Hello everyone!

I’m writing to you from our surf hostel in Malika, near Dakar in Senegal as we unwind from our clinic days.

Our team visited two health posts over the course of our trip: Bandafassi and Ethiolo. In Bandafassi, we saw approximately 255 patients over the course of 3 days of clinic, and just under 500 over 3 clinic days in Ethiolo. Because we had a slower flow of patients than most VOSH clinics, we were able to truly take our time with each patient, getting to know each person and provide them with the best care we could offer. Our two ODs, Dr. Shea Colpitts and Dr. Neil Paterson, were the best mentors we could have asked for. They pushed us to use our clinical skills and reasoning every single day.

Over the course of the two clinics, we encountered many different pathologies, including trachoma, corneal scarring, complications of trauma, keratoconus, hypertensive retinopathy, early onset macular degeneration, and more. The most concerning cases were those with active trachoma. These cases often afflicted children of the same families. We treated these cases with oral and topical antibiotics, and educated parents on how to recognize the signs and symptoms of active trachoma. By far, the most common pathologies were due to sun damage. For example, many patients had early onset cataracts, pterygiums, pinguecula, and maculopathies. We dispensed sunglasses to almost every patient who came through our clinics. This opportunity was such a valuable learning experience for all who participated.

The people in Bandafassi and in Ethiolo were incredibly warm and welcoming to our group. Many of our patients travelled long distances (some even on foot!) to come to our clinic. I worked with a woman named Hawa who wanted to follow my penlight with her head instead of only her eyes (she thought she was sneaky enough to get away with it). Each time I reminded her to keep her head still we would both dissolve into a fit of giggles as she realized she’d been caught. Patient #200 in Bandafassi was a man who walked for several hours to arrive at our clinic just as we were packing up for the day. We agreed to see him that day. He left looking stylish in a new pair of bifocal sunglasses with rose coloured lenses. A flute player came to our last clinic day in Bandafassi. When we asked for his contact information, all he told us was that he was the village flute player and that everyone at the health post would know where to find him. He had bilateral ptosis and when we asked him to cover one eye to take visual acuities, he laughed, reached around his head with his hand, and lifted one lid so he could see the visual acuity chart. We were so lucky to have met and worked alongside so many incredible people over the past two weeks, and none of us will ever forget our experience here.

In the end, we referred 46 patients for cataract surgery (should they choose to undergo the procedure). We dispensed at least 750 pairs of sunglasses, 400 pairs of reading glasses, and 300 pairs of prescription distance glasses. Thanks to all those who donated to our drugs and surgery fund, we were able to provide care to the people who needed it.



Cultivating a culture at your workplace is essential in ensuring you have the best possible team. A healthy, happy culture helps create happy team members, which increases productivity among many other things. We pride ourselves on the culture we continue to build on and develop here at Oak Bay Optometry, and we think that translates through to our patients and clients! We love hearing laughter in the workplace, and outside of the workplace!

One of our recent adventures and team building exercises was a trip up to Nanaimo to run in the Foam Fest 5km. Bright and early we hopped on the school bus to begin the ride up, sharing early morning coffee, delicious bagels from Mount Newton bagels, and lots of laughter. The trip up there flew by, and soon we were at the race course! It entailed 5km of foam filled obstacles through mud and muck, and within the first 5 minutes we were soaked head to toe. Sticking together as a team we tackled obstacles – like climbing up and over walls, and army crawling through tangled wires in the mud. We dashed across the lily pond, and climbed up the death slide to plummet down the steep incline. At the end, we crossed the finish line as a team holding hands, and proudly held up our participation medals!

Team Building at its best!

We’ve been nominated as Best in the City for Eye Clinics and Eyeglasses Stores. We would appreciate your vote for us – we want to be the best we can be for all of you! Vote here: http://vicnews.secondstreetapp.com/Best-of-the-City-2018/

We are having a customer appreciation event and we will be featuring all the styles of Maui Jim and Zeal frames. Food and beverages will be available – come swing by and say hi, and check out some great deals!

On Saturday we attended a lovely tea tasting hosted by the wonderful team at Silk Road Tea. Silk Road Tea is a local Victoria business that is doing outstanding work in the world of tea and natural, organic beauty. In our 45 minute session we explored the world of tea, and sampled many of their wonderful blends. A few of our favourites were the Allergy and Hay Fever Defense Tea, which includes green tea, herbs and vitamin C to help with allergies, and the Quench Tea, which includes anti-inflammatory ingredients and minerals. They also have diffusing blends available, as well as roll-on essential oils.

We love supporting local businesses, and were so thrilled with our experience there. We will be long time Silk Road Tea clients now, as they truly have the best, most fresh tea!