ophthalmologist performing eye surgeryI have personally experienced the frustration of the lack of retina services in our Region. In April 2015, I detached the retina in my right eye and was fortunate to get into London within 24 hours. The operation was performed before my macula was completely off. The longer the macula is off, the lower the chances of full sight restoration.

Thankfully, I had sufficient support from my family to drive to and from London for the surgery and follow up. However, my recovery did not go smoothly and my eye had negative reactions to steroid treatments requiring several appointments with my ophthalmologist weekly and bi-weekly for approximately six months until my eye had sufficiently healed. The end result is that my right eye remains compromised with a blank spot in the middle of my central vision. I can only imagine how much worse my vision in my right eye would be if I was not able to access these services.

Because of my experience, I feel it is important to advocate for retinal surgery services to be available to the growing population within our own community. Travelling to London and Toronto, when they have their own challenges with meeting the needs of their own population, is unacceptable.

A person's health is a very private and confidential matter. However, I'm willing to make my story public in the hopes that we can find a way to offer retinal services in the Region. - Sean, Waterloo-Wellington resident

Through the Waterloo Eye Institute, the School of Optometry & Vision Science will create a new model for eye and vision care that will allow patients to get the care they need, right here in our community. Learn more.