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Back to School Eye Health

Leah Sarich | posted Tuesday, Aug 30th, 2016


Along with all those backpacks and hair cuts, children need to get their eyes checked before they head back to school. Optometrist Dr. Diana Monea explains 80 percent of learning is visual, so if children can’t see they can’t learn properly. In Alberta, 25 percent of children start grade 1 with an undiagnosed vision or eye health problem.  Also, children can be misdiagnosed with ADHD or a learning disability when in fact, they just need a pair of glasses. In fact, research shows 60 percent of children that have a learning disability have a visual problem. So, Dr. Monea encourages parents to get their children in for an eye exam as soon as possible.

Dr. Monea likes to see children as early as 6 months, then again around the 3 year mark, and then right before they start school and annually after that. Dr. Monea says optometrists are looking not only to check their vision, but they can see blood flow in the body and assess the risk of diabetes and brain tumours.

Furthermore, there’s an ability to intervene in children’s eyes between the ages of 2 and 8 and prevent further degradation to their vision, that’s not available as they get older when visual cells stop developing.

And the best part is all children’s eye exams in Alberta are free, covered by Alberta Health. And if your child who is going into kindergarten requires a pair of glasses they can get those free as well through the Eye See I Learn program.

Dr. Monea believes each child should have every advantage to achieve in their life and that includes seeing properly.

For more information on free eye exams go here, and for free glasses for kindergarten go here.

ICU Study

Leah Sarich | posted Thursday, Aug 11th, 2016


Our population is aging and that means more and more critically ill patients in hospital intensive care units. But how best to care for these increasingly elderly and frail patients? A new study that involves the University of Calgary hopes to answer that very question.

A group of researchers has received 2 million dollars, 1.4 million  from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, for a four year study . One of the researchers involved, ICU physician and University of Calgary investigator Dr. Tom Stelfox, says the hope is to come to up with a strategy that will balance the wishes of patients and their family members with the advancing technologies available to care teams to treat and save the lives of these patients.

Dr. Stelfox says for example, picture the little old lady who’s frail and nearing the end of her life. Is it appropriate to use invasive and often uncomfortable procedures to prolong life and what will that quality of life look like? Every family and patient will likely have a different answer. Dr. Stelfox says it’s a fine balance.

But there’s a real lack of medical evidence in this area because previous research has only been done on younger patients in the ICU. This study wants to better understand the needs and wishes of older patients in the ICU. Researchers plan to talk to patients and their family members directly to get the information required to come up with a new strategy.

Dr. Stelfox says the goal is with a clear strategy there will be reduced costs to the medical system and better patient care for all of us.

For more information on this research visit this website.