Jim Hynes Video

Jim Hynes woke up one morning to discover the vision in his right eye was blurry.

When he woke the next morning, it was gone.

On February 19, 2009, Jim sat down with Paddy Daly, host of Out of the Fog on Rogers TV in Newfoundland and Labrador, to talk about his experience with vision loss and CNIB’s support services. CNIB was right there when he needed it – “in my own backyard,” according to Jim.

Now Jim is determined to spread the word about through CNIB’s Everyday Hero program, so he can help anyone who may benefit from getting in contact with CNIB.

You can hear more of Jim’s inspiring story in this 10 minute segment, which also features Len Baker (CNIB’s Executive Director, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Managing Director, Eastern Canada).

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Meet Jim Hynes

Text Transcript of Video

Transcript of interview with Jim Hynes, CNIB’s everyday hero and Len Baker, executive director of CNIB, taped during a broadcast of “Out of the Fog”.

Paddy Daly: When I first spoke with Debbie Ryan at the CNIB, she told me about Jim Hynes. Just imagine going to bed with perfect vision and waking up with blurry vision that quickly gets worse. One day later your vision is gone. That’s the case for Jim Hynes’ right eye and he is the CNIB’s everyday hero. Welcome to the show Jim, good to see you. Thanks for coming on the show.

Jim Hynes: Thanks for having me.

Paddy Daly: Len also joins me tonight at the studio. Len is the executive director of CNIB. He is proactively working towards bringing together the stakeholders and forming a vision health community to deal with the gaps that exist in health care system for people living with vision loss. Welcome to the show. Len nice to meet you, Sir.

Len Baker: Me as well, nice to be here.

Paddy Daly: So thank you very much. Now Jim, Debbie and I had a good chat about you and the Everyday hero program. Why don’t you share your story with us?

Jim Hynes: About seventeen and a half months ago, I woke up one morning and noticed that the lower half of my right eye was blurry, so didn’t think too much about it. As the day went on, I went to Halifax and I had some business up there.

That evening I went to my friend’s house to stay overnight. All of my eye was blurry, just the centre vision was left. So again, I didn’t think too much about it so I stayed that night and the next day I woke up and my vision is gone. Totally gone in my right eye.

So I was going back to St. John, and I went back and went to the local hospital, and I remember the guy asked me, “Can you read the chart?” and I said, “I can’t even see you.” So he sent me immediately to see an ophthalmologist. So still, no effort about what was going on, and I went to see an ophthalmologist immediately. And the guy said to me, you know he looked inside of my eye, he said, “Yeah, you got an ischemic optic neuropathy. Actually he said, “It’s called NAION.”

OK, so that’s fine; just in my mind just give me my prescription and I will be on my way. Well, he said, “You actually have what we called a stroke in your eye. Well, he said, “You wouldn’t get your sight back. What do you mean? He said, “There’s a possibility that you could loss your sight in the other eye within five years. And that was just a total shock.

Paddy Daly: As quick as that?

Jim Hynes: As quick as that and that was it. I said, “What is it again?” He said, “ischemic optic neuropathy.” He wrote it on post it note. I was finished with the system and that was it.

Paddy Daly: Which is an unbelievable story Len. As you grow older, you expected some deterioration in your eye sight. But no one expects to have had happen to them, what happen to Jim? Just like Jim never expected it himself. How common are some of these things and the number inside, people that experience vision loss? Since problems are growing all the time, aren’t they?

Len Baker: They are. In Jim’s case one thing with vision loss, there is never anything typical about it. Vision loss, can happen to anyone of us at any time, which is why it’s so important that we go for regular eye examination because fifty-seven percent of people in the recent study indicated that they would only go see an eye doctor once they had symptoms of vision loss by then with many eye condition. It’s much too late, for an ophthalmologist to be able to do anything to correct the cause of the vision loss.

So what we see at CNIB are people from all walks of life, any age. It is obvious rare for someone at Jim’s age to experience this type of vision loss that he’s had. It’s just a reminder to all of us how precious our vision is, and how we have to make sure that we take all the necessary precautions because you don’t know from day to day, could be a rock fly up; and hit you in your eye from an accident or could be that you have an underlying medical condition that you are not aware of as in Jim’s case that can take your vision.

That’s why the service that CNIB provides in the community is so important to allow people to be able to continue to do the things that they enjoy doing despite their vision loss.

Paddy Daly: Including work?

Len Baker: Absolutely.

Paddy Daly: What do you do for living Jim?

Jim Hynes: I work with Technip Canada. I am doing logistics coordination for the vessels while working in Canada. Like this year, we are doing the North Amethyst project. I am looking after the pipe laying vessel and DSV (Diving Support Vessel) while it is working in Canada for 130 days.

