A recurrent theme through the COVID crisis is that it has given us all time to pause and reflect what is important in life. In the past two weeks, while our priorities changed to opening our clinic safely for all our patients, the world shifted again to bring into focus the inequalities that people of colour face.
We have always prided ourselves to offering care and services to everyone equally.
What we have missed is that some patients may not have the access or ability to receive these services.
In 2018 the Canadian Institute for the Blind (CNIB) conducted a study and found:
• Canada is behind the U.S. and Australia for providing eye care services to indigenous
• Indigenous children are likely to exhibit high levels of astigmatism (a type of prescription
we can correct with glasses) with high levels of uncorrected glasses prescriptions and
poor compliance with wearing glasses.
• Over the last two decades, the percentage of Canada’s Indigenous population living
with diabetes increased to 20%, putting them at increased risk of diabetic retinopathy
leading to vision loss.
• Indigenous Canadians with permanent and severe vision loss lack access to
rehabilitation services in their communities.
I can, without a doubt, tell you I see those last 3 points in my clinic on a weekly basis.
It is our duty as healthcare professionals to do more. We are working on ways to help support the populations that need us most. We have taken time in the past 2 weeks to reflect, listen and put a plan in place to effect change.
A donation has been made to True North Aid to start. Our next goal is to create a plan to turn our focus locally and support those who need it most.