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We Remember - 100 years later, veterans still turn to CNIB

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100 years later, veterans still turn to CNIB

(St John's– Nov. 1, 2018) On November 11, 2018 – We Remember. It's been 100 years since CNIB was founded by a group of men – several of whom had served in the military – who recognized the need to support their fellow veterans who were returning home blind after World War I.

CNIB’s founders returned home from war with a vision of an organization that would empower blind and partially sighted Canadians with the confidence, skills and opportunities they would need to regain their independence and fully participate in life.

"Just like the soldiers who turned to CNIB for support during WWI, WWII and the Korean War, today veterans are looking to make the most of their remaining sight," says Lisa Burke, Low Vision Specialist for Vision Loss Rehabilitation Newfoundland and Labrador, a CNIB organization.

Some received eye injuries while serving, while others have developed one of the four main causes of vision loss: age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and cataracts.

Whether their sight loss is complete or partial, combat-related or simply a factor of aging, veterans of all ages can take advantage of Vision Loss Rehabilitation Newfoundland and Labrador, personalized rehabilitation support – helping them make the most of their remaining sight and creating a plan that helps them get back to a fulfilling life. 

“CNIB has a long-standing relationship with the men and women of Canada’s military and we are reaching out to veterans across Newfoundland and Labrador who could benefit from our services,” says Ms. Burke. “Vision rehabilitation specialists deliver services where Newfoundlanders and Labradorians need them most: in their homes and communities, over the phone, online and at CNIB centres in St John's and Grand Falls-Windsor, Corner Brook and Labrador.”

The CNIB Foundation and Vision Loss Rehabilitation Newfoundland and Labrador offer the largest array of products and technologies specially designed to make life with sight loss easier – like magnifiers, talking watches and large-button telephones. For veterans, the cost of many of these products are covered by Veterans Affairs Canada.

Alfred Pretty was with special forces and served in Korea
Alfred Pretty is 90 years old and a veteran of the Korean war having served from 1951-1952. Alfred grew up in St John's but now lives in Dildo. After he returned from the war he started a poultry farm and eventually a successful grocery business. Throughout his life his favourite pastime has always been reading the daily newspaper and doing cross word puzzles.

About 10 years ago Alfred was diagnosed with the wet form of age-related macular degeneration. While treatments have helped him maintain some vision he struggled with reading and felt he had to give up driving. "I have adapted quite well. My wife drives so I didn't mind giving up the driver's license, but not being able to read or do crossword puzzles really bothered me." said Pretty. He reached out to Lisa Burke at Vision Loss Rehabilitation, a CNIB organization for help.

Burke says. “Vision loss is a multi-faceted issue which presents many challenges. We develop a low vision plan that works for each individual’s challenges.  There are many low vision devices available that will allow our clients to continue doing the things they love; whether it be reading the newspaper, doing crossword puzzles, looking at cherished family pictures, or reading their favorite book.”

Using his portable magnifier Pretty is back to reading the newspaper every day. "My wife and I enjoy our lives. We have been so fortunate with our overall health, and I am so grateful that Lisa helped me get back to doing what I love most."

Photo attached: Caption: Alfred Pretty’s special forces uniform, hat and backpack are on display in the museum at Dildo Brewing Co. in Dildo, NL.

About Vision Loss Rehabilitation Newfoundland and Labrador
Vision Loss Rehabilitation Newfoundland and Labrador is the province's leading provider of rehabilitation therapy for people with sight loss. As a CNIB organization, it brings nearly a century of experience of working in communities across Newfoundland and Labrador, offering services and support to enhance the independence, safety, mobility and emotional well-being of individuals who are blind or partially sighted. Vision Loss Rehabilitation Newfoundland and Labrador services are operated by CNIB and funded by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. For more information visit

About the CNIB Foundation
Celebrating 100 years in 2018, CNIB is a non-profit organization driven to change what it is to be blind today. We deliver innovative programs and powerful advocacy that empower people impacted by blindness to live their dreams while tearing down barriers to inclusion. Our work is powered by a network of volunteers, donors and partners from coast to coast to coast. To learn more or get involved, visit                                                                                                                          



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