How to help your support changes lives

The wide range of diseases and disorders that can impact a child’s vision pose considerable challenges to healthcare providers, but even bigger challenges to the child and their family. We are still working to understand the full scope of the visual system and the ailments that affect it.
When you support SickKids Ophthalmology, you are helping change lives. We work to provide the most comprehensive clinical care to our patients here in Toronto, while developing innovative new treatments that save eyes and lives around the world. In this section you will learn about the challenges we still face and how your support can help us in our mission.

Equipment Needs

The speed of innovation in ophthalmology is tremendous. New technologies constantly emerge to improve the diagnosis and management of eye diseases. We strive to constantly improve the instruments and diagnostic equipment we use for the care of our patients. The total cost for all of this equipment would be more than $1,000,000. Every dollar you contribute to SickKids Ophthalmology helps.

  1. Next generation optical coherence tomographer (OCT) with autofluorescence (Heidelberg Spectralis): The OCT is part of the standard of care for imaging the retina, and has widespread applications in all areas of ophthalmology. The improvements in OCT technology allow us to make diagnoses of retinal disorders earlier than ever before, and are much more child-friendly, with lower light levels and eye-trackers.
  2. Handheld optical coherence tomographer (Bioptigen Envisu): This allows the use of the OCT in infants under general anaesthesia.
  3. Collagen cross-linking light source: Cross-linking is a technique which is used to stop the progression of keratoconus, a condition of the cornea in which there is thinning and irregularity resulting in decreased vision, requiring a corneal transplant. This would allow us to provide this treatment for young children affected by the disease, as well as those who are developmentally delayed.
  4. Flare meter (Kowa): This allows precise measurement of inflammation inside the eye, in children with uveitis and after eye surgery. This is much more accurate than manual methods of estimation and would allow us to accurately evaluate the effect of our therapies.
  5. Widefield retinal imaging (Optos): This allows a complete photographic scan of the retina with minimal light, which is normally very uncomfortable, especially for younger children. This will speed up and allow for more complete examinations, while also reducing the discomfort experienced by patients.
  6. Adaptive optic imaging system: This revolutionary technology permits images of the individual photoreceptor cells, which sense light in the eye. This allows us to capture images of disorders in these cells at the highest possible resolution.
  7. Anomaloscope: The most accurate way to assess colour vision, a standard in all research protocols.
  8. Dark adaptometer: Allows assessment of visual function in dim lighting conditions.

RECRUITING CLINICIAN-SCIENTISTS

Clinician-scientists function as bridges between the medical and the scientific worlds by interacting with patients, observing the clinical features of their diseases, and then developing basic science experiments to test new ideas that stem from their observations. As clinical and scientific knowledge continues to increase exponentially, recruitment of the best and brightest clinician-scientists is critical to our long-term success. However, clinician-scientists require extensive training, infrastructural support, and “protected time” for them to perform research. Funding to support their salary and research—in the form of an endowed Chair or Professorship—is crucial for us to train, recruit and retain talented clinician-scientists who recognize the relevance of scientific discovery and how it changes patients’ lives. Your contribution can help us create this important endowment.

What Comes Next

In the next five years, SickKids Ophthalmology will continue to build on our existing strengths to achieve a new level of excellence, by developing themes that unify our clinical, research, and educational activities. This will include use of an evidence-based approach to evaluate and determine the services that we provide, making a real impact on national and global health, and enhancing knowledge translation from research into practical application. The support of philanthropic leaders like you is more important than ever, so that we can continue to set our sights high and keep working to advance children’s eye health in profound new ways.