Support earmarked for improved eye care

The Ontario government is helping bring comprehensive eye care to northerners in remote areas by investing in upgrades to the Canadian National Institute for the Blind’s specialized mobile eye care clinic, Northern Development and Mines minister Rick Bartolucci announced yesterday.
“Many northerners have to travel to larger centres to receive these specialized medical services,” noted Bartolucci.
“The CNIB Eye Van is a wonderful program that helps improve the quality of life for residents of remote northern areas by bringing eye specialists right to our communities,” he remarked.
The Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corp. is providing $141,000 to the CNIB to refurbish its 48-foot transport truck, upgrade a trailer, and update some essential diagnostic equipment.
Each year, the CNIB Eye Van visits 30 rural northern communities, serving more than 5,000 northerners and travelling more than 6,000 km between the end of March and the first week of November.
“Our government is helping to serve northerners better by providing opportunities that improve the quality of life in communities across the north,” said Bartolucci, who chairs the NOHFC.
“With this specialized care in rural areas, fewer residents will need to travel to what are sometimes significant distances for diagnosis or treatment,” he added.
“CNIB’s Eye Van program demonstrates what can be accomplished through forward-thinking community health partnerships,” said program manager Monique Pilkington.
“Through the generous financial contributions of the Government of Ontario and our corporate and community sponsors, matched by the time and effort given by the Eye Van’s volunteer doctors, CNIB is able to provide crucial eye care to communities where access to services is limited,” she noted.
“We truly appreciate how the Eye Van is welcomed in all of the communities throughout Northern Ontario which we visit,” Pilkington added. “CNIB is grateful to the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines for its continued support of the Eye Van.”