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What are Cataracts?

Cataracts are protein deposits that, as they grow larger, cloud the lens of the eye and impair vision.

They can affect one or both eyes. They develop up to twice as frequently in the presence of diabetes.

They also tend to develop at a much younger age and progress more quickly. If you do develop

cataracts, they are typically treated surgically. While diabetic cataracts can be more complicated than

other types, the results are typically quite good. Symptoms to look out for: Blurred, clouded or

worsening vision, sensitivity to light or glare, halos around lights.

Types of cataracts include:

 Age-related cataracts. As the name suggests, this type of cataract develops as a result of

aging.

 Congenital cataracts. Babies are sometimes born with cataracts as a result of an infection,

injury, or poor development before they were born, or they may develop during childhood.

 Secondary cataracts. These develop as a result of other medical conditions, like diabetes, or

exposure to toxic substances, certain drugs (such as corticosteroids or diuretics), ultraviolet light,

or radiation.

 Traumatic cataracts. These form after injury to the eye.

Other factors that can increase a person’s risk of developing cataracts include cigarette smoke,

air pollution, and heavy alcohol consumption

What Are the Symptoms of Cataracts?

Cataracts usually form slowly and cause few symptoms until they noticeably block light. When

symptoms are present, they can include:

 Vision that is cloudy, blurry, foggy, or filmy

 Progressive nearsightedness in older people often called “second sight” because although their

distance vision is deteriorating, they may no longer need reading glasses.

 Changes in the way you see color because the discolored lens acts as a filter.

 Problems driving at night such as glare from oncoming headlights.

 Problems with glare during the day.

 Double vision while looking through the eye with a cataract (like a superimposed image).

 Sudden changes in glasses prescription.

CCAC health professionals are on strike Friday morning across Ontario, including London

A strike by nurses who co-ordinate home care has pushed overcrowded Ontario hospitals into uncharted waters that could strand patients in wards and backup emergency rooms, a leading hospital official says.

“We’re kind of entering unknown territory,” Windsor Regional CEO David Musyj said. “Extra minutes turn into extra hours, hours turn into half-days — it starts to add up.”

Windsor is part of the broad sweep of Ontario that may feel the squeeze of a strike that began at midnight Thursday and left nearly 3,000 health-care workers on the picket line at nine of 14 community care access centres (CCAC) across the province.

Such a strike hasn’t occurred since Ontario Liberals began steering money away from hospitals and toward cheaper home care. Hospitals have since used home care as a pressure valve to quickly and safely discharge patients to the community.

But with the strike, that pressure valve may jam shut, and hospital officials won’t know how bad it might be until it happens.

“A week from now, I don’t know,” Musyj said.

Some nurses, social workers and therapists with CCAC are normally stationed weekdays in hospitals and ERs to quickly find home care for those who need it. Hospitals discharge most patients on weekdays and not at night or on weekends. In Windsor, those CCAC staff help discharge 50 patients a day.

But with the strike, there will be no one from CCAC in hospital, leaving hospital staff to fax requests to CCAC offices to a skeletal staff of managers and those not in the nurses’ union.

The London-based agency acknowledges the strike by 450 of its workers may cause delays for people seeking new or expanded home care.

“There may be delays in responding to patients with less urgent needs,” Southwest CCAC spokesperson Andria Appeldoorn wrote in a media release Friday.

A spokesperson for CCACs provincewide went even further, saying the strike robs the agencies of the majority of staff and will cause some delays.

“People will not come on to (home) service as quickly as if we didn’t have a strike,” said Megan Allen-Lamb, who is also CEO of North Simcoe Muskoka CCAC.

Those delays could be made worse because hospital wards and ERs are already filled to the rafters, Musyj said.

In the past seven days at London’s University and Victoria hospitals, there have been more patients than staffed beds planned for each day, with capacity ranging between 102% and 113%, according to the hospitals.

Officials at London Health Science Centre (LHSC) didn’t agree to an interview Friday, instead issuing a short media release.

Carol Young-Ritchie, LHSC vice president, wrote that the CCAC has a plan to minimize disruption to patients.

“We don’t anticipate any changes to ongoing provision of priority services to patients,” she wrote. As to patients who need home care but are not deemed a priority, Young-Ritchie was silent.

Nurses at CCAC, and to a lesser extent social workers and therapists, serve as gatekeepers to those seeking new or expanded home care or a place in a nursing home.

The strike means some calls for help will be fielded by people who aren’t part of a regulated health profession such as nursing — but the CCAC says they will only assist those making decisions about access to care.

“Non-union staff members have been trained to support patient services during this labour disruption,” Appeldoorn wrote.

But though hospitals and the CCAC expect some delays, Ontario Health Minister Eric Hoskins didn’t acknowledge that as even a possibility.

“We understand that the CCACs have developed contingency plans and are working with all of their partners to ensure patients continue to receive the care they need,” he wrote in a media release.

Neither the CCAC nor the Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) has publicly disclosed their contract demands, but it’s clear their disagreement is more to do about how pay will be boosted than about how much. Nurses want annual raises of at least 1.4% to keep pace with ONA colleagues in hospitals and nursing homes. The CCAC previously agreed to deals with other unions to pay about that amount but with some coming as lump sums that wouldn’t automatically be applied to future contracts.

Other CCACs on strike Friday were North East, North West, Central East, Central, North Simcoe Muskoka, Waterloo Wellington, South East, and Erie St. Clair. “Your employer has drawn a line in the sand . . . Their actions are wrong, mean-spirited and disrespectful,” ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud wrote to members.

Both sides accuse the other of walking away from the bargaining table. READ MORE