Vision Health Month


May is Vision Health Month

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SPECIAL SECTION A S U P P L E M E N T T O T H E W I N N I P E G F R E E P R E S S D5 The provincial Eye Care Centre of Excellence, delivering expert eye care through innovation, research and advanced technology, includes: • Surgical complex: 14,000 eye surgeries annually • Specialty assessment and treatment clinics • 14-bed ophthalmology assessment unit • Manitoba Retinal Screening Vision Program • Eye bank: corneal transplants • • University of Manitoba residency program • 24/7 care for eye emergencies @MisericordiaMB • Glaucoma • Macular Degeneration • Retinal Detachment • Cataracts • • Oncology • Strabismus • Oculo Plastics • To learn more please visit Vision loss doesn't have to mean the loss of independence Vision Loss Rehabilitation Manitoba provides training that enables people who are blind or partially sighted to develop or restore key daily living skills, helping enhance their safety and independence. We serve people of all ages and types of vision loss – from low vision to total blindness – on referral from ophthalmologists, optometrists and general practitioners. For more information about Vision Loss Rehabilitation, including services and referrals, visit or call 204 774 5421 HEALTH VISION MONTH F R I D AY, M AY 2 4 , 2 0 1 9 For advertising information, call: 204-697-7389 W hat they don't think of are eye injuries. Unfortunately, those injuries are quite common, says Doctor of Optometry Nana Owusu of Prairie Eye Care. "Approximately 700 workers a day in Canada suffer eye injuries on the job," he says. "One of the biggest reasons those injuries occur is that people just don't think it's going to happen to them." Another reason is that workers don't always wear the right eyewear for the task at hand — an oversight that can prove costly. "While many workers know that protective eyewear is important, we have to ensure that they are wearing the right type of frames and lenses," says Owusu. That means wearing ordinary eyeglasses is a no-no for more than one reason. "First, eyeglasses don't provide protection from objects or fragments coming from above, below or from the side," Owusu says. "Second, they're usually not shatter-resistant and the frames and lenses are not designed with the strength to help prevent injury. Properly fitted safety eyewear greatly reduces the chance of sustaining an injury." Owusu says there's a sure-fire way for employers to ensure employees get the right eyewear for the task. "Employers in Manitoba are required by the Workplace Health and Safety Act to provide safety eyewear for employees whose work requires safety eyewear. All employers need to do is sign up with the Manitoba Association of Optometrists (MAO) Occupational Vision Care (OVC) Program (," he explains. "Many businesses in Manitoba are already participating in the program. It makes it very simple. Employees can see which Doctors of Optometry in Manitoba are participating providers in the program by visiting the MAO website. If you start a search for a Doctor of Optometry, you can filter it to those who can provide safety eyewear and find one in your area." And while a good number of employers have registered for the program, more are welcome for a very good reason. "The more, the better," says Owusu. "It lowers the cost of eyewear, which means we can keep the cost to the consumer as low as possible while ensuring they are getting a proper ocular health examination and safety eyewear that is CSA approved and meets the standards established by Manitoba's Workplace Health and Safety Regulations." The OVC Program produces protective eyewear that covers employees in three key areas: individual prescriptions, protective lens coatings and specific lens composition. "If a worker's vision isn't optimal, an accident is more likely to happen," Owusu says. "Employees get eyewear that's tailored to their needs when they participate in the OVC Program. Far fewer accidents occur when people are fitted properly, see properly and have lenses with the appropriate coatings and shatter-resistant properties." In short, that means folks should have two sets of eyewear: one for daily life and another for work. "If you're in a workplace where you work with chemicals or are in a setting where a piece of metal or wood could fly into your eye, you need a separate pair of eyewear that protects your eyes from those hazards," Owusu says. "Even just a tiny particle in the eye can scratch the cornea. Regular eyeglasses offer some coverage, but something could spill or fly into your eye from any direction." He adds that specific eyewear should be worn outdoors, too. "People who work outside should have sunglasses that not only provide UV protection and cut glare all year round, but that also meet safety standards. Lenses should be made of a shatter-resistant polycarbonate material, and ideally be polarized to cut glare from snow or water." Should an eye injury occur despite wearing protective eyewear, Owusu says to immediately go to a Doctor of Optometry. "We're your first line of defence. Just call and we'll make a point of getting you in right away on an emergency basis. We have the knowledge and tools that allow us to evaluate, treat and manage your eye issue, or refer to an ophthalmologist if necessary." From there, the Doctor of Optometry can prescribe medication to prevent infection and alleviate any discomfort associated with the injury. "Doctors of Optometry are specifically trained and equipped to help anyone with an eye issue," says Owusu. "We're fortunate to have a fantastic program in the OVC Program, so, hopefully, proper eyewear will ensure you don't sustain an injury. If you do, we'll be there to help in any way we can." KEEP YOUR EYE ON SAFETY BY TODD LEWYS PHOTO BY JASON HALSTEAD When people think of the most common workplace injuries, they think of falls, burns or nasty cuts. "While many workers know that protective eyewear is important, we have to ensure that they are wearing the right type of frames and lenses." – Dr. Nana Owusu VIEW ONLINE AT Dr. Nana Owusu of Prairie Eye Care says it's important workers wear the right type of protective f rames and lenses for the work they're doing. Employers can sign up with the Occupational Vision Care Program at

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