Local Lions work together to purchase Ophthalmology Microscope for vision centre


Local Lions clubs are sharing in the success of the Lions Vision Care Centre at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre as a new ophthalmology microscope was announced.

The microscope is an essential piece of equipment which is used to perform 2200 cataract procedures each year. It is also used for glaucoma surgery and repair of traumatic eye injuries. Without it, surgery could not be done.

The microscope comes at a cost of $310,000, which was funded thanks to donors, including a significant $275,941 donation from regional Lions Clubs and Lions International. The Lions have always been very supportive of ophthalmology needs at the Health Sciences Centre, having given over $938,700 since 1998.

Local clubs have thrown significant weight behind the vision centre and the new microscope, according to Voyageur Lion Bill Michl. They have make a large annual donation to the project, and had a matching donation from Lions International.

“One of our proudest projects is the Lions Vision Care Centre here at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre,” said Lion Angela Sharbot, Past District Governor and Advisory Board Chair, Lions Vision Care Centre. “Through strategic planning and a lot of fundraising, the Lions have added and replaced equipment including a Retinal Imaging Camera, Lumenis Vision One Multi-Colour Laser System and now the ophthalmology microscope.”

The previous microscope was 15 years old and at risk for breaking down without replacement parts, so there was a real risk of interruption in service. “The optics of microscopes have improved greatly,” says Ophthalmologist Dr. Chris Francis. “The enhanced 3D eye view is really enhanced making surgeries easier and, more importantly, safer for complicated or challenging cases.”

“Having access to cutting edge medical equipment is a critical component in delivering exceptional patient care. Without it, health care providers like Dr. Francis and the ophthalmology team cannot effectively meet the needs of our patients”, said Dr. Rhonda Crocker Ellacott, President and CEO of the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre and CEO of the Thunder Bay Regional Health Research Institute. “Not only that, but having this vital piece of equipment right here at our Hospital allows us to better serve patients in Thunder Bay and across Northwestern Ontario by providing closer to home care. They can get the surgery they need faster, with less travel, and be closer to their friends, family and primary health teams.”

“The commitment and passion our donors have is remarkable and I would like to especially thanks the Lions Clubs for their ongoing drive in equipping the Lions Vision Care Centre with essential tools for our ophthalmology team,” said Glenn Craig, President and CEO of the Health Sciences Foundation. “We are very grateful to all the donors that made this microscope a reality for our community.”