Optimal Eye Care Inspires Eye-Opening Gift
By Heather Vita - October 28, 2017
Bob McEwen distinctly remembers when his macular degeneration took a turn for the worse. After having been diagnosed with the dry variety fifteen years ago (which required no treatment but was monitored with regular eye exams), about two years ago, he developed the wet variety in his left eye.
Having worked in the eye care business for over fifty years, including the last twenty as the owner of Ham’s Vision Centre, Bob knew immediately that his symptoms meant he needed to be seen by an ophthalmologist right away. He recalled, “My vision became very unstable in a matter of days.” An avid golfer, Bob also remembered only being able to see about half of his golf ball.
“It’s terrifying when your vision changes so dramatically in such a quick time. I feel very fortunate that I was able to see Dr. Dhurjon, be diagnosed and start treatment right away,” he said.
Bob was diagnosed using a Retinal Imaging Camera at the Lions Vision Care Centre inside the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre. The images confirmed that he required treatment at once.
“It was amazing,” he said. “Within two days of receiving the injection in my eye, my vision had resolved.” The key to the treatment is how quickly it can be given. In Bob’s case, his macular degeneration was caught in enough time that treatment was effective, however, left untreated, the problem can cause permanent vision damage.
“People need to be really aware and maintain good eye health,” he said. “Regular eye exams are critical and people need to be vigilant about seeing a specialist if they notice changes in vision.”
In recognition and with gratitude for the care he received, Bob, along with his wife Barb, made a $10,000 gift from Ham’s Vision Centre to support the purchase of a new Retinal Imaging Camera, which was recently unveiled in the Lions Vision Care Centre. “When you first experience vision loss, you have no way of knowing if treatment is going to work for you, and you suddenly become very aware of how different life would be with a loss of vision,” he said. “For what it’s done for me, it was a natural thing to do. As much as this gift is an expression of my gratitude for care, I have another motive which is to make sure our Hospital has the best equipment available now and in the coming years so that we continue to attract and retain the best ophthalmologists who are so important to the ongoing eye health of our community.”
The new Camera is a welcome upgrade from the previous model. Now ophthalmologists can view double the area of the retina that could previously be viewed. Additionally, the imaging is much more comfortable for patients as it requires no dilation, contact lenses or pressure on the eye.
Craig Kozlowski, Manager, Ambulatory Care at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, who oversees operation of the Lions Vision Care Centre, stressed the importance of the new Retinal Imaging Camera. “In the past, patients requiring the type of imaging provided by this Camera had to travel to Southern Ontario or Winnipeg, often making the trip every 6 months for ongoing diagnostic and monitoring of their eye condition. So we are aiming for less travel, more comfort, and shorter visits, while providing quality evidence-based care; all a win-win situation.”
For Bob and his family, knowing they were able to contribute and keep local eye-care at an optimal level was reason enough to give.