FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – May 16, 2012

CNIB launches Show Your Shades social media app to raise awareness of UV protection, vision healthVirtual shades feature styles like Mad Men, The Elton and Blues Brothers
Toronto, ON – Sunglasses are arguably the summer’s most important accessory, winning style points from men and women alike. They’re also the only fashion accessory with proven health benefits, like protecting your eyes from the sun’s harmful UV rays. This month, CNIB is calling on all fashion lovers, beauty mavens and pop culture junkies to don a pair of virtual shades to help raise awareness about eye protection and vision loss prevention. The organization today announced the newest component of its Shades of Fun campaign, the free and interactive Show Your Shades social media app developed by Oddly Studios.In support of CNIB’s Vision Health Month, Shades of Fun is a one-of-a-kind, fun-filled CNIB fundraising initiative that’s all about having a good time for a great cause. One great way Canadians can get involved is by visiting showyourshades.ca and choosing from one of 12 pairs of quirky virtual sunglasses to place on their social media avatars or photos on Facebook and Twitter.With styles like Shutterbug and The Elton, music enthusiasts can channel their inner Kanye and Elton John. Fashion lovers will gravitate towards the Fashionista, Jackie O. and Mad Men-inspired shades. And there are a range of other options, like Star Struck, Give Peace a Chance, Heartbreaker, Frog Eyes, Top Gun, Blues Brothers and Dame Edna, to appeal to just about every other personality type out there.

There is an evident disconnect when it comes to preventing UV-related vision loss. Education is key to changing this, so we created the Show Your Shades app to raise awareness,” said John Rafferty, president and CEO of CNIB. “The app is a fun, playful way to reach Canadians of all ages through two of the most popular social media platforms. From The Elton to Top Gun to Mad Men-inspired shades, there is something for every personality.”

Did You Know?

-Every 12 minutes, someone in Canada begins to lose their vision.

-UV exposure is a proven risk factor in cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of vision loss in Canada.

-Half of all Canadians don’t know they should wear sunglasses in the shade, and 70 per cent don’t realize the importance of wearing sunglasses in the winter.

-One in four people believes their eyes can only be damaged by artificial light. But even short-term exposure to UV rays can cause a painful, temporary condition called Photokeratitis (snowblindness) – essentially a sunburn of the cornea.

-The sun’s UV rays are intensified when reflected, and glare is almost always present during daylight hours even when it is cloudy thanks to shiny surfaces like buildings, vehicles and snow.

-75 per cent of vision loss is preventable. By taking action today, you could save your sight tomorrow.

-One in four Canadians say that if they lost their vision, they would miss seeing the faces of their friends and family the most.

-The financial cost of blindness and partial sight in Canada is estimated at $15.8 billion per year (2007).

Without protection, UV rays can lead to permanent vision loss. CNIB recommends choosing sunglasseswith at least 99 per cent protection from both UVA and UVB rays.

Twitter:         @CNIB
Facebook:    CNIB
Website:       www.showyourshades.ca and www.shadesoffun.ca
Blog:             http://blog.cnib.ca/default.aspx

About CNIB:
CNIB is a registered charity, passionately providing community-based support, knowledge and a national voice to ensure Canadians who are blind or partially sighted have the confidence, skills and opportunities to fully participate in life. To learn more, visit cnib.ca or call the toll-free CNIB Helpline at 1.800.563.2642.

To view or download CNIB PSAs, visit: http://eyesareforlife.ca/NewsVideo/AudioVideo.

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