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The Grey Wave

Ontario is aging.  It’s a fact. 

Adults aged 65 years and older comprise 16% of the total population in Ontario according to Stats Canada data

EPSO estimates that for every 5,210 seniors there is only one full time practising ophthalmologist. 

Canada was ranked third in the world for diabetes prevalence. More than 1.69 million people in Ontario lived with diabetes in 2016, and another 2.3 million people have prediabetes.

By 2020 the prevalence will double. 

If not detected early and treated, people with diabetes can develop diabetic eye disease; a group of eye conditions that include diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema (DME), cataracts, and glaucoma.  All forms of diabetic eye disease have the potential to cause severe vision loss and blindness. 

Diabetes and its complications alone pose a serious burden on our province's publicly funded health care system and our economy.

The Ontario provincial government is aware of the “Gathering Storm” – there are many reports and vision statements that address this concern and include recommendations.  The Vision Loss in Canada 2011 study blames our current situation on an aging population, a shortage of specialists including ophthalmologists, increasing health care costs, underfunded research and a lack of preventative programs. 

The CNIB and Canadian Ophthalmological Society commissioned a report in 2011 summarizing the cost of vision loss in Canada.

In 2013 the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care established a task force to conduct a thorough review of Ophthalmology services in Ontario including an assessment of the future patient needs.  The task force brought together medical, clinical and academic experts, administrators and system leaders from ophthalmology, hospitals, independent health facility, LHIN and Ministry to look at current strengths and opportunities for improvement.  The current government recognizes the issues for vision care with commissioning numerous report.   Unfortunately, the government has had great difficulty acting on the reports' recommendations for increasing the financial investment in ophthalmology services for Ontario's residents.  The Eye Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario lobby for the Ministry’s support of these recommendations and are trying to work with the provincial government to implement these recommendations. 

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