or age-related macular degeneration) and are at serious risk of losing their sight in the future, if they have not already. That’s one out of every six Canadians.
  • Approximately half a million Canadians are estimated to be living with significant sight loss that impacts their quality of life.
  • “Sight loss” is an inclusive term that covers all people who are blind or partially sighted, including people who have no sight from birth, people who are legally blind (meaning they have a best-corrected visual acuity of 20/200 or worse and/or a visual field of less than 20 degrees in the better eye), as well as people with sight loss below these levels (meaning they have a best-corrected visual acuity of 20/40 or worse in the better eye).
  • Each year, more than 50,000 Canadians will lose their sight, significantly impacting their wellbeing and quality of life.
  • Every 10 minutes someone in Canada begins to lose their sight. 
  • The vast majority of sight loss in Canada is avoidable through treatment or prevention. In fact, research suggests that internationally, up to 75 per cent of sight loss is avoidable.
  • Only one-third of Canadian working-age adults with sight loss are employed.
  • Older people with sight loss (60+) are three times more likely than those with good vision to experience clinical depression.
  • Approximately half of Canadian working-age adults with sight loss are struggling to make ends meet on $20,000 a year or less.
  • People with sight loss are at greater risk of social isolation and reduced community participation.