A Life-changing Diagnosis

In 2007, Huguette Cotton of Kapuskasing, Ontario, was visiting her family doctor. She had some pain in her right eye, and her doctor wasn't sure what it was. But the look on his face told Huguette it could be serious. Although she worked in a hospital ER department and had witnessed emergencies many times before, it was different when it might be her own emergency - when it might be her sight. "My god," she thought, starting to feel scared. "What's going to happen if I lose my eye?"

Her doctor gave her a referral to the CNIB Eye Van. Like other communities on its route, Kapuskasing (population 8,509) doesn't have an ophthalmologist. Seeing one in another city involved travelling for several hours - and even then it was often weeks or months before you could get an appointment. So when the Eye Van came to Kapuskasing, it was always booked solid.

Even still, they fit Huguette in hours later. Dr. Chevrier, the ophthalmologist on staff, diagnosed her with a detached retina. By the next morning, one of the Eye Van's ophthalmic assistants had secured an appointment in Sudbury. Days later, Huguette underwent a fifteen-minute laser procedure. Thanks to the Eye Van, the detachment was successfully reversed - just in time.