Len Baker: Talk a little bit about when you went ahead and researched about the condition that you were told by the ophthalmologist and also we could get some help that includes CNIB. Tell us some of the thing that you found out about CNIB in particular.

Jim Hynes: Well, when I went home that day; of course, my wife was distraught. She just couldn’t believe that that was the end of it. I certainly wasn’t satisfied with that, so I used a great tool, the internet. I went on look up this disease and there was a place in the United States at Missouri called Mason Eye Institute. They were doing some experiment on drug treatment with some high doses of a drug called Levodopa or Sinemet. What it does it that it’s the same drug they give for people who have Parkinson.

So immediately, we said we have to go there but they said we have to be there within forty five days. That’s soon after, so we went down immediately. I went to see the guy. He said the better you can hope for is see the big E on the chart. Where I said, “I will certainly take that, cause I have nothing now.”

I took the drug for five months and unfortunately they had a seventy percent success rate, there was absolutely no success with me. So when I finished with them, well he said, “You need to go the other part of our hospital to see the low vision specialist so you can adjust to your new life.” I was kind of like, I am not sure what he means. Well, he said, “There is a lot of aid that you can get to assist you with dealing with your vision loss. Cause you need perception vision and a whole bunch of things.

I went there and I said, “Well, it was amazing what they had showed me. Sure of god there must have something like that where I lived.” So we came back home, I researched on the CNIB. Right in my own backyard, CNIB have exact same service, they have counselors and they have the technology wherewithal to help you deal with vision loss and live a good quality life and since then CNIB have helps me greatly.

Even sometimes I just go down and talk to Debbie. She talks about her vision and I talked about mine. You feel great when you leave. I don’t know about what does it to her. But I definitely feel good when I leave. Just to talk to someone.

CNIB is there and it was an absolute shame that no one really knows too much about the CNIB. They think it’s a place where you put all the blind people and that’s the farthest thing from the truth to me. It’s a place to help people like me with vision loss.

Paddy Daly: And Len, that’s why it’s important for guys like Jim who obviously have a condition that leads to him to your door. But then they go ahead and see the value in it and willing to a part of something like the Everyday hero program. Tell us a bit more on what the CNIB can do for people who suffer and I use that word often. And it’s not to suffer; you are experiencing vision loss like everybody else.

Len Baker: Absolutely. You know you are living with a change in your vision. Ninety of people who come to CNIB for assistance have some remaining vision. A lot of people think about the CNIB as Jim mentioned as a place that takes care of people who are blind. Many people still think we operate a residence which we haven’t done in over 25 years. We are really problem solvers.

I think it would be really sad for somebody who may be watching the show tonight who has a vision problem that interfered with their ability to do anything that they used to enjoy doing before they experience their visions loss. To give up doing the things that they like to do. That’s what CNIB is all about, we offer opinions, creative solutions to problems.

Because we take our vision for granted, we don’t think about how would I continue to do my favorite hobby or go for a walk in the evening or play chess or whatever you enjoy doing if you were to lose your vision and that’s where CNIB steps in. A person doesn’t have to be registered, or blind to come to the CNIB. We are a part of the healthcare continuum after an eye doctor has done all the medical intervention to help somebody to save the vision that they have.

In many cases, there is no more medical intervention that can be done to give somebody their vision back. So then the person has a choice to make, they either say, “That’s it, there is nothing else I can do. I will have to give up what I enjoy doing. Or they can find out what resources are available in their community to help them and that’s when CNIB comes in.

We want people to think about us as their vision health resource. Nothing more, nothing less. If you are concerned about vision health, we can help you. If you want information about eye diseases, we can help you. If you want to prevent vision loss, we can help you. And if unfortunately, you are living with a vision problem that cannot be corrected or even one that can be, we can offer solutions to help you find employment, maximize your remaining vision, read books, go for a walk, raise your children. As I said any one of us at any time could experience vision loss, it will change the way we do things but it wouldn’t change the things that we like doing. CNIB could help you with that.

Paddy Daly: So you are able to live through. Jim, you know it’s one of those thing that’s precious, no one knows what they will do without it. But like when it happens to you, you weren’t expecting it but there are options, there are ways to keep going. You realize what you have got when you run into people like Debbie Ryan at CNIB and Len.

Jim Hynes: Absolutely.

Paddy Daly: So it was nice to have Jim. Great pleasure to meet you, good brother iceman. Good to see you and the very best luck. Len, thanks for coming in to the show, appreciate it very much. Jim Hynes is the everyday hero at CNIB and Len Baker the executive director.

Meet Jim Hynes