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New retinology centre receives equipment to establish clinic in Nelson

Ophthalmoscope image of a normal retina.

Kootenay Lake Hospital Foundation is committing $65,100 to the purchase of equipment to establish the new retinology clinic. 

This equipment includes a slit lamp, an indirect ophthalmoscope, an ophthalmology chair, two procedure chairs and a retinal camera with adapter. The equipment will be paid for with excess funds generously donated towards the CT scanner campaign.

In July, Interior Health announced a new eye clinic at Kootenay Lake Hospital to serve all residents of the Kootenay Boundary who have the wet form of age-related macular degeneration. 

Visiting retinal specialists will treat patients right here in Nelson, meaning patients will no longer have to travel to Cranbrook or Kelowna for the treatment, which will be fully covered by the Province. 

"In discussing the value of the retinology clinic, Foundation directors noted that there is indeed a need for such services and are pleased that this means that patients will no longer need to travel to Cranbrook or Kelowna for treatment,” said Foundation chair Pat Dooley. 

Kootenay Lake Hospital will be the only hospital in the Kootenay Boundary to offer this service, she added.

“The creation of the retinology clinic, coupled with the arrival of the CT scanner this week, are wonderful enhancements to the services at KLH,” she said.

As a further commitment to ophthalmology patients, the Foundation has committed to direct the funds raised through its annual Light Up the Hospitals! campaign towards the purchase of a phacoemulsifier, a vital piece of equipment used during cataract surgery. 

The phacoemulsifier is a sophisticated machine that sends ultrasonic vibrations to a tiny probe that is inserted into the cataract. 

Vibrating at approximately 40,000 cycles per second, the probe emulsifies or breaks up the cataract into pieces so small that they can be easily removed from the eye.  

Prior to the development of this equipment, cataract surgery was far more invasive and involved greater trauma to the eye. 

  • Those wishing to donate to the phacoemulsifier fund can do so online at , or call the Foundation office at 250-354-2334 for more information.