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Vision Health Month – In Review

As May comes to an end, the IFA would like to take the opportunity to reflect on the events of this advocacy filled month. Over the past 30 days, results from a representative national survey provided further insight into how Canadians perceive their vision health; as well as what myths continue to be perpetuated.  Results were shared all month long on social media channels.  IFA Vision Health expert members were highlighted with expert spotlights, as were current news articles surrounding vision health and older adults.

Vision Health Month also presented the opportunity to collaborate with Bausch and Lomb on their ‘Why Eye Care’ campaign. It is a pleasure to promote vision health advocacy by supporting other organizations with similar missions.  Central to the Eye See You Campaign, advocacy efforts were showcased in the first ever edition of the Eye See You Newsletter.  The Newsletter showcased updates from Eye See You partners and other supporting organizations, which was released to over 200 subscribers.  It is hoped that the newsletter continues to engage partners and individuals who believe in the importance of vision health promotion in Canada.

On 28 May, the IFA, in collaboration with the Eye See You Campaign, held an insightful plenary discussion about dispelling myths surrounding the vision health of older people. Speakers included:

  • Dr Samir Sinha – Geriatrician
  • Dr Chad Andrews – Vision Health Education Manager
  • Ms Joanne Lewis – Diabetes Knowledge Management Services
  • Dr Susan Leat – Optometry Professor
  • Dr Alan Berger – Ophthalmologist

Also, in attendance at the reception, and shared opening remarks about age-related initiatives in Ontario, was Minister Raymond Cho, Minister for Seniors and Accessibility.

This stimulating discussion was moderated by older people champion advocate Ms Laura Tamblyn Watts.  Held at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto, Canada, the conversation focused on three major themes:

  • Those most at risk for vision loss
  • Challenging and dispelling vision myths and false narratives
  • Addressing gaps in vision health

Panelists were each asked prompting questions related to the above-mentioned themes, which led to a wonderfully interactive expert conversation.  Further focus was held on the vision health of older adults; it was thought-provoking to have such an array of professionals of varying expertise lend their thoughts on the topics at hand.  The discussion was not only about vision health and older adults but showcased the gaps in the Canadian healthcare system in a profound way.  It highlighted the need to address access to care and treatment, health equity, screening measures, and patient education.  Much of which the Eye See You campaign run by the IFA and supporting partners aim to achieve.

The question and answer period allowed audience members to connect with all of the esteemed speakers and allowed further inspiring conversation.  The IFA would like to extend their gratitude to all the presenters, the moderator, and attendees for making this event a great success. In addition to the events held throughout Vision Health Month, there will be a Post-Conference education series Webinar on Functional Ability, themed specific to Vision Health, taking place today, 5 June. Featured speakers are Ms Louise Gillis from the Canadian Council of the Blind and Mr Thomas Simpson from the Canadian National Institute for the Blind. Register here.

It has been a wonderful Vision Health Month 2019, and it is hoped that efforts to fight for the best access to vision loss treatment and patient education about vision loss can be sustained all year long.

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