Expanding Specialized Retina Care at St. Joseph’s Ivey Eye Institute
Sight is a precious gift, but aging and chronic diseases like diabetes can lead to retina complications and vision loss if left untreated. With more seniors in our region than ever before, the number of patients needing retina care at St. Joseph's Ivey Eye Institute has increased 50% over the last decade alone. We need donor support to add more space and specialized equipment to meet rising demand and treat even more patients.
Growing the Ivey Eye Institute to meet our region’s changing needs
The Ivey Eye Institute is St. Joseph’s busiest area of care, serving a region of 1.6 million people from across Southwestern Ontario through more than 135,000 visits per year. The largest demographic is patients aged 45-65 – a rapidly growing population of seniors.
As seniors live longer, the chance of experiencing age-related and chronic disease-related eye problems increases, especially affecting the retina (the tissue lining the back of the eye). But 75% of retina complications are reversible, preventable or treatable if caught early. The demand for specialized retina care is rising dramatically, and it’s critical that we increase capacity to serve everyone in need.
Saving vision, one patient at a time
The retina care program treats the most common retina complications in adults, including:
- Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD): affecting up to one-third of people over 75 and the leading cause of vision loss for those 50 and up.
- Retinal Tears: Typically found in people over age 50.
- Diabetic Retinopathy: A complication of diabetes that’s the leading cause of blindness for people aged 25 – 75.
To treat even more patients with retina issues like these, we need more specialized equipment and renovations to create three new retina exam rooms and a patient waiting area.
For patients at risk of losing their vision, this will mean timely access to care, less waiting and better outcomes. It will also bring opportunities for our researchers to uncover new treatments for conditions like the dry form of AMD that currently don’t have treatment options.