Lions gather another $100,000 for Chilliwack eye care centre

Centennial project to improve top-notch eye care surgical ward getting close to wrapping up

Don Wight

Don Wight

Chilliwack’s Eye Care Centre has received another financial boost toward replacing its high-end surgery equipment.

The Lions Club International Foundation handed over a cheque for $100,000 last week, matching local Lions Club efforts to enhance the eye care centre. The Lions have rallied behind the innovative eye centre, launching a fundraising drive earlier this year with a goal of reaching $600,000.

The Lions met with part of the medical team for the announcement last week, along with representatives from the many organizations working on the project.

The Fraser Valley Hospital Foundation is working together with Mount Cheam and Steller’s Jay Lions Club and the Chilliwack General Hospital Eye Center to provide two phacoemulsification systems used for cataract surgery. These new systems are designed to improve patient outcomes, enhance surgical control and provide a smoother procedure overall.

The Lions hope to wrap up their funding campaign by the end of this year. Next year, the Lions Club International will be celebrating 100 years of service.  Much of their service is devoted to eye health, as Helen Keller once asked the organization to become “Knights of the Blind in Crusade Against Darkness.”

Chilliwack’s centre is one of a kind, and if there were three more similar centres in the province, it would eliminate the need for cataract patients to travel to other jurisdictions, including the United States.

The distinction is in how the centre is set up. There is no turn-around time, as the two adjoining operating rooms are used in tandem with a doctor moving between them as the medical team moves the patients in and out.

“Our eye care centre is second to none in B.C. We have a really great model that physicians organized themselves, It’s extremely efficient while providing high quality care,” said Connie Meskas, site director for CGH.

They perform more than 5,000 eye surgeries annually. The new equipment will ensure they are completing those surgeries with the newest equipment available.

The current total fundraised is $360,000.