Kitimat joins campaign to purchase cataract surgery microscope

The current microscope is used for between 24 and 36 surgeries a week

An increase in the number of cataract operations performed at Mills Memorial Hospital has necessitated the purchase of a microscope costing nearly $200,000.

The Kitimat General Hospital Foundation (KGHF) has joined the campaign launched to raise funds for the purchase of an ophthalmic surgical microscope, essential for cataract and other eye surgeries.

“The current microscope is 15 years old and is supporting the work of 24 to 36 surgeries a week. Many of these patients live in Kitimat,” said KGHF president Margaret Sanou.

“Our population is ageing and the number of cataract surgeries is expected to continue to increase. With three surgeons and an increased caseload, a second instrument is required to support this expanding service.”

Sanou added that over the last two years, the number of cataract surgeries performed at Mills by Drs. Nagy, Adante and Bricks has almost doubled. Cataract development is the primary cause of progressive vision loss and cataract surgery is the most common eye surgery.

“This will enable patients to receive their care close to home and avoid having to expend travel costs and time to have their surgery performed in more distant locations such as Prince George or Vancouver,” added Sanou.

The Dr. R.E.M. Lee Foundation in Terrace has committed to raising $100,000 towards the purchase of the $195,000 Leica M844 Ophthalmic Surgical Microscope. Northern Health will cover the remaining amount.

The KGHF has agreed to provide $15,000 towards the purchase of the microscope by raising funds for the project specifically through their “I Care About Eye Care” campaign.

“Eye surgeries are not available in Kitimat. Mills Memorial is the closest hospital where eye surgeries are performed. This is an indispensable medical service,” said Sanou. “It is imperative that Kitimat residents receive this service as close to home as possible, which is why it’s important for KGHF to make a contribution towards the purchase of the microscope.”

She said funds raised through the campaign will only go towards the purchase of the microscope.

She appealed to residents, especially those who have benefited from cataract surgery, to support the campaign.

To make a donation, visit the foundation’s website at www.kghf.ca, or phone the foundation office at 250-632-8348.

Donations can also be mailed to the foundation at 920 Lahakas Blvd S., Kitimat BC V8C 2S3, or by dropping by the foundation office on the second floor of the hospital.

Please specify that you wish your donation to go towards the I Care About Eye Care campaign for the purchase of the microscope.

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