How TLC Is Helping Reduce Cataract Surgery Wait Times
Cataracts is an eye condition in which the eye’s natural lens becomes cloudy. As it progresses, it results in increased vision loss. Your vision may appear foggy or blurred, and colors may become more faded or yellow. Cataracts can also cause sensitivity to light as well as halos and glare.
Not only does vision loss become worse as cataracts progress, but it can cause blindness if left untreated. In fact, cataracts are the leading cause of preventable blindness in Canada and the most common age-related eye condition. Over 2.5 million Canadians are currently living with cataracts.
There are a variety of treatment options available to mitigate the impact of cataracts, but early detection is key. The longer cataracts are left untreated, the more difficult they are to remove. But unfortunately, the ability to diagnose and treat cataracts as early as possible has been compromised due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
How COVID Has Impacted Cataract Surgeries
Healthcare has been widely disrupted due to the pandemic, and vision care is no exception. With businesses and clinics having to cancel or postpone appointments due to social distancing measures and supply chain interruptions, many Canadians are struggling to access eye care. This has led to a backlog that may take years and millions of dollars to resolve.
For instance, there were 2.9 million fewer optometrist appointments in 2020 compared to 2019.1 Over 143,000 procedures were cancelled or delayed.2 Wait times for cataract surgeries increased by 31 days on average.3 Research predicts that these disruptions resulted in the vision loss of 1,400 Canadians in 2020.4
Moreover, this backlog isn’t going to be resolved easily, even if appointments are given out as frequently as they were pre-pandemic. It’s estimated that it will take at least 2 years and $129 million in funding to clear the backlog of cataract surgeries in the next few years.5
The delays in eye examinations and treatments stand to significantly impact the quality of life for many people. Eye conditions such as cataracts only stand to worsen without proper care and treatment, compromising the long-term visual health of millions of Canadians.
How TLC Is Reducing Surgery Waitlists
At TLC Laser Eye Centres, we’ve been committed to transforming lives through the power of clear vision for over two decades. We believe everyone deserves to see with the highest degree of visual clarity. So, when we became aware of the backlog in cataract surgeries, we saw it as an opportunity to leverage our resources to improve access to vision care.
By partnering with local hospitals, we’ve been able to offer patients more options for cataract surgeries. That way, they don’t have to wait for treatment and risk their vision loss becoming worse or resulting in blindness.
The new referral system allows patients to see the wait times for surgery, so they can choose to book a procedure with one of our surgeons if there’s a shorter waiting time, offering them more control over their eye health.
At TLC, we offer several high-quality options to treat cataracts. This includes cataract surgery and laser cataract surgery, both of which are long-term solutions that can remove cataracts while correcting other vision problems like myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism (blurry vision at all distances).
Our clinics also offer intraocular lenses (IOLs), which are artificial lenses that replace the eye’s natural lens that has become cloudy due to cataracts. We offer various types of IOLs so you can find one that suits your specific needs.
Since the start of the pandemic, we have taken extra steps aside from our usual measures to ensure the safety of our patients and staff. This allows us to continue to operate to offer our patients premium eye care while maintaining the highest degree of safety.
We offer free, no-obligation consultations for your convenience in which our clinical team will perform a series of diagnostic tests to determine what procedure meets your specific needs and desired visual outcomes. We’ll then go over the treatment that’s best recommended for you and address any questions or concerns you may have.
Don’t wait to prioritize your eye health, especially if you have cataracts. Schedule your free consultation today with TLC Laser Eye Centres to learn more.
1 Gordon, Keith. The Impact of COVID-19 on the Prevalence and Cost of Vision Loss and Blindness in Canada. November 2021. PowerPoint Presentation to Medtech Canada.