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Brockville, Ont. man finds shorter wait time for cataract surgery outside Ottawa

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David Windsor, 52, let go a sigh of relief when he looked at the St. Lawrence River, finally at peace now that he can see clearly.

"I literally wouldn't even be able to see the water from here before," he told CTV News.

"You don't believe how many things you need your eyes for, that's for sure."

Windsor had cataract surgery on one eye last week at the Brockville General Hospital, but the journey to get there was a rollercoaster.

In the fall of 2022, he was diagnosed with cataracts, a medical condition that produces blurry vision. At the time, he lived in Ottawa to take care of his father, who has since passed away.

In February of 2023, Windsor visited a surgical clinic for a consultation. After an examination, he was informed the wait time would be roughly a year and a half.

That's not an unusual amount of time to wait for cataract surgery, according to Dr. John Mastronardi, a spokesperson for the Ontario Association of Optometrists.

"We've got some places where it might be 1 to 2 years to wait for cataract surgery," he told CTV News. "We might find other areas or regions where you might be able to access a surgery within 1 or 2 months."

But Windsor's troubles came later that year, when he was informed his surgeon was retiring. The clinic told him his waitlist time would restart once a new surgeon was hired.

Meanwhile, Windsor's vision continued to deteriorate.

"I called them up and I finally said can you give my file to somebody else? Is there not another surgeon in there that can do it," he said.

"I was blind to the point where I could barely walk. I couldn't do anything, daily functions were hindered."

Through his family doctor in the Brockville area, Windsor was able to receive a referral to the St. Lawrence Eye Centre. He went in for a consultation, and when they saw how his condition had progressed, he had surgery a few weeks later on one of his eyes at the Brockville General Hospital.

Windsor was at a loss for words when asked how it felt when it was finished.

"I was elated. I literally looked up at the nurse and I started crying."

He now has surgery scheduled for his other eye later this summer. 

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