Ophthalmology

Access to cataract surgery can significantly impact a patient’s quality of life. Cataract surgery is reported to be one of the most cost-effective ways of enhancing quality of life for patients who need this procedure.

Access to cataract surgery:

  • Reduces the risk of further eyesight degeneration;
  • Enables people to continue to live safely in their homes with better vision than before surgery;
  • Sustains independence as many people are able to drive again, with improved confidence and safety after surgery; and,
  • Improves patients’ quality of life.

In addition to a large volume of cataract procedures, medical and surgical management of the following ophthalmologic specialties are provided to LHIN residents:

  • Cornea
  • Ocular Cancer
  • Glaucoma
  • Oculo-plastics
  • Neuro-ophthalmology
  • Retinal Care
  • Pediatric Care

The LHIN’s goals for integrating vision services are to:

  • ensure timely access to high quality vision care;
  • improve patients’ quality of life; and,
  • ensure consistent delivery of high quality eye care  in an integrated and seamless manner across the LHIN at a good value, regardless of the location where service is received.

 These goals are achieved through:

  • partnerships and engagement;
  • clinical service planning;
  • data driven decision-making;
  • clearly defined goals;
  • transparency for the community; and,
  • patient-focused care.

To achieve more timely care, the LHIN works with hospitals to display physician wait times for cataract surgery on hospital websites.  This allows optometrists (eye care professionals) and family physicians to refer patients to an eye specialist (ophthalmologist) as soon as possible. Transparency of wait times and reducing variation in wait times among ophthalmologists facilitates improved access to care for patients.

View Wait Times for Cataract Surgery by Hospital

Ophthalmology Leadership Steering Committee

Through active engagement with key health care professionals the LHIN facilitates partnerships among hospitals currently providing cataract surgery. The LHIN-wide Ophthalmology Leadership Steering Committee works to ensure patients have timely access to cataract surgery and consists of surgical directors, ophthalmology chiefs, and senior leadership representatives from:

  • St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton
  • Brant Community Healthcare System
  • Niagara Health System
  • Joseph Brant Hospital
  • Norfolk General Hospital

St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton acts as the lead organization in facilitating the strategic goals of the Steering Committee. The strategic goals have been developed into a LHIN-wide Clinical Services Plan (CSP) based on clinical areas of need identified through data and community engagement. The CSP is a living document that will be continuously updated and revised. 

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About Cataracts

Cataracts are a clouding of the lens of the eye. When cataracts are present, it is similar to looking through a fogged window. Cataracts can make vision blurry, increase glare from lights, and make it difficult to do regular activities of daily living such as driving, climbing steps, reading or working. When cataracts interfere with a person’s ability to do everyday activities a doctor may suggest cataract surgery. Cataracts are a clouding of the lens of the eye. When cataracts are present, it is similar to looking through a fogged window. Cataracts can make vision blurry, increase glare from lights, and make it difficult to do regular activities of daily living such as driving, climbing steps, reading or working. When cataracts interfere with a person’s ability to do everyday activities a doctor may suggest cataract surgery.

Cataract surgery is a procedure to remove the cloudy lens of the eye and replace it with an artificial lens. It is performed by an eye doctor (ophthalmologist), and is completed in an outpatient setting (patients don’t need to stay overnight in the hospital/clinic).  Cataract surgery occurs commonly and is generally a very safe procedure with good patient satisfaction after surgery.