With vision threatening conditions projected to increase by as much as 29% over the next decade, it’s time for parliament to help shape a comprehensive strategy that can put a dent in that trajectory. That is the message that Carol Hughes is sharing with parliamentarians as she encourages them to get behind her motion to develop a National Strategy for Action on Eye Health and Vision Care.
Hughes worked with the Canadian Association of Optometrists to develop the motion which she feels all MPs would be inclined to support given its non-partisan content.
“This is a proposal that would help ensure fewer individuals fall through the cracks,” said Hughes. ” It acknowledges the need for leadership on the issue without diminishing the role of provincial, territorial, and Indigenous governments.”
Hughes notes that the strategy offers a framework that can help deliver results for Canadians living with vision problems, many of which can be undiagnosed or diagnosed improperly as behaviour or neural conditions such as ADHD in children.
“We understand the benefit to comprehensive vision exams for children so that a vision problem isn’t missed or diagnosed as something different such as a behaviour problem,” said Hughes. “There are too many gaps and children especially are experiencing different levels of care. Even something as simple as vision testing isn’t guaranteed for all children, and that alone can leave some undiagnosed and struggling to keep up in school.”
Although the motion may sound ambitious, Hughes is quick to point out the incredible level of support petitions related to a similar motion had in the last parliament.
“There was a petition campaign attached to that motion which was wildly successful,” said Hughes. “I was consistently receiving petitions with hundreds of signatures from across the country for months. I’ve never seen anything like it.